Many adults know about the negativestereotypical views video games received throughout the years. Views consistingof promoting violence and aggressive behavior, which it will not help theplayers later in life, and other usual excuses many parents use in not lettingtheir children play them. Nevertheless, many of the generations, both new andold, look to video games as a form of art and inspiration. Video games over thepast few years are now considered an art form. It is astonishing on how something so negatively viewed, has become agood portion of art culture. Truly, video games are acollision of art, literature, and playwrights in one interactive medium. Yet,how are video games an example of all three arts, in the first place? One, video games are similar to that whichis considered fine art such as paintings like the Mona Lisa or culturalstructures like the Thinker because of the in-depth intent and meanings theplayer experiences and the exhibitions held in respected art venues.
The art thatis exhibited in museums and art venues and many Universities have archives,studies, and even made documentaries about them and their artists.Surprisingly, in the recent years, dozens of video game exhibits have been heldin thoroughly respectable venues and museums such as the Smithsonian and MoMA(Moriarty, 2015). G1 Universities even carry archives ofthe games and hardware, as well as carry out video game studies and madedocumentaries out of these studies. However, is video game really an art? Manyexperts in the recent years consider these games as an art form that collidesart and science together, and its own technology expanding the canvas for anartist to paint and tell their stories.
It is believed to be the art form thatonly exists in digital space and the only form of media that allows forpersonalization of the artistic experience while retaining the authority of theartist. To clarify, video games allow each player a different experience theartists convey in art or graphics of the game. They even include traditionalforms of artistic expression in a new style, such as sculpture in 3D modeling,illustration in 2D modeling, or pointillism in pixelsprites (Melissinos, 2015). However,that is just the visual art aspect of video games.
G2 G3 G4 Two, video games are an example ofartistic literature because they contain elements of a plot and interactivestorytelling. In the few decades of video games development, most games havebeen developed with interactive storytelling. By definition, interactivestorytelling is “a form of the digital environment in which users createor influence a dramatic storyline through actions” (Ferk, n.d.). Inliterature, the author has absolute control over the story, whereas in videogames the creator of the story gives some control to the player, therefore,making the player experience the story told.
For instance, in literature, theauthor presents the protagonist to his or her readers. The G5 G6 G7 protagonist’sactions are fixed by the author, therefore the readers just watch on thesidelines as if the two were different peG8 ople.Now games, on the other hand, allows the player to experience the protagonist’sjourney as if they were the same person.
A perfect example of this experienceis role-playing games or RPGs, where the PC or player’s character, whoseactions and decisions are controlled by the user, does not see the story butactually participates in it. What are supporting characters in literature arethe same as NPCs or non-player characters in video games, they are notcontrolled by the user but by an AI or artificial intelligence created by thesame creator of the story. Nevertheless, do video games follow the same plotdevices aG9 G10 G11 s in literature? As a matter of fact,they do. Every video game story follows a strict rule of having a beginning,body, climax, and ending and archetype. By definition, an archetype G12 is an idea, symbol, pattern, orcharacter-type, in a story and it’s any story element that appears again andagain in stories from cultures around the world and symbolizes somethinguniversal in the human experience (2017, Archetype: Definitions and Examples). In the caseof the Sonic the Hedgehog games;Sonic is the hero G13 archetype, Shadow is the anti-heroarchetype, Tails aka Miles Prowler is the sidekick archetype, and Dr.
Eggman isarch nemesis archetype. As mentioned, video games are both art and literature.There is, however, one last artistic aspect of video games to mention.G14 G15 G16 G17 G18 Lastly, video games are like theatreproductions where the player becomes the star actor or actress and director bythe experienceof playing as the main characterG19 in a fictional world or story. Videogames are similar to an interactive theatre or “a presentational ortheatrical form or work that breaks the “fourth wall” thattraditionally separates the performer from the audience both physically andverballyG20 .” (2012, Pawar). Nevertheless, invideo games, the interactivity is the participation of the playerG21 as the main character of the story. According toDaniel and Sidney Homan, during the age of ” video game narrative”games, where plot, narrative, and dialogue started become important to videogame development, enhancing the player’s role as an actor and giving them therole of playwright devising the script and determining the direction of theplot (2014, pg.
7) G22 G23 G24 Now in the recent years, the narrative invideo games has become all-important since most contain multiple story paths,thousands of lines of alternate dialogue, and adding a voice to theircharacters. In both theater and games,the audience has the ability to change the meaning and even the script usedG25 G26 G27 . In summary, video games are acombination of these three considered art mediums; however, there are artcritics who believe otherwise. G28 G29 G30 Many famous art critics believe that videogames can never be art due to there being no individual ownership for the”artist” to make it theirs. Robert Ebert (2010), a film critic, once wrote:”G31 No one in or out of the field hasever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets,filmmakers, novelists, and poets.G32 “(para. 21). Ebert argues the onedifference between art and games is that you can win a game.
To clarify, avideo game has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome; therefore, even ifone can cite a game with no rules or points, it ceases to be a game and becomesa representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. A story, novel,play, or film are a thing that cannot be won, only experienced (2010, para.11). G33 He also argues the interactivity of agame meant that the creator was unable to claim an authorial vision (Stuart,2012). To clarify, Ebert states “No one ‘owns’ the game” (Stuart, 2012, para.
4).In this case, there is no artist, therefore no work of art. However, these are the same counter-argumentsused again and again. A rebuttal to Ebert’s argument may be thatgames are an expressive medium and a form of communication because of theirinteractivity and rules. According to Chris Melissinos, while playing games,gamers can be inspired to feel guilt or joy or moral ambiguity and betransformed instead of just distracted (Tucker, 2012). Melissinos, comparinggames and books, states that in books, everything is laid before the audienceso there is nothing to discover; nevertheless, games allow the ownership of theauthor to remain true while allowing the observer to explore and experiment theworld given. Keith Stuart states that the critics like Ebert feel threatened byvideo games being art; therefore, they attempt to barricade themselves againstthe flood of the new, to fence in what they understand and can safely ascribemeaning to (Stuart, 2012). In Ebert’s argument “No one in or out of thefield has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the greatpoets, filmmakers, novelists, and poets.
“G34 (2010, para.21); however, two thingshave happened in this decade that weakens this argument. First, the rise of theindependent games because of the “Indies” producing thousands of edgy, curiousand deeply personal games those are similar to art (Moriarty 2015). Second, thenew experiences which fuse the technology of games and cinema into dynamichybrids that are neither games nor cinema (Moriarty, 2015). In the argument of video games having rulesand can be won not experienced, Melissinos (2015) rebukes “In video games, wefind three distinct voices: the creator, the game, and the player. Those whoplay a game are following the story of the author and are bound by theconstructs of the rules—but G35 based on the choices they make; theexperience can be completely personal. If you can observe the work of anotherand find in it personal connection, then art has been achieved.” (para.
3). Gamedevelopers make games about serious issues and historic events, portrayingtheir own or others’ struggles with life, or based off of folklore and legends.In June of 2012, the Supreme Court ruled video games should be considered anart form, as deserving of the United States First Amendment safeguards as “theprotected books, plays, and movies that preceded them.G36 “(Tucker, 2012, para.
1).To clarify, some games are based on other artmediums such as film and literature.G37 Games can be either based loosely on these mediums creating a differentinterpretation or can be exactly derived from the medium.
Sometimes, a popular novel becomes a base forG38 G39 a film creating two sources gamedevelopers can merge or use separately no matter the profound difference. Thegames may even become better than the mediums their based off of because thegame sometimes achieve what the author or movie director is trying to do. Forinstance, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor isbased on the Lord of the Rings novelsand The Hobbit films.
However, the absurdly long LOTR and Hobbitfilms built drama into their absurdly long battle sequences, wherein theaudience needed to see named characters in peril and reappearing super-threatsis something Mordor does not use (Meer, 2015). According to Alec Meer (2015),Mordor structure in the battle scenes are more vivid and breathlessly inspiringdue to the hero becoming stronger in a more realistic slow pace. To clarify,Mordor had achieved the battle scenes and experiences the movies and novelstried to portray since a novel and movie have a limited time for the maincharacters progression (Meer, 2015). Even so, literature-based games aredeveloped and are moreG40 popular than movie based gamesbecause literature based games has less limitations on the story or script.
Literature games can also be a retelling of a story in a different light. Forexample, American McGee’s Alicereleased in 2000 by Electronic Arts, a dark retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story starting withAlice in a catatonic state due to the death of her family (American McGee’sAlice (Video Game), n.d.).
In this state, she is transported to a twistedWonderland, using a variety of deadly toys to kill the Queen’s minions, many ofwhich are her former friends and companions trying to destroy her and solving anumber of puzzles along the way to destroy the Queen of Hearts and returnWonderland to its former self, thus healing her mind as well. Her guide andprimary ally is a twisted, emaciated Cheshire Cat, who can be summoned by theplayer for hints on how to go or just the occasional cryptic quote (AmericanMcGee’s Alice (Video Game), n.d.
). As noted, the game is twisted and morbidjourney into the mind based off of Alicein Wonderland. Some video games are inspired by literature and tell anentirely different story in the case of Assassin’sCreed. Surprisingly, Creed was heavily inspired by a 1930 novel titled Alamut. According to David Roberts(2016), the author’s, Vladimir Bartol, novel Alamut centers on a man named Hassan-i Sabbah, who is a Persianmissionary and converted a small community back in the 11th century. Sabbahformed the Hashshashin to further their order. The motto of the Hashshashin”Nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted.
” (Roberts, 2016,para.1). Creed follows the Hashshashin motto in a different way because Alamut doesn’treally touch on the whole “ancient high-tech civilization controlshumanity’s actions through a series of magical artifacts to prevent a massivecataclysm in 2012″ plot Assassin’sCreed contains. Lastly, these games allow exploration of the world createdin the book as portrayed in The Witcher.Witcher is actually based off of a Polish series of dark fantasy short storiesand novels under the same title. For the game, the developers use the lovely”amnesia” trick on the Polish novel series’ main protagonist, Geralt of Rivia(Roberts, 2016).
In the game, Geralt lost much of his memory of his timeadventuring, leaving you to learn about the world and its inhabitants as youprogress. The Witcher series arefamous for wading in the books’ own morally gray ethics – only this time, theplayer’s choices actually affect the world more than if one would simply turn apage (Roberts, 2016). Many iconic video game franchises even sources for othermediums, mostly for film and books; for instance, a grand example would be thefamous Resident Evil series. Sixmovies, a book series, and comic series under the same title were loosely basedoff it (JTRW, 2014). All those mentionedare examples of how video games is becoming a new herald to books, films, andplays that precede art.
G41 G42 G43 As mentioned, eventhough video games still receive negative stereotypical views to this day, itis rapidly becoming an art form in the art culture. Whether some art criticsdisagree and maintain the same “video games can never be art”argument, there is no denying a cultural change on what is believed to be artand on video games themselves. Video games are an example of fine art likesculptures and paintings the in-depth intent and meanings the player experiences and the same use of artistic techniqueswith new methods. They are appearing in art shows and exhibited in respectedvenues such as MoMA.
Video games are interactive stories that allow the playerto personally experience the plot and explore the fictional world they are in.They are similar to the interactive theatre productions enhancing the player’srole of the actor, in addition to the roles of director and playwright. Videogames are derived from the older art mediums, such as literature and film, andsome of these older mediums are based on video games. In short, video games arereally becoming a part of art culture whether everyone wants it or not.G44