It matters because it gives independent video game makers and people interested in pursuing video game production a new avenue towards funding.I'm talking about how it doesn't really matter in the sense of why we care what a bunch of other people think of our hobby, as if we needed video games to be recognized as art to somehow be validated in society (protip: playing RPGs still makes you a nerd). But since you mentioned it, the fact that federal grants can now be used towards the creation of video games does bother me. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy and now we're adding the funding of video games to the list of things we can't afford. Yeah, sounds great!
It would also help in the preservation of video games down the road. At least in this country.There are ISOs and ROMs all over the place for any game you can think of, even unofficial releases. What help is needed with preservation?
The money thing doesn't work that way though. The NEA has a budget and now part of that budget can be used towards video games. It's not like if the NEA didn't recognize video games that budget would be diminished so the government spending on money on video games doesn't really change a thing.
As far a preservation, that's just short term, who knows what the state of games will be years from now but federal grants have played a huge part in keeping various pieces of art alive. Video games are special because of the digital format, but again, who knows the state of things to come in the future.
As for video games or anything being declared art I realize it's a good thing (see the manchild argument), but it's still stupid. What is and isn't art is an opinion that varies from person to person. Some people consider smashing cars together in a jumbled mess art, I don't. So the government declaring anything art is ridiculous to me.
That's not the point at all. As I said earlier it's all about money. Sure, there are critics and artists who will never look at video games as art, there are some that have from the beginning, and everything in between, but the whole point is that if the NEA views video games as art then things like scholarships and fellowships can be granted by the government to people who wish to create a game but lack the funds to do so. And the NEA doesn't act as some kind of government propaganda agency so they aren't going to send funds to people who produce pro-USA video games or anything like that. This really is a big deal and the focus shouldn't be on the legitimization of video games so much as the fact that now there is more possibility for funding. This is something that is especially good for the growth of the indie scene. Well hopefully. Again we'll have to wait and see how and where the NEA sends money to as far as video games are concerned.