The NEA Now Funding Video Games

The National Endowment for the Arts has renamed its “Arts on Television and Radio” program “Arts in Media,” and as part of this shift, they’ll be giving grants to people who make video games. The new category is for “all available media platforms such as the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television,” according to the new guidelines. So does this mean that funding will get directed to the people who came up with Call of Duty?

No, says Kyle Chayka at Hyperallergic:

What may look like a minor semantic change is actually a revolutionary redefinition. Video games are now a formally acceptable art medium, in the eyes of the United States government’s largest arts organization. But don’t just think of this as about public money going to Nintendo; it’s not just handheld Super Mario games that would receive funding. In fact, I would bet that “entertainment” oriented games are the least likely to get a piece of the pie. What I would expect to get the new grants would be interactive, community projects, games or apps that use art as a vehicle to communicate and bring users together.

That’s actually really cool. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that there were people out there making video games not for entertainment. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I thought the purpose of games in general was entertainment? Well, whatever. It looks as though this gesture has upped the NEA’s cool quotient, by far the most important take-away.

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