Minecraft upstages Portal 2 in arty game prize

Block heads?

Who would have guessed that Minecraft is a work of cultural and artistic significance? Thank goodness we have the judges behind the inaugural GameCity Prize to tell us.

The Prize was announced this weekend at GameCity, a Nottingham-hosted event that is apparently "Europe’s biggest annual videogame culture festival".

Event and Prize are all about "exploring and celebrating videogames as being at the vanguard of inclusive, contemporary creative arts", the festival's director, Iain Simons, said.

Can a game - any game, for that matter - be a work of artistic merit? Is Monopoly a searing critique of the captialist system? Does Battlefield 3 speak of the futility of war? Can Forza 4 be read as a bleak satire on everyman's need to compensate for the unprepossessing nature of his organs of generation?

Maybe not, but Minecraft "perfectly mixes the pleasures of both work and play. See-sawing between boundless fantasy and quotidian reality, it gives you the opportunity to build anything you can imagine," says the GameCity website, and that's why it beat the likes of Child of Eden, Limbo, Portal 2, Ilomilo, Superbrothers and… er… Pokémon Black to the take the Prize.

GameCity Prize judges included a boy band, an MP, one of the funnier Fast Show folks, an FT journalist and one of the less well-known members of Blur. Oh, and the woman with the eyepatch in the last series of Doctor Who. ®

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