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Paint-by-Number

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Paint-by-Number 2012-06-26 15:47:13


Paintings, statues, and sculptures are all considered a form of artwork. Music and movies would be the next forms of entertainment to be viewed in an artistic way as well. Then we approach video games... are they art?

A lot of gamers will be quick to jump on the button and state that "yes they are art!" This will be stated though without any real thought put into the context of those words. It's easy to say they're art because of their graphics and use of music, but there really is no criteria. It is a loose artform, but to be fair so is most other forms of art.

You have to remember that video games were originally nothing more than bleeps and bloops for recreational entertainment. Something to captivate people's minds with it's appearance and wonder. A time when PONG was mind-blowing to a lot of people. Was it seen as artwork? No. However with today's growth in video games and graphics and technology has boomed, video games as an artform is being looked at more with games such as PONG being used to represent that of cave man drawings.

Now I'm not entirely here to talk about video games as an artform, that is a debate that will have to wait for it's own time. Besides if you want to know more about that then you check out an article that Game Informer did entitled The Great Debate in Issue 207 on Pg. 40. They do a great job of talking about video games as an artform.

What I am here to discuss is how video games can be art and those who view it as such have been taken advantage of by some developers in a way to offer beautiful visuals with minimalistic gameplay in a way to engross the player with very little effort. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these games it just seems like there could have been more offered to the player.

Some examples would be Heavy Rain and Flower. There is nothing wrong with these games... per say, but they have one goal in mind. To be as fancy with their artwork as possible.

Heavy Rain is nothing more than an interactive movie with a bigger price tag... in other words it is one of those DVD Games in disguise. It's story and graphics are it's selling points and the two things given the most work considering the somewhat wonky controls and it being nothing more than a giant Quicktime Event game. Truth has to be said. Not a bad game, but more could have been done with it.

Flower is a very simple minded game, where you collect petals while flying through the breeze. Very simple and going back to the days of Atari, which in this aspect is not really a good thing, because it is hopped up on graphics and music to give an overall presentation. It gives off an illusion of it being deeper than it's sub-par gameplay makes it out to be.

Like I said there is nothing wrong with these games. They are good games, but to pay a $20.00 to $60.00 price for these games is a bit much. You're pretty much paying $50.00 for the visuals and around $10.00 of gameplay. That to me doesn't seem right.

Two examples of games that offer not only artistic value as well as gameplay would be L.A. Noire and Katamari Damacy. These two took effort to make with artistic princple and offer the player just enough gameplay. They're worlds are engaging to look at and be a part of.

L.A. Noire used real actors and actresses to get the facial expressions and movements of their characters and recreated Los Angeles within it's period of time. It is an impressive marvel of artwork. Then you have the game, coming from the makers of Grand Theft Auto, they employed some of the workings of that game into this one. The only difference is, you have to be a good guy and can't be as renegade as you want to be, unless you want a low ranking. See I could actually talk about the game that time around.

Katamari Damacy starts you in a small world, where you have to roll up things in a kitchen, then the kitchen, then the house, then the neighborhood, then the city, then the world, then the universe, then the galaxy. It's artwork can best be described as abstract in just about anything goes. It brings forth a lot of cultural elements from the land of Japan and presents them all beautifully to you.

These two games can correlate to that of Heavy Rain and Flower with their presentations, but the gameplays are still the focus point. I consider Heavy Rain and Flower as nothing more than Art Games. Games that have very little gameplay and are made for the sole purpose of "being art" and conveying "a deeper meaning that even the gamer cannot fully comprehend". I call it nothing more than minimalistic gaming or to be more concise for saving time, BULLSHIT.

There is nothing wrong with an Art Game, as long as it still has the properties to be an engaging video game. Video games are different from that of movies and paintings, because they immerse their spectators differently, but if a video game tries to be a painting or a movie instead of being a video game then it loses what was originally there in the first place. It insteads makes you paint in the gameplay, as if it were a paint by number picture.

Which paint-by-number pictures are fun, but it's more fun to draw your own picture. What would you rather have? A developer telling you to fill in the blanks or a developer asking you what you fill in the blanks?

Questions of the Day
1. Where do you stand on video games as an artform?
2. What do you think of Art Games?
3. What would you say is the most artistic game you have played and why?
4. Where do you split the meaning of a video game and art?
5. Do you own any video game books?
6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart from this world?

Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-06-26 18:59:51


At 6/26/12 03:47 PM, The-Great-One wrote:
Questions of the Day
1. Where do you stand on video games as an artform?

I think it's like cinema. Some movies are absolute crap and some are beautiful things to be admired now and long into the future. Same thing can be said about certain video games.

2. What do you think of Art Games?

They're okay. I still think a game should be fun, though. There's no point in being artistic if it isn't enjoyable to play your game.

3. What would you say is the most artistic game you have played and why?

Metal Gear Solid 3 because it has the vibe of a great movie with a lot of emotion and action.

4. Where do you split the meaning of a video game and art?

I have no idea.

5. Do you own any video game books?

The only thing I can think of is a Super Mario comic that I've had since I was a kid.

6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart from this world?

It's dangerous to go alone...


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Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-06-26 19:19:33


At 6/26/12 03:47 PM, The-Great-One wrote:
Questions of the Day
1. Where do you stand on video games as an artform?

Overall i'd like to say that they are an art form, but not as much as other art forms, like say sculpting for example

2. What do you think of Art Games?

I think that theyre really just made for the visuals, and dont really have too much content within them. However, those visuals that they have are usually pretty outstanding

3. What would you say is the most artistic game you have played and why?

Well, i cant exactly pinpoint the most artistic game ive played mainly because of the ones i have, i cant really remember what their names were, sorry

4. Where do you split the meaning of a video game and art?

A video game becomes art(to me)once it stops being all about action and starts being more about exploration

5. Do you own any video game books?

If by books you mean like chapter books or comic books, then no. If by books you mean like strategy guides and the like, then yes

6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart from this world?

How does my heart from this world? Erm...i suppose my heart not very much this world, but some

Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-06-27 22:13:22


At 6/26/12 03:47 PM, The-Great-One wrote: 6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart form this world?

Sorry, from is supposed to be form. I AM ERROR.

Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-06-28 12:32:32


At 6/26/12 03:47 PM, The-Great-One wrote: Questions of the Day
1. Where do you stand on video games as an artform?

Depends on the game. Some games, like Zelda, Silent Hill, Bioshock, I would consider those art. Games like Call of Duty, however, are just meant to be fun with shooting people. If anything it would be the $5000 paintings that look like a 5 year old spilled some paint.
And before anyone goes all fanboy on me, I'm not trying to insult Call of Duty. The only real reason anyone buys those games is for the multiplayer part, which is just shooting at each other. No story, graphics aren't really the focus, and the gameplay is nothing super original. It's just meant to be good stupid fun. Killing Floor would be a good example, too. Just shoot things and have fun, no more, no less.

2. What do you think of Art Games?

Again, depends on the game. Some are good, some are bad. I'm not really a fan of the "Ooh look pretty colors" art games, though.

3. What would you say is the most artistic game you have played and why?

I dunno, I'd have to say a tie between the Silent Hill series and Bioshock. Silent Hill is more about the symbolism and psychology stuff, and Bioshock is more about the original but believable world, for me.

4. Where do you split the meaning of a video game and art?

I'd say a video game is art when it's meant to make the player think or feel something.

5. Do you own any video game books?

I have the little book that came with the copy of Oblivion I got a few years ago. Other than that, no, I'm not a big reader.

6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart form this world?

Not really sure what you're asking here.

Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-07-09 23:19:35


Sorry for the impromptu bump, however with only 4 replies I would like to hear more feedback on this subject.

Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-07-09 23:59:32


Oh this is a good one!

1. Where do you stand on video games as an artform?
I honestly can't really say. It really depends on the game. Take a game like Journey and put it up against Gears of War 3 and Journey would win in terms of being more arty (and unique).

2. What do you think of Art Games?
They are the kind of games that just has...emotion to them. There's just something beautiful about it that it makes it awe inspiring.

3. What would you say is the most artistic game you have played and why?
I...don't really know. Shadow of the Colossus just had so many awe-inspiring moments that I could just put down the controller and look at the scenery (and the colossus) for several seconds. I say seconds because I don't want the colossus to squish me. But then Journey came around and damn it feels great playing it. The music, the graphics, the simple gameplay, the unique atmosphere, the back story, there's just so much mystery but you don't question it during the game. You try to go to the top of the mountain. Damn fine game and it's still my personal game of the year so far.

4. Where do you split the meaning of a video game and art?
Technically, both require some sort of render and a skill in drawing. Re-making dawnbreaker in Skyrim was a pain in the ass, even when borrowing several people's meshes and textures because I've never used the creation kit before. But anyway, all games have some sort of concept art. Afterwards, it depends on what the developers are trying to aim for. Call of Duty=shooter, arcady style, simple. Nothing really awe-inspiring about that, but hey a lot of kids love it! Then of course there are some games like Deus Ex Human Revolution and Rayman Origins that are able to combine art and gameplay well...I can go on.

5. Do you own any video game books?
Why yes I do, mostly art books.

6. You got the Triforce! How does your heart form this world?
By riding a blue pegasus and shooting meteors out of my hands with so much swag that hyrulians be shufflin to moonwalker while fighting each other with squeeky weapons...oh and it's yellow.


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Response to Paint-by-Number 2012-07-11 01:05:25


At 7/9/12 11:59 PM, mrpwnzer wrote: Call of Duty=shooter, arcady style, simple. Nothing really awe-inspiring about that, but hey a lot of kids love it! Then of course there are some games like Deus Ex Human Revolution and Rayman Origins that are able to combine art and gameplay well...I can go on.

Please do. Also how would you consider Call of Duty not really art, but Deus Ex and Rayman Origins as art. I'm not disagreeing with you, I just want your state of view.