Sam Machkovech has a rather bizarre piece in The Atlantic in which he claims that patching video games to fix bugs renders them incapable of being art. He reasons:
“But in terms of buggy, incomplete games reaching the marketplace, the hobby is doing great damage to itself. When video games depend on patches, they lose all artistic potential and become broken advertisements for their future selves.”
I’m not entirely sure I follow that, but I think what he’s saying is that because video games are updated even after their release, they’re never finished and, therefore, never art.
I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. They’re always doing restorations of movies and paintings and such; why not for video games?
And, anyway, patches are only used to correct glitches and small errors. I don’t think anyone’s going to introduce a patch that completely alters the central artistic vision of a game. (Okay, there are mods. But modding a game to have different-looking characters and weapons is about the same as setting Macbeth in modern-day Australia. Does that make Shakespeare not “Art”?)