Friday, 14 February 2014

Should Video Games be Considered Modern Art?

I've played video games for the majority of my life, and for periods, been very engaged with the gaming 'sphere'. Gamers tend to get viewed in a bad light, with outsiders considering them as nerdy and geeky and a bid sad, this is, in some cases very true, but a lot of gamers are normal people, just like musicians, or people who like to watch movies. I'm going to put forward a gamers point of view that video games, are a form of art that is unappreciated by the majority of society.

 I shall consider art simply as creative expression that evokes emotion, my own personal definition that I believe is versatile, and allows for a large scope of mediums of art.

The challenge, and interaction of games can keep you engaged for hours and hours. However what many people enjoy in games is the brilliant stories that go with them. Many video games stories emotionally engage the player in a similar way to great literature. For instance, I personally find the Mass Effect series achieve this very successfully. Playing as Commander Shepard of the Normandy Ship, the game involves many high-tempo missions, and a diverse galactic community that Shepard must save from terror and destruction. You play a role in Shepard's and his team's personal life, as well as galactic politics. Furthermore, Mass Effect (and other games) achieve something unique to video games. They give you the ability to make your own decisions with their own consequences, meaning each playthrough is unique to you. This takes emotional engagement to a different level, tailored just for a single specific player. The game also allows you to form relationships with other character, giving the player a substantial insight into their lives and their problems, you must help them with their personal troubles in order to gain their loyalty, which shows you their lives outside the main story. This causes the player to feel sympathy for these other characters.

Commander Shepard and co

 It is true that many games are made in this way, and are purely games made to absorb the player in intense violence, this is all true in film surely? Many Hollywood blockbusters are pumped out with loads of action and no real story or moral. But this does not mean we deny any films being brilliant art.

Video games combine all forms of more traditional art, such as music, literature and visual art. Combining these in harmony, as well as adding the unique interactive twist video games offer can prove very difficult. However when achieved, forms truly modern art, that I would argue is most relevant to our modern, intense, digital society. Whereas people can merely observe paintings, video games offer something exciting and astonishing; player can interact and play a role in the outcome of the game, and deal with the consequences, as well as appreciating many other traditional factors such as music or acting. Video games are made both by the artist, and observer.

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