Brock Rough




Institutional affiliation

University of Maryland, College Park


Ph.D student

Research interests relevant to game philosophy

My dissertation, “Are Videogames Art?”, addresses the art status of videogames. I defend a non-universal answer, arguing that while videogames can be artworks, not all of them are. In particular my position argues for the incompatibility of games and artworks, thus entailing that all videogames that are games cannot be artworks. In response to this incompatibility I propose a formalist intentional-historical definition of videogames that accounts for the extension of videogames to include works that are not games. It is these non-ludic videogames that are potential art status candidates. Finally, I defend an intentional-historical definition of art that shows an objects art status to depend largely on the intentions of its creator, providing a theoretical account of how it is that someone can intend to make an object that is both a videogame and an artwork.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

“Why Games Are Not Artworks” – Canadian Philosophical Association – 2016
“Videogames as Games or Artworks, But Not Both” – MAGFest – 2016
Panel – “Games/Culture: Benefits and Challenges of Games in Museums” – MAGFest 2016
“Why Games Are Not Art” – American Society of Aesthetics – 2015
“Videogames as a Test Case for Institutional Theory” – American Society for Aesthetics – 2014
“Why Videogame Criticism is Hard” – St. Mary’s College of Maryland – 2013
“The Special Problem of Interactive Fiction” – British Society of Aesthetics – 2013
“Principles of Generation of Fictional Truths in Videogames” – Society for the Philosophic Study of the Contemporary Visual Arts, Central American Philosophical Association Meeting – 2013
“Impossible Mario and Incomplete Zelda: The Special Problem of Fictional Truths in Videogames” – Digital Cultures and Creativity Honors College Speaker Series – 2012


art, aesthetics, play, meaning, intentions, ontology


Brock Rough