Video Games Are “Ultimate Art Form,” John Romero Says

Veteran game designer John Romero (Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein) answered loads of questions today on Quora, including some around topics like whether or not video games are art and the state of contemporary first-person shooter games.

On the subject of games as an art form, Romero said he absolutely believes they are. In fact, he predicts that one day people will understand games to be the “ultimate art form.”

“I absolutely believe this,” he said. “Programming is an art form. Level design is an art form. Animation and modeling is an artform. Writing is an art form. All of that put together create a kind of Mega-art form that’s very complex, especially when done well. In the future, museums will fully understand and be able to explain why games are the ultimate art form.”

Ever since the late film critic Roger Ebert famously declared that video games could never be art back in 2005, the debate surrounding the artistic value of interactive entertainment has continued to rage on. In 2011, the US government recognized video games as an official art form.

Romero’s comments won’t likely be the last time the matter is brought up.

Another Quora user asked Romero for his thoughts on the FPS genre today. He said one side effect of big-budget games is that innovation can sometimes fall by the wayside. But one game that stands out for him as particularly innovative is Bungie’s Destiny.

“It’s great to see that FPS’s are not in danger of going away–there are several out and in production,” he said. “I haven’t seen a lot of crazy innovation since the 90’s. As budgets get huge the design risks go down. It’s great to see an FPSMMO like Destiny out–we’ve been waiting a long time for that.”

Romero is answering tons of questions about game development and other industry topics, including esports, emerging technologies, and working with John Carmack. Head to the Quora session page to see more of his responses.

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