“Video games are a celebration of many mediums of entertainment.”
It’s an easy title to be sure, at face value no one would ever really disregard the statement as nonsense these days, and most would casually acknowledge its monetary value in today’s competitive gaming scene. Yet with that simple acknowledgment concerning games, it becomes too easy to stop there and decide that, “I think I get it, it’s just not for me.” I would argue that a solid video game employs a consistent level of quality on multiple fronts concerning the service of the more conventional term art that uniquely allows a convergence of many art and hobbyist groups or enthusiasts to unify and find commonalities in the already broad but massively appealing space.
It really comes down to what interests you as a media consumer. Do you like the most beautiful graphics so that you can feel totally immersed in the presented world? Any number of open-world RPGs will suffice. What about a riveting story, written to near perfection in all its twists and turns? Story-driven titles are becoming more and more possible with animation technology allowing more precise physical acting from the actors. Even still, audiophiles can come to appreciate the mix and production of a game, be it through the game’s score, soundtrack or eve individual soundbites for various interactable items in-game. Spending a bit of time on YouTube will lend a great deal of insight into the art of making sound effects in games. Even still, the art style within the game could be your draw. There is in fact the requirement of bringing all these disparate parts into one cohesive experience with a level of consistency that must endure through the entirety of the user’s experience.
I often enjoy loot systems in open-world games that offer up a constant collection of unique gear more enticing than the last. Surrounding myself in fantasy worlds with exciting armor sets and weapon kits and having hundreds of miscellaneous quests is peak gaming bliss for me, and that’s the beauty of it. There is a wealth of developers equipped with diverse skill sets that appeal to specific sects within the community. Even still, should you choose to go deeper, there is a wealth of games whose production yielded stellar visuals, unique gameplay, medium-defining storytelling, etc..
With demographics shifting in the gaming space as well, considering games as an exhaustive exercise in art is more valid than ever. Many of those who were raised playing games now work in the industry, likewise old and new gamers are kept in the loop, enticed by massive swaths of diverse genres of titles highlighting any number of artistic expressions in-game. The industry is still growing, and whatever form that takes will only involve more developer recognition as games reach new heights of story-telling and push the envelope for what a AAA game can look like.
Yes of course games are art, however, I think a more comprehensive descriptor would be that it acts as a hub the likes of which no other medium must sustain for any varying number of hours. Numerous studios must coordinate to ensure the themes, art style and energy translate into the final product without feeling disjointed, which is genuinely hard to do.
Featured Illustration: Ali Jones