Videogames have a relatively short but rather exciting history, with the industry skyrocketing from a fledgling business that was treated like a fad that wouldn’t last, to one of the biggest industries in the world today. No longer just for people who are really into videogames, they’ve found a way to get even old folks and casuals to play videogames. But all this has just been the beginning.
Videogames have been moving from a way to keep kids and some adults entertained with either fast cars or mindless violence, to an entertainment and artistic medium to rival cinema and the fine arts. A lot of people are skeptical however about videogames breaking ground as art, however. Here are some of the ways that videogames are breaking new ground as the new frontier for art:
Mixed Discipline Art
While some people will argue that movies already broke the ground on combining sound, visuals and story, videogames do so on a level that moviegoers can never experience. For this, let’s take a look at the insanely popular online game, World of Warcraft.
Blizzard Entertainment, a California based videogame developer decided to turn one of their long-running game franchises into an online RPG. In the 14 years (yup, you read that right. Fourteen.) that World of Warcraft has been eating people’s time, it’s taken the different arts involved to a level that a movie can only wish to achieve.
Visually, each area of the entire game world has a distinct visual feel. And unlike a movie that only flashes scenes on the screen, players can explore each of these areas. This means that rather about worrying about what something looks like on screen, the artists had to design entire cities, castles, and continents to match a visual theme. Oh, the armor you get in each area is designed to fit the theme as well!
In terms of sound each area of the world has a distinct soundtrack that most players can identify immediately. In addition, there are the songs and music themes linked to specific events in World of Warcraft’s 14-year history.
The storytelling aspect has not been sacrificed in favor of these other elements either. In the fourteen years, Blizzard has been able to tell an amazing story in several chapters, with enough action, drama, and plot to rival some of the greatest stories ever told. But more so, they’ve added smaller stories that aren’t essential to the main plot but just as significant in their own way in ways books and movies can’t.
While there is art that claims to be interactive, such as performance art or the ability to admire the texture of sculptures and installations, videogames have the player help create art of their own. There are games out there that have the players using their own drawings or voices to complete puzzles, defeat enemies, or simply help them get from one point to the next.
Why is this so different? Performance art sometimes allows the audience to interact, and sculpture lets the audience appreciate texture and form with their own hands, but only videogames let the audience become part of the creative process, making the audience both artists and part of the art themselves; a feat that virtually no other art form does.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Is there a videogame that really made you feel like you were in a work of art? We’d love to hear from you!