Fort Frolic, Rapture, North Atlantic Ocean – Sander Cohen, resident playwright, sculptor, poet, and theatre critic in the undersea city of Rapture, has definitively determined that minigames are not art, nor will they ever be.
Minigames — generally defined as relatively simple diversionary challenges or activities a lone hero, shadowy mercenary, space commander, or other adventurer might come across in his travels — cannot be compared to artistic works of poetry, dance, or sculptures made of corpses, Cohen recently announced, despite no one asking for his opinion on the matter. These games can sometimes be used to open locks, hack computers, or simply pass a little time for adventurers between their primary goals.
“Minigames have rules,” said Cohen to no one in particular. “Adventurers are given a test of reflexes, or of memory, and are challenged to win the game. That can never be art, as opposed to theatre, wherein actors must commit lines to memory, and speak them in a precise order, and are challenged to succeed in their performance.”
“Minigames have carefully visual elements, created by artists,” he continued. “Theatres have carefully designed sets, created by artists. They are clearly two completely different things.”
Some wonder if Cohen, a critic who himself has done little or no adventuring, is qualified to determine if minigames are art or not. “I once pried open a vending machine in Olympus Heights,” Cohen said, “and peered at the minigame-controlled mechanism within. I did not see anything that made me want to fiddle with the controls of that machine, nor have I since. That, I feel, makes me qualified to unequivocally judge the artistic nature of these games.”
Cohen, who in addition to having written several plays, has also served as a theatre critic for over thirty years, during which time he felt such a powerful duty to uphold the importance and majesty of the art of theatre that he devised the most basic rating system he could think of. He came up with his trademark phrases of “Hats off!” or “Hats on!”, where the former meant he loved the play, and the latter meant he hated it. For example, a Cohen blurb on a poster for the 1945 play “Home of the Brave” by Arthur Laruents might read “Hats off! Hats way off!”
“That is what anyone who respects art, and defines it for everyone else, must do,” he was quoted as saying. “Define all art as either good or bad, with nothing in between. It’s the mark of a true appreciation for the intricacies of art.”
Many adventurers disagree with Cohen’s broad assessment. Link, an Ocarina-owning adventurer in Hyrule, speaks fondly of a fishing pond he spent a great deal of time at between world-saving quests. “I love that pond,” Link says. “The ambiance, the beauty of the water and trees, watching the night turn to day… it might as well have been a painting. I’ve spent hours there, absorbed by the simple act, or game, of fishing. I can’t imagine why that lovely little pond couldn’t be considered art.”
Some adventurers also object to Cohen claiming that minigames, which continue to evolve, will never be art. What gives Cohen such a certain glimpse of things to come?
“There are things I know about the future,” Cohen said. “I simply just know. For instance, the city of Rapture will always remain a wonderful, beautiful place. Its Art Deco design is a visual feast for the eyes. Its mood, its lighting, its ambiance… why, the city itself a work of art.”
“Minigames, however, will never be anything more than crude distractions.”