Are Games Art?

My 'City Life' game board

A while ago I was reading two books on the gamification of our lives, Jane McGonigal's book Reality is Broken and Tom Chatfield's Fun Inc. (Fun Inc. is my recommendation of the two, but both are interesting).
The definition of a game, a per suit of unnecessary goals with user defined restrictions, struck me as overlapping with my experience of making art.
A common definition of art is that it must have no use; this is what separates art from design. So this is pretty much like art - an unnecessary goal. An element of play is definitely part of art - some period of joyful experimental exploration is usually what keeps art alive.
Artists (especially systems artists like myself) define for themselves the restrictions, or focus, of their art prat ice.
Another commonality is a sense of flow when fully engaged in the activity - common in games and an art practice.
This lead me down a couple of tracks. One is experimenting with the 'gamification' of my practice (yet to happen) and another was exploring some city design games for the landscape architecture students.
Unfortunately I got hooked into a game that was completely useless for the landscape students (avoiding the conundrum of a useful game).
And I have ended up using the 'art' part of myself to play this game -essentially a slow steady effort at improving my game level, enjoying flow and arranging my game board to interest me aesthetically. I have to keep levelling myself up so I can have mastery over the elements I am using...exactly how I behave when I am making art.
So my energy has been going into this game instead of my work! Together with starting work again, this has meant not too much drawing going on!
I have to acknowledge one positive aspect of this - I think I have verified that there is a strong overlap between game playing and art. Now, how to explore this in my art practice rather than my game playing practice?

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