Source: What Do I Know?: Games as Art, Roger Ebert, The Entirety of Human Culture, and Other Light Topics
Defining art is a lot like defining science, most of the time it is a matter of describing an example of a thing as the thing. Still, as with science there are elements in art that help us identify it as art.
In the long run it comes down to a matter of feelings. As with science art is about evoking feelings, and evoking them in such a way as to arose feelings of awe. Your first exposure to a work of art is one that makes you say, “wooh.”
Art is impressive. Art gets your attention. More importantly, art remains impressive even after you’ve seen it for awhile. Too much exposure to a piece of art can lead to burn out, but when you understand how it is impressive it remains art.
Ask a painter about the Mona Lisa, a musician about the Stairway to Heaven; either will try to tell you about what makes them art, but as long as you don’t have the background necesssary you’re not going to understand them.
Could video games be art? In my opinion when the people who create them understand what makes art art, then they will be art. Until then they will be just an amusement. We first need to ask ourselves, what is it about art that impresses us? How are the elements of the piece handled, how are they brought together to get the result we see as art. What did Mozart do to produce his art? When at the core its just a matter of the technology of music writing.
Art really is not about the technology of producing the piece, but rather a matter of how it is put together in such a way as to evoke an enduring response. Most importantly it is an understanding of how we work, or how and why we find something impressive and what stays impressive even after it’s been around for awhile. Cartoons have been acknowledged as art because of how they appeal to their audience, or how they were done in such a wise that they appealed to the audience. Chuck Jones and friend timed Wiley Coyote’s falls to elicit the best response from their audience. A technical answer to eliciting an emotional response. That is how we handle the creation of art, using the tools we have to get the responses we are looking for.
Can anything become art? Of course, but only as long as we understand what art is and how we create it.