Are Video Games Art? “The Interactive Canvas” Seeks To Finally Prove “Yes”

on January 14, 2014 8:34 PM

Are video games an art form?

Clearly a divisive debate, with millions of arguments made over the last few years both for and against video games as an art. Now the Digitally Downloaded team has gotten together to create a deluxe hardcover book called The Interactive Canvas: Gaming Artists, one that wants to decisively prove that video games have artistic merit.

Bringing together some of the greatest game artists in the industry, The Interactive Canvas: Gaming Artists will be a 200+ page premium quality coffee table-styled publication with 25 to 30 interviews forming the core of the book. So far the book will include a dozen developers, including American McGee of the Alice series, Braid‘s Jonathan Blow, CD Projekt Red’s Konrad Tomaszkiewicz for The Witcher series, Hidetaka Suehiro (aka SWERY65) for Deadly Premonition, Proteus‘ Ed Key, The Chinese Room’s Dan Pinchbeck for Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, Thomas Was Alone‘s Mike Bithell, Compulsion Games’ Guillaume Provost on the recently released Contrast, and more. By the time the book is done, they’re hoping to get a long list of Japanese game developers involved as well.

The book will also involve in-depth features on a range of different topics like music, with interviews from “exceptional” composers like Inon Zur (Dragon Age, Prince of Persia), Jesper Kyd (Assassin’s Creed, Hitman), Oliver Deriviere (Remember Me, Of Orcs and Men), Mark Morgan (Wasteland 2, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2) and Peter McConnell (Broken Age, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time). There will also be guest writers, like Brendan Keogh, well-respected game academic and author of Spec Ops: The Line, Killing Is Harmless.

But it needs your help, which is why Digitally Downloaded has turned to Kickstarter for crowdfunding. To make a quality book, their $60,000 goal has been broken down as the following costs (as reported by the team):

  • The retainer to recruit a freelance designer for a couple of months (~$10,000)
  • The production, editing, and printing of the book itself (~$15,000),
  • The cost of sending it to all the backers (at over 1 kilogram in weight, shipping for this book is, amusingly enough, the most expensive part of the project, and will cost us ~$22,000).
  • Kickstarter fees account for around 8% of the total amount of pledges
  • A small kitty for incidental expenses – the usual unexpected costs that come up with a project of this scale.

For more information, check out the Kickstarter trailer below. To support this project (and video games as art), you can support the project on its Kickstarter page, or the Digitally Downloaded website.

Note: The cover above in the feature image is a book cover concept from Tale of Tales, by Auriea Harvey.

 /  Features Editor
Born and raised in video games and "geek culture," Masoud has been bred off of fantasy worlds his entire life and doesn't see anything wrong with that. He loves RPGs (especially TRPGs), sandbox games, the sci-fi genre, dieselpunk, art deco, and anything that allows him to create. Having graduated from John Jay College with a degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing, Masoud hopes to one day pen the same novels, comics, movies, and video games he enjoys escaping into when the real world gets too boring.