Why Gaming Is the Art Form of the Future

Why Gaming Is the Art Form of the Future

After gamers have spent years arguing the merits of their medium being a legitimate artistic outlet; one developer is now loudly speaking out.

I know you may think that this is just going to be a rehash of the same old “…games will never be art” debate. I honestly don’t know of any single phrase uttered by the legendary Roger Ebert that’s had more resonance and staying power than this one (despite his decades in the film review business). However, today we are going to take a much different approach. Instead of trying to tear down that argument from the inside (by harping on how outsiders will never understand what our gaming culture means to us) we’ll instead attempt to overcome this kind of thinking in another way. Simply put, we don’t’ have to defend our industry. Our industry stands on its own feet! This is very much a “Where’s the beef” argument (one the likes of film or literature simply can’t compete).

And you may say I’m a dreamer…I’m not the only one.

Take David Cage of Quantic Dream for example. This guy (who’s been behind such titles as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls ) recently made statements in an interview that takes my sentiments and multiplies them to the 10 th power. Not only does Cage think that gaming as an artistic expression is every bit as palpable as other forms of entrainment, he believes it is the most influential in the HISTORY OF OUR PLANET! No indecisive views here people! Take a look at the full context of what he said when speaking to Play magazine, “By far, video games are the most fascinating medium that mankind has ever created. They have the power to make you think in ways that films and books have not achieved.”

However, as much of a glowing endorsement as this is, Cage later states that gaming simply doesn’t deliver the same narratives as its film counterpart (or at least they don’t resonate as much with audiences). I can agree this is a huge stumbling block in getting game storytelling spoken about with the same reverence as film, there are other valuable traits unique to it. There is no doubt gaming brings certain elements to the table that affords it a level of connectivity with audiences that other genres or formats can’t (or ever will).

Naturally I could go on and on listing the innovations that our artists and engineers have accomplished over the years, but there are a few definitive ways we are essentially untouchable in this debate.

No one can deny that we’ve evolved by leaps and bounds from the days of Pong, Pac-Man or the button mashing Street Fighter series. The story modes of video games today present you with such expansive worlds and branching paths, we’re literally guaranteed weeks (if not months) of play time. While I love sitting through a good flick, I am ALWAYS a passenger on the ride. I have to passively observe the events unfold, and in an hour and half it’s over. Reading a novel is the same difference. In games, YOU are the driving force. In games, YOU are the director (changing the course of events as you go along). Depending on the game, no two experiences are the same.

In addition, our medium has always been rooted in technology. You can easily chart the upswing in the progression of gaming to hardware advancements. As far as movies go, the only new concept they’ve been able to muster in the last 30+ years was a horrible 3D gimmick (whose recent resurgence has all but died out). We are rapidly approaching the capabilities of generating photo-realistic environments with our next-gen consoles; not to mention the level of immersion new concepts like the Oculus Rift will bring us. Our horizons are ever-expanding. Compare that to the same old-same old of films and literature, and I often wonder how some even consider this much of a debate anymore.

Why Gaming Is the Art Form of the Future

I again concede to Cage’s earlier point regarding narratives (and providing them in ways that are more comparable to film). This is certainly an area of improvement we should focus on. However, no one can convince me that video games don’t offer just as many (if not infinitely more) artistic possibilities as the more well-respected, traditional means. Admittedly, gaming may lack a certain level of polish or jenesequa (yes I Googled that) I truly think we can get there over time. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the social implications found on the shelves at GameStop (ones which a ticket stub simply can’t duplicate). No matter if it’s games, films or novels that turn you on, they’re all just branches of the same creative tree.

You could argue that the sky ISN’T the limit for our particular industry. I feel in the end, gaming truly has no limits.

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