Monday, November 06, 2006

For France, Video Games Are as Artful as Cinema - New York Times

I agree with the culture minister of France that video games do reflect substantial creativity and can reflect cultural value. I'm not sure I'd give a creative award to Donkey Kong, however. There are many other games with truly breathtaking graphics and far more intricate game play, often based on historical events, that would be much better candidates.

New York Times: "France is proud of its contribution to culture in such forms as existentialism, Impressionism and auteur films. Now the French culture minister wants to add Donkey Kong to his country’s pantheon of high art.

“Call me the minister of video games if you want — I am proud of this,” the minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, said in an interview last month. “People have looked down on video games for far too long, overlooking their great creativity and cultural value.”

Mr. Donnedieu de Vabres is seeking to have video games recognized as a cultural industry eligible for tax breaks, similar to French cinema.

In March, he pinned medals from the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres — a prize awarded to acknowledge cultural accomplishments — on three prominent video game designers, including Shigeru Miyamoto, the Japanese creator of Donkey Kong. The game, popularized in the 1980s, stars an Italian plumber called Mario.

Video game creators should receive a tax break of 20 percent, up to a ceiling of 500,000 euros, Mr. Donnedieu de Vabres says.

“Video games are not a mere commercial product,” he insisted. “They are a form of artistic expression involving creation from script writers, designers and directors.”"
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