It’s an argument I, and a considerable number of other gamers, have repeated ad nauseam for some time: gaming is an art from. So, this is addressed to those amongst you who have listened to what I’ve had to say, and then maybe had a brief go with some video games for yourself. Now, what I propose is that video games are a more evolved, advanced art form than any other, capable of heightened and more powerful means of expression as an amalgamation of the wonderful forms of media we hold dear. Or, I just want to further justify how I spend a great deal of my time and make myself feel better.
But, regardless of how insecure you feel I am, video games, at the very least, combine forms of media we as a society culturally accept as art. Literature, music, TV and film can all find a home in your trusty branch of GAME. And, believe it or not, some game developers work out a way of combining these medias in a way that can create some of the most spellbinding experiences I’ve ever had.
So, I’ll start with literature. Many games use text logs and collectible diaries to flesh out the reality and detail of the world you’re inhabiting. Instead of shoving all this information down your throat, many games will give you the key information, then hide the rest away for those who want to truly explore their new world. Some diaries, fact files and extra information can be effectively implemented in a game; for instance, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a deep array of diaries and background information on characters and beasties that are well-written and increase the immersion of the game’s world.
As any film director or music buff will happily inform you, music can make or break an artistic work. An artwork’s score can be deployed to impose a particular atmosphere or emotion, and indicate action sequences or poignant moments. This also counts for video games, and as the traditionally-minded Classic FM will tell you in their prestigious Hall of Fame, some of the finest musical tones you can get can be found in games. 12 video game tracks made the top 300 and all form a massive part of the games they find themselves in. Nobuo Uematsu plunges us into the action-packed worlds of Final Fantasy in the same way that Gustavo Santalallo sketches out a haunting post-apocalyptic America, through music.
Next, I’m on to film and TV, where elements of each find their way into (you guessed it) video games. Games like Uncharted in particular play very much like an action film. When such games are achieving near-photorealism and attracting the acting nouse of esteemed actors like Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance and Kiefer Sutherland, you might have to rub your eyes and remember this might be a game rather than a film you might be watching. The majority of triple A games have had filmic cutscenes for some time, that also can form a key part of narrative exposition.
However, gaming isn’t just a collage of art forms, it also has plenty to add. Choice, both in character customisation and tough moral questions and the ability to fully embody yourself in a character and new world, come top of my list.
Let’s embrace what games can do as a naturally more advanced and evolved artistic platform. The more we accept gaming as a viable form of art and entertainment, the more skilled the actors, designers and artists will be attracted to the medium. And then, together, we can create and enjoy some of the most powerful artistic moments we will ever experience. Now don’t I feel justified.