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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Art event examines games culture
Final Fantasy
New film Final Fantasy started as a computer game
A series of events celebrating the cultural impact of computer games has opened up a debate on whether gaming can really be considered art.

One event at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), in London, UK, called Peeking at Gaming, looks at the growing sophistication and impact of games.

Andrew Chetty, head of new media at the ICA, has argued that games have become so massive they warrant debate around their impact on popular culture.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Chetty said computer games had spawned a massive industry.

"A huge section of modern society is playing these games and there is a larger cultural impact both in film and music and the worldwide web which you can't ignore."

But Sunday Times critic Brian Appleyard does not believe that computer games can really be considered as art.

Super Mario

He told Today: "They are a hypnotic dull procedure. It is not like engaging with a work of art."

He added: "This is an attempt to tell people that what they are doing anyway is art so it's OK. It's a condescending view. Software writers, by and large, are not artists."

Computer games continue to spawn multi-million pound merchandising industries, including a crop of blockbuster movies.

The most successful of these has been the 2001 film Tomb Raider, based on the animated heroine Lara Croft.

These spin-offs are not an entirely new phenomenon, as the platform game Super Mario Bros was transformed for the big screen in 1993, starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper.

In the UK alone, around 934m was spent on computer games last year.

See also:

24 Mar 01 | New Media
Computer games get smarter
30 Jul 01 | dot life
Happy 40th, computer games
04 Jun 01 | New Media
Sales of computer games rising
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