Are Games Art?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

As some of you may be aware, An art gallery is going to have a video games section installed in 2012. Thus, hopefully ending the debate as to whether video games are art or not…

I have always believed that video games should be seen as art, and have had several discussions on the subject. so i present, in no particular order, ten games i believe to be the best artistically.

Number 10:

Not so much game play, but certainly a very unique experiment, there are several modes and no clear goal. the idea is to manipulate the plankton on the screen to create new sounds and visuals. it is classified as an interactive music video game. The game was developed by an artist and never really intended to be looked at as a game in the traditional sense.

Number 9:Eternal Sonata
Never have i seen a game as beautiful as this, and i doubt i will for many years to come. simply stunning to watch, very colorful and every inch of the game world is intricately detailed, right down to small details on characters clothes. Maybe not the most technically advanced graphics, the models are quite low poly and some of the textures are basic. But thats not what makes this game look so good, its the artistic direction that really impresses. It’s simply stunning and any part of the game could be put on canvas and sold as art. 

Number 8:
Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi’s Island was the first time ( i believe) that Nintendo decided to experiment with a new graphical style, earlier games by them, and other creators for the nes and the snes, used basic sprites that were on par with what the console could handle, and looked quite nice. but after RARE decided to take a different approach when producing Donkey Kong Country and decided to use 3D models, to use pre rendered characters and environments to create a 3D look. Apparently, originaly the game was to take a simmilar look to donkey kong country, but Shigeru Miyamoto was displeased with the result of the finished DKC game that they decided to change the plan and went on to make Yoshi’s Island in a completely different style. Nintendo went and changed the look of the next super mario game and decided to make it seem like the game had been drawn with crayons and paint. and the result was a fantastic looking game, with a really hand drawn feel to it.

Number 7:
Final Fantasy 4 heroes of light.

The DS is not known for its ability to produce good looking 3D graphics, usually they are blocky and look quite bad. Square decided to take the opposite approach with FF4 heroes of light, and instead of try to attempt realistic 3D visuals, they would design the game using visuals that represent a pop up book or a water painting. The result is an excellent looking game that looks smooth and has a nice style to it which hasn’t been attempted very often in the past.

Number 6:

this game just had to be included on the list, its stunning, even though i haven’t finished it (i know, i will have to get round to it soon!) its a brilliant game, much like zelda in some ways. the graphics are inspired by traditional japanese artwork which means plenty of stylish areas and graphics at are truly drool worthy… to add to the artistic nature of the game, you are given a paintbrush, named the celestial brush, which you use to solve puzzles by actually painting on the screen.

Number 5:
Megaman 8Bit Series..

If theres one game i use to define what 8Bit games should look like i always think of the Megaman series, Clean graphics, great use of colour and even with the limitations of the hardware all the games have very unique levels that look and sound brilliant.

Number 4:
Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Nintendo once again experimenting with new graphic styles, much like they did with Yoshi’s Island. This time they decided to make the entire game work out of cloth and other materials, and to fantasic result. the game is very nice to look and and almost looks like a photo, as if the level has actually been crated by hand and laid out for a photo. it’s certainly one of the most unique looking games i have played.

Number 3:
The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker

When it was announced there were cries that nintendo had lost it, making Zelda look like a cartoon!?! What were they thinking… at first the reaction was bad to say the least. but once the initial shock had worn off and it had been released, once people had a chance to play it, the reaction suddenly changed, people were then saying how amazing it looked. the game used a style called cell shading, previously used on games such as Jet Set Radio. it made the game look just like a cartoon, and allowed for many great looking locations and gave link much more of a personality, now with the new graphics and improved power of the gamecube it was possible to give link facial expressions. the whole game looks incredible and is still the best looking Zelda game, many years later. a timeless classic.

Number 2:REZ
Looks more like a visualizer you might expect to see on a media player, the game REZ used wire frame graphics for the most part, and creates a very absorbing game world, complete with a trance soundtrack and psychedelic levels, even the player character pulsates in time with the beat. there is a sequel coming soon to the xbox 360 called Child of Eden, which looks even more impressive.

Number 1:Shadow of the Colossus
Just the sheer scale of the enemies of this game makes it a pleasure to look at, its an incredible experience just looking at the bosses, even more incredible, climbing up the boss and finding out a way of defeating it, all the while being thrown around miles above the ground, holding onto the colossus’s hand is it tries to throw you off. it really is a sight to behold. and one of the most impressive looking games to date. it will look even more impressive with a HD version soon to be released on the PS3.

I hope you’ve enjoyed having a quick look at some of these artistic games. if you agree of disagree or think there are other games that you believe should be on here, please, leave a comment, i would like to know some other peoples opinions on this.

Thanks very much for reading, Nicktendowii

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