"Art games are to the game industry what short films are to the film industry."—Julian Oliver
"If you grow up with something … if it's a part of your everyday life, you're gonna make art about it."—Cory Arcangel
The flipside of art games is game art: art produced using videogames as the medium. The end result can be anything: film, music, installation, artifact or a videogame mod that subverts the original game.
The term "machinima" describes films created using game engines like Quake or Unreal Tournament. The Internet is chock-full of examples, ranging from level speed runs to sitcoms like Red vs. Blue. But not all machinima must feature men with guns. In 2006 a French Trackmania enthusiast called BlackShark released "1K Project II," now viewed more than a million times by a global audience. Using the game's replay editor, BlackShark ran the same course 1,000 times in 1,000 different cars, then produced a surreal machinima film by playing back the 1,000 runs simultaneously. The result is a swarm of automobiles cascading like water from absurd jumps and collisions (when asked what she was watching, my 3-year-old said, "It's fish! It's a like a rainbow!"). BlackShark's editing and virtual camerawork distinguish this exhilarating piece from the hordes of imitators (3,000 cars! 4,000 cars!) and it still stands up.
“Sonichima” or "chiptunes" are terms for music created using videogame hardware. The recent (February 2007) release of 8-Bit Operators, a collection of Kraftwerk covers produced by 8-bit artists using Game Boys and other archaic gear is perhaps the most public achievement of the movement, but artists like Bubblyfish and Bit Shifter have been producing music with these tools for several years.
Videogames have become such a large part of the cultural landscape that they are now raw material for art and commentary. DJs have been plundering the media archives of prior generations for years now, producing challenging new mutations. Now videogame artists have the same kind of history to build upon. Art games and game art are two vectors of this new movement. One sign of change: Jenova Chen's company now has a three-game deal with Sony. Interesting times lie ahead.
You can view the author's own experiments in "expanded machinima" at www.macmountain.org/pixielation.