For anyone that doesn't know - Art house games refer to games that are built under similar concepts as a lot of modern art (paintings, sculptures, performance, ect.) in the way that they try to get the player to think along some kind of philosophical concept. A great example would be Jason Rohrer's game, Passage
I recently played a game called Ultraworld and it got me thinking. The mechanics of the game are pretty sub-par in my opinion as it's basically an explore the environment and find all the things kind of game - there wasn't much to offer in terms of gameplay. It did, however have exceptional style in its graphics and audio, and the writing did it's job of getting me to think about things in an interesting way.
So that begs the question in my mind - Do art house games need to have enjoyable game mechanics? Or should the philosophy or artistic direction take precedence?
I've played plenty of other art house games with equally simple mechanics, but since they tend to be much shorter games they generally were never long enough to lose interest. So maybe art direction and philosophy in these games should be top priority, however the gameplay quality should be equal to the duration of the game. Though I think there's still a threshold of quality that the gameplay needs to reach, even for the shortest games.
What does everyone else think?