I've never held the modern art movement with high regard because it's the kind of thing anyone could make. Throw a couple different paint splats on a canvas and you can call yourself an artist. Does that mean you are on par with Rembrandt or Picasso? Of course not. Those artist had incredible talent and were absolute masters of the craft in their day. The same holds true for video games. I'd argue that video gaming had it's first great artist as far back as 1980 with David Theurur and his land mark title Missile Command. I wont go into detail about this particular game though. The guys over at Extra Credits have an excellent video about it which you can watch here if you want to know more.
Speaking as someone who has being playing games since the second console generation, I can remember the time when making money was simple a means to an end (i.e. I need cash so I can make great games). Rather than the more modern trend set by publishers of I make great games so I can sit on a solid gold toilet and wipe my ass with $100 bills. I think when people refer to the "golden age of gaming" they're really talking about the time before that transition became apparent. Hopefully the rise of kickstarters will revive the artistic talents of gaming. But until the fruits of that labor are harvested it's anyone's guess as to weather or not the the future of the craft will see improvement or decline.