Yes, of course they’re art. And here’s a new book from Warren Davis on how they were made. Here’s more from Engadget:
I think it’s safe to say that most people making video games in those days thought about the future. We realized that the speed and memory limitations we were forced to work under were a temporary constraint. We realized that whether the video game industry was a fad or not, we were at the forefront of a new form of storytelling. Maybe this was a little more true for me because of my interest in filmmaking, or maybe not. But my experiences so far in the game industry fueled my imagination about what might come. And for me, the holy grail was interactive movies. The notion of telling a story in which the player was not a passive viewer but an active participant was extremely compelling. People were already experimenting with it under the constraints of current technology. Zork and the rest of Infocom’s text adventure games were probably the earliest examples, and more would follow with every improvement in technology. But what I didn’t know was if the technology needed to achieve my end goal—fully interactive movies with film-quality graphics—would ever be possible in my lifetime. I didn’t dwell on these visions of the future. They were just thoughts in my head. Yet, while it’s nice to dream, at some point you’ve got to come back down to earth. If you don’t take the one step in front of you, you can be sure you’ll never reach your ultimate destination, wherever that may be.
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