In the spring of 2020, our interactive media students at Colorado State University studied video games as an art form. Exploring within this context, students developed physical as well as digital games - and investigated the differences between AAA titles, indie games, and the games of interactive artists.
Our explorations and research helped to define the essentials to what makes an interactive game a work of art. Inspirational are the works of Brenda Romero and Dr. Mary Flanagan, who address inequalities in our society through their research in game theory along with their art work. Additionally, there were wonderful examples found in the works of artists such as Fang Mengbo, Lucas Pope, Ian Bogost, and Loren Schmidt. These artists have exhibited throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum in New York City.
Our presentation reflects on the concepts we discovered and their practical application, including a gamified grading system where the traditional grading model is modified using aspects of game “quests.” Rather than students beginning with “full” points and losing points from failures, students begin with nothing and gain points from completing assignments, attending events, collaborating with peers, reviewing contemporary works, and engaging with course materials both “required” and optional.