A few months ago I played God of War for the first time, (Chains of Olympus). Until then I had not had approaches with quick time events and it was interesting to learn how to play the precise button press to continue with the action or get reprimands for my mistakes. These events were triggered by huge, colossal monsters, superhuman in the strict sense of the word: with capacities superior and immeasurable to humans, and yet, with the right precision, it is possible to overcome them. This gives a feeling of omnipotence that is generated through the controls and the player becomes part of the lie because it allows the farce of superiority to continue.
In the last act of the game, always chasing the ghost of my daughter (Kratos’s daughter) the character leaves everything to get her back, then the most emotional event of the game is activated: now, like never before in the game, I have to press circle, hit him viciously like I didn’t against any other boss, but… Why?
Because this emotional attachment hurts Kratos’ humanity more than defeating a kraken!, because he feels, because he has spent the whole game chasing a goal that he barely obtains and is denied again , because he is the toy of circumstances personified as gods, and it hurts him: to leave again, to lose… because he knows that he can do something and that the common good is greater than the personal one, and it is the right thing to do …but it hurts.
And here is an unfolding: we play to be powerful, and we accept it from the beginning of the game when we take control of the character’s actions, and now, it weighs on us too, and not we want to press the button, but the game requires us to. We feel, or come close, at least, to feeling what Kratos. Hence the aesthetic emotion.
Dayo script in a 2012 video mentions that art is the human construction that allows us to feel something and that it is not required to live (1:21), if we see it that way, then yes, indeed video games they can be art, with lots of emotions and sensations.
So they can be art, and yes, the emphasis is on the can, because the fact that they can be does not imply that it is their obligation, nor is it the case of the summer hit, the blockbuster or the best seller . They may or may not be, but that depends on the artist or artists behind the work.