Rosemarie Fiore, "Tempest 1", 2001, from http://www.rosemariefiore.com via nplusonemag.com.
The latest issue of n+1 includes an editorial on the notion of the video game as art, responding in part to an essay on the topic by John Lanchester published early last year in the London Review of Books (gotta admire n+1's refusal of urgency).
The editorial tells Lanchester off for regarding video games as art, latching on to a sentence about the two main strengths of video games: "The first is visual: the best games are already beautiful, and I can see no reason why the look of video games won’t match or surpass that of cinema. The second is to do with this sense of agency, that the game offers a world in which the player is free to act and to choose." Aha! says n+1. These two traits - beauty and goal-oriented participation - act against one another, "Or so, once upon a time, most philosophers of art would have claimed. For Kant, disinterestedness was the hallmark of aesthetic experience, which temporarily suspended the private desires and wishes of the viewer, reader, or listener. And the experience of playing games is nothing if not interested, the desire to win being almost the definition of an 'interest.'"
Actually, Lanchester doesn't say that video games are art, only that the two things are converging - that one day they may become art. And n+1 gets points deducted for an appeal to authority. Still, Kant's distinction seems roughly right. I've heard it said by sporting purists that any activity that involves awarding points for artistic impression (gymnastics, figure-skating) isn't really a sport; but any activity that involves awarding points sure as shootin' isn't art.