Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Video Games are a Form of Art

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Video Games often go under appreciated in this world. Many people label video games as a shallow form of entertainment that is only for children. They even go as far to say that there is nothing meaningful in a video game and all it does is rot your brain. I disagree with these people completely. I believe these people have never sat down to play a quality game.  Many games out there contain the heart pumping action equivalent to that found in a great film, the breathtaking artistic visuals equal to a great work of art, and a dramatic experience equal to those of the most respected pieces of theatre.

Most non-gamers only get quick glimpses of video games. Chances are that most of the time they  see one of the mainstream AAA multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) titles. People who don’t play video games are most likely to see a person playing one of these titles by happenstance and judge all video games based on them. They see a game where the goal is to kill the other team over and over; a game where brutally murdering another person in multiple ways and in succession gets rewarded; a game where the creativity is minimal and the recycled mechanics of every multiplayer FPS is evident.
It’s a shame really.

Video games are capable of so much more. In fact they are perhaps the most interactive medium to tell a compelling story and to immerse a person in a different reality. Heavy Rain is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Heavy Rain excels at pulling you into its story, making you feel you are in the game and making your actions of success or failure directly affect the overall outcome of the story. No movie can provide the same type of experience that is unique to each person.

Morrigan from Dragon Age Origins
Dragon Age: Origins is a prime example of a game in which the characters are so deep, complex and full of personality that they almost feel real. You become emotionally attached to these people over the course of the game. Your character has the ability to have a relationship and fall in love with some of them. The love and romance is so pure, beautifully written and has such a genuine feeling of love that it rivals any novel, book, or movie.

Some video games provide you with a living breathing world full of unique experiences that provide a means of escape from reality that is hard to match. Fallout: New Vegas for example has a vast world full of life with characters, plot choices and near endless missions and areas to explore. No other medium can come close to providing such an immersive alternate reality to explore at your will.

Some of the best stories ever told have been through video games both old and new. Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, The Witcher, Baldur’s Gate, Gabriel Knight, and so so much more have all told amazing stories that have moved us, made us feel emotions, and stuck with us like all great works of art.


I am deeply saddened by the fact that most people will never experience what beauty and creativity is behind many of the games out there. Not every game is a shallow rehashed multiplayer game with limited creativity. Many video games are an art form that should be respected and admired not put down by the masses. I am proud of what video games have brought to my life and the experiences I have felt playing them. I am proud to be a gamer.

4 comments:

  1. Neat artic- I mean, blog post Dan!

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  2. I fully agree with your life experience on video games. I myself love to play games with an emotional story line, but also enjoy pure FPS sometimes. I feel really lucky to live in this generation. At the same time I feel bad for our parents, they never really had the chance to develop such deep thoughts on video games, hence often do not get how we feel about it. Keep the posts coming! You're my favourite Justin.TV broadcaster!

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  3. I also agree with this :) most people who don't game don't understand that a really good game is like sitting down with a really good movie that lasts longer, and lets you interact with it. Call of Duty is a terrible example of the gaming industry and gives people the wrong idea. Uncharted 2, in my opinion, is the most amazing game i've ever played...it's like playing a amazing movie that lasts much longer.

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  4. Dan have a look at this view of all game genres as explained by the british journalist Charlie Brooker. Very funny and brilliant!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIb8JdoWF00

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