Lume the Mad has an interesting post discussing whether video games are art. It's a good entry in the "Yes, Video games are art" side of the debate. This debate has raged all over the place, so I thought I may as well toss in my two cents.
My take: I don't really see why it matters if video games are Art or not.
To be honest, most of the arguments on either side boil down to how you define Art. I can construct definitions of Art such that video games fit. For example, video games can convey messages; they often use many of the same techniques of writing, dialog, etc.; they engage our aesthetic senses.
I can also construct definitions of Art such that video games do not fit. For example, Art requires an audience, video games require participants or players. As well, often the best game does not match the most artistic game, and that is incongruous for an Art. Tetris may very well be the best video game ever made, but is it the most artistic?
The more I listen and read the debates about video games and Art, the more I become convinced that this debate isn't about Art at all, it is about social status.
It's pretty clear that game developers and game players in our culture have low social status, especially in comparison to artists. This whole debate is gamers are trying to say that video games are like films and novels, so the culture should treat game developers like filmmakers and novelists, and game players like film buffs or literati.
Honestly, that's not going to happen anytime soon. The gatekeepers of culture don't care about your reasoned arguments. Social status doesn't really have anything to do who or what deserves that status. If anything, it's a function of how the wealthy and the intelligentsia differentiate themselves from the rest of masses. Oprah is not going to have a Video Game of the Month Club. She's not going to treat Will Wright and Shigeru Miyamoto like Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou. Roger Ebert won't treat them like Robert Altman or Martin Scorsese.
For one thing, video games are popular. In particular, the "good" games are often the same as the most popular games. The upper classes can't give games the high status of Art, as that would implicitly give high social status to the plebes, defeating the point of having social status in the first place.
To me, this entire debate smacks of the divide between cool kids and the unpopular kids in high school, only brought forward into the adult world. The unpopular kids are busy constructing arguments that the cool kids should consider them "cool", not realizing that none of these arguments actually matter. This was pretty pointless in high school, and it's even more pointless now.
Games are games. If they are not Art, that does not make them lesser than they are. If they are Art, that does not make them greater. And in the end, social status does not obey reasoned arguments.