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?
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?