A look at videogames in an artistic form.

Hello everybody, hopefully your wintry months are going well! What with the release of some of the best fragfests ever, I’m sure many of you are busy curb-stomping some Locust or liquifying zombie brains. Some people view games as fun, distracting ventures from the mundane path we call daily life. Some view games as a way to pass time on the bus. And some, such as former attorney at law Jack Thompson, see them as a violent, training medium for tomorrow’s terrorists. Yet, they are rarely perceived as a form of art. As we walk into yet another year of perhaps some of the greatest gaming, let’s take a look at games in a way that they rarely are looked at, in an artistic form.

Games today have really evolved from their 8-bit counterparts. What used to be five-sixths of a yellow circle eating dots has now transformed into deep, polished characters with life breathed into their digital bodies. What used to be a simple landscape of bricks and blocks has now turned into believable, detailed areas worthy of the term environments. What started as a simple message of “Destroy all ships!” has now changed into deep, convincing plotlines that are actually viable. In all, gaming in general has evolved from a distraction, into what we know it today, a form of art.

Gamers as of recent times have much higher standards. We not only want your everyday, vanilla collect-a-thon platformer with a colorful animal with special moves. We want a game with a plotline worthy of a novel, characters worthy of Hollywood, environments worthy of the Discovery Channel, with innovation on top of all that. In today’s world, gaming has turned into a medium like all others; a quality-driven, artistic, thrill ride. Even five years ago, games were regarded with a sense of scorn; “mainstream” media like movies and books turned their nose at gaming, seeing it as a small distraction, pale in comparison to the quality found in other forms of media.

Yet, if movies, music, or MTV can be art, so can games. One way to look at this is to think of this in a different perspective; one that doesn’t dwell on petty definitions or facts, and argues a more direct approach. Art is something to be appreciated, which depends on personal taste. One may not like Picasso, but may support van Gogh. One may dislike rap music, but may be a fanatic of rock. One may be a fan of one type, or genre, of art. Similarly, this can be said of games. RPGs may be your thing, but mine may be FPSs (for the record, I enjoy both). A very obvious show that gaming can be considered an art form is that it is starting to fuse with other forms of art; particularly music. Don’t believe me? Come back after you see a Rock Band advertisement.

Gamers today aren’t held in much scorn as the gamers of yesteryear were. What used to be a basement-dwelling nerd has now evolved to envelop everyone from the casual game loving soccer mom to the sports loving, Guitar Hero player. While some may look back at the past with a sense of longing and nostalgia, many look at the present and realize that this is the now, the acceptance of gaming as mainstream media and art.

Just my two cents, folks.


P.S. On a completely unrelated note, Duke Nukem Forever is actually coming out!


~ by Panzer on December 11, 2008.

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