I just finished reading Raph Koster’s Theory of Fun, which is the seminal book on game design. It is a pretty interesting read and got me thinking about how I view games, even if I didn't agree with all of it. I have been considering my games as toys blog from a while back, and thinking that perhaps rather than classifying certain games as toys, art is actually far closer to the truth.
Take Minecraft for example. From my point of view, art is content that gives you pause for thought and can be interpreted in several different ways. As a creative statement on the perils we all face, and as a opportunity to be creative, not just to overcome game obstacles but to push your imagination, it is easily as valid as a novel or art-house movie. Similar statements could be make about the Sims and the way it can be used to mirror lives.
Is the average game Art? No, but then again neither is the average movie, or novel, or perhaps even painting. Hell I know Minecraft has done very well for itself, and I think if we are going to look for games that can be construed as art, they are going to come from indie developers, much like indie films. I think there are certainly artistic aspects to certain games. Skyrim is a prime example, were there are lots of quests and such, however it is just as valid to go and live a live in the game, as this person has. He has turned a video game into an art piece essentially.
I don't think the day will ever come when art games are released by big publishers, however the indies will always be there to make the truly thought provoking stuff.