I don't want to reminisce too much, but I am positive there are a great number of individuals who've had impressed into their lives at least one time where they experienced joy from a video game. Be it a social situation, an hour of boredom relieved, or an all-night lock-in to beat a game, everyone's experience has been enjoyed on a subjective level, but there's a common bond that I feel can be related to other types of media like music or movies.
The commonalties of interaction - entertainment, emotional connection, maybe even appreciation for the amount of work poured into whatever you may have enjoyed - are where I come to the conclusion that video games are not just a pass-time, but a legitimate art form.
This starts to make sense when you put together the ideas that video games can be a means of expression and communication, that they can be beautiful aesthetically, and that they even include entire other art forms (music, acting, writing, visual art, etc.). You could go as far as to say some select modern video games are a wholly realized, interactive fusion of several art forms.
Type "Beautiful Video Game" in Google; Get lots of Journey.
I know I'm naturally someone who seeks a deeper meaning in every aspect of life, but I'm not trying to advocate straight-up intense philosophy into video games, even though I think it'd be a completely valid path for a game or game genre to take up. All I'm wishing for is that the primary focus of a game to push beyond the realm of removing the burdens of boredom. It seems that games with well developed and interesting stories like the Halo franchise put the action-packed gameplay in the forefront of its worth, making its story and any amount of meaning within it an afterthought for the majority of consumers (and believe me, it is riddled with social, political, and religious themes).
Take a gander at the picture below for a second or two.
Here we have at least one, if not multiple people, pouring their time, effort, and creative perspective into a Minecraft map to make their own unique creation. I would bet money that this took weeks worth of hours to create, all the individual details, planning out the creation, mining the resources for it. The bummer thing about it is that no one will admire this but the creator's colleagues, people he associates with on forums, and people like me, who googled "epic minecraft" and stumbled upon one of thousands of pictures to choose from.
I quit playing video games because they do not stimulate me beyond exercising my basic mental capabilities. Once meaning and purpose become one of the lead innovations in gaming, I'll jump back in, first thing.
Video games should change lives, not waste them.
For games made by lateral thinkers, check out Proteus, Flower, and Portal.