This War of Mine

Games as Art: A Creative Outlet

I’m one of those people that believes video games are a valid art form.  They are a blend of visual storytelling that interacts with the viewer (player) in a way no other medium can match.  While not all games are pieces of amazing artwork and not all games are that perfect blend of story, interaction and visual effect, a lot of games are.

Sure playing “Call of Duty”, or “Battlefield” is not the same as painting a picture or reading a book, but there are pliantly of games that I would class as art.  I’ve made this argument on my (now defunct) previous blog.  A piece where I talked about how games like “SOMA”, “Mass Effect”, “Spec Ops: the line” and “This War of Mine” were perfect examples of the medium as an art form.  The argument has been made before by people much more intelligent than me and people much better versed in this kind of discussion, so I won’t go too far into it.

It’s just something that came to me while I was in the shower.  I was fretting about how I haven’t been writing or working on my novels in a while.  I was worrying about how I’ve given up on a dream.  I started getting stressed, trying to think of a way I could balance things to bring fiction writing back into my life.  That was when I realized that it never left.  I just found a new medium to tell stories.  A new creative outlet to produce art.

One of the big reasons I am drowning myself in work, fighting my brain as I struggle to become a developer, is to make games.  I’ve talked about it before, and I really believe that video games are a valid creative outlet for a developer (which is obvious) but also for the player.

That’s where games are unique, the player (reader, viewer) is not a passive observer.  They participate in the story, they write the story as much as the developer does.  From a development side it’s a creative challenge to tell a story in a way that allows for a balance of interaction and guidance.  When done right it works perfectly and leaves a lasting impact on the player in a way that a book or movie never would.

With summer vacation coming up for a lot of younger people there will be the arguments around staying in to play video games vs doing ‘productive’ things.  Now I wouldn’t be one to say that someone should spend ten hours a day playing videogames, that’s just as bad as spending ten hours a day reading or doing any one activity.  You need variety and getting outside in the summer is one of the best things about this time of year.  But a day or two spent playing video games is not necessarily a wasted day.

There is a stigma around this though.  People will brag and joke about spending a weekend watching Netflix, but spending a weekend playing video games is somehow worse.  This is shifting, the attitude around games is becoming more open, but there is still a stigma there.  People should remember that engaging in a great game is no less valid than engaging in a great television show.  Just a little rant to remind myself that my new creative outlet is no less valid than my old one.

Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts on this topic please feel free to share them in the comments.

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