Games Recognized As Media Art Advancements In Japan

By Spencer . December 10, 2008 . 4:02pm

image Without getting into the “games are art” debate too much, each year Japan’s Media Arts Festival acknowledges video games that are pioneers in “media arts”. Winners of the award are considered to have created something that unifies advances in technology and media. Before we get to the big winner in the video game category let’s look at what the jury recommended as excellent in 2008.


Aquanaut’s Holiday ~Hidden Memories~
Devil May Cry 4
DS Bungaku Zenshu (note: a DS ebook reader.)
Daigasso! Band Brothers DX
Dragon Quest IV: The Chapters of the Chosen
Dragon Quest V: The Hand of the Heavenly Bride
Knights in the Nightmare
PixelJunk Eden
Pokémon Platinum
Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!


And this year’s top video game for the advancement of media art is….




Wii Fit with an Excellence Prize! The Grand Prize went to a light up musical instrument called Tenori-On. In addition to a trophy the excellence prize comes with 300,000 yen ($3200) which is like chump change to Nintendo.


Wondering why Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots isn’t on the list? Kojima already picked up his Excellence Prize last year, even though the game didn’t come out. Other games honored in 2007 include Monster Hunter Freedom 2 which also earned an Excellence Prize and Wii Sports which was awarded the Grand Prize. Final Fantasy VII and I.Q. Intelligent Qube were among the first games to be honored by the Japan Media Arts Festival which started in 1997.


Images courtesy of Nintendo / Sting.

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  • Just to add a bit of more background info…

    The Tenori-on was created by Toshio Iwai, who was also responsible for Electroplankton on the DS.

    I’m curious to know how they decide what is eligible for 2008 as a few of these titles came out in 2007.

    Here’s a list of past awards:

  • lostinblue

    Tenori-On rocks, shame for the price it goes for.

  • Shushu

    I’m sorry, this is pathetic, so rigged, or just plain stupid, I can’t tell which one.

    Pokemon Plat is an advancement in Media Art?
    Dragon Quest 4 and 5?! These are decade-old games in a shiny new box!

    Some of these games seem innovative as media art, but half of them are just the games that are popular or got reviewed well.

    Come on, who are these people? They seem like the voice of the Japanese brainwashed teenager.

  • Aoshi00

    I’m not sure if it’s just teenagers, DQ is adorned by the whole nation of Jpn, what w/ people skipping work to get the game.

    They might see “art” a little differently as a medium of spreading Jpn pop culture worldwide, like manga or anime? The Prime Minister was at Akiba recently promoting things.

    To me it’s the immersion factor, if I can lose myself and not think I’m playing a game.

  • I love how they use the word “artist” when referring to the person who “made” the game (“made” in quotes because obviously Miyamoto didn’t make Wii Fit by himself.)

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