The Merit of a Video Game
March 7, 2016
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In the past few decades, video games have been steadily rising in popularity and merit. An industry born in the 60’s through digitalized checkers has developed into CGI-animated characters with complex stories in worlds with innovative design.
Because of this adaption to a new age with new technology and better games, people are starting to wonder if gaming can be considered an art form.
Chris Melissinos, curator of “The Art of Video Games” display at the Smithsonian, is a firm believer in the complexity and beauty of video games. “Video games are truly a collision of art and science,” Melissinos wrote in TIME Magazine.
In his words, video games are a medium in which the consumer can personalize the artistic experience while staying within the constructs of the creator. It is a timeless experience unlike any other.
According to sophomores Julia Cuthbert and Milena Tomas, video games are an art form and foretell the future of storytelling.“They’re creative works, no matter what.” Tomas said. “It’s an experience.”
Cuthbert’s favorite aspect of a good game is the story. Games like Undertale and Until Dawn, more story based than gameplay, rely on the player to lead the story. “You can decide to go here or there– change the characters and get a different ending every time… There’s so many paths you can take.”
Games like these are evidence that thought and time goes into every level, character and battle, just like a novel or movie. Many games pride themselves on their complexity, which is an expectation in today’s modern world of gaming.
Tomas and Cuthbert also think that games have a unique way of making the player feel things. It gives them a sense of weight concerning what happens to characters in a fictional world. According to Cuthbert, “Cooking Mama doesn’t have a plot but it makes you feel. When Mama tells you you done messed up, you feel it.”
Both Tomas and Cuthbert have taken an interest in making their own games. Cuthbert plans to create a choose-your-own-adventure fantasy game about dragons and Tomas is researching creating platformers, RPGs and pixel-shooters, which involves writing pages of code.
Typing up code proved to be especially difficult to Tomas. “I can map things out in my head pretty well, but coding’s a whole special language that you have to learn to translate.”
Game development requires a lot of research: hitting the books along with dozens of video tutorials and how-to pages.”You can’t really go into it blind.” Tomas said. “I’ve researched a ton and I’m still a complete novice.”
Alan Roireau, chief development officer at the local Castle Hill Gaming, has been developing games for over 20 years. Castle Hill Gaming makes gambling games for Vegas and North American casinos.
Roireau said the average game takes approximately six months to build from start to finish, which involves doing the math behind a game, finding graphics and music that fit with the theme and testing the finished product repeatedly to ensure it, “meets what [CHG] thought [they] were making.”
According to Roireau, a lot of planning goes into the games made at CHG. “The math is a roadmap in outcomes for players. How much will they win and how often. So will it pay out often but not much money, or will it pay out rarely but when it does, it is a whopping amount.”
Roireau also thinks that videogames could definitely be considered art, considering the graphics and soundtracks that are put into games.
In conclusion, it seems video games can certainly be considered art, whether it’s the unique voice of storytelling, the graphics and soundtrack that accompanies the story or the emotions that erupt when playing.