Date: May 6, 2011
As an art form, games are fairly unique because they don't just interact with you and elicit a response; you interact with them, too. That isn't to say that there aren't forms of conceptual art outside of the gaming world that you can't interact with. Unfortunately, I'm only drawing up dolls and action figures of meticulous design and detail. But even some automobiles are considered art; think of the aerodynamic forms of supercars. And I would definitely consider many buildings to be art; the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario is a perfect example of this, as is just about any museum.
And like these items, games can only be interacted with on a limited field – that which is defined by the designers. So, to compare a game with architecture and design is not a far-fetched notion. This is especially true since games often require a working knowledge of functional architecture; levels don't design themselves and the greatest levels are rarely a collection of random structures littered with random objects.
On the flipside of this argument, though, comes another question – and it's a very important one: Does all of this high-falutent BS make the best game? In a simple answer, no. There are games with brilliant design, amazing music, awesome graphics – the whole nine – that just fall flat. Usually because the gameplay – the ways in which you interact with the world – are not enjoyable enough. But it certainly makes a game “cooler”.
As far as I can tell, the Viewtiful Joe series for the Gamecube and PS2 did this much more effectively; the game was more or less a unanimous critical success with a fairly large cult following, so it was a commercial success, too. Viewtiful Joe, released by Capcom, was simpler in its execution, and in fact it was more an experiment and training exercise in it's creation - at least it's how it started out. It's a side-scrolling brawler, but it clearly was better designed and, as a final product was generally more enjoyable.