Art in Video Games

Hey everyone! We made a lot of progress today while working on the story for our game. We decided to base the outlaw’s story line loosely around Billy The Kid’s life, though because it is fiction, some things will be changed. It’s very interesting that his life already lends itself to a story with narrow escapes, shootouts and mystery, a point of no return, and finally, a swift conclusion. We have a general idea of what role we’d like our other two characters to take too, but we’re brainstorming more and we’ll cement that tomorrow.

The class discussion today about art and video games has stayed on my mind all day. There are a lot of games, especially indie games, that really push the barrier for me. We discussed Firewatch a bit today, and how many people claim that it isn’t really a video game, but instead a walking simulator. If that’s the case, couldn’t it be seen as a piece of art?

As a game, it’s absolutely beautiful. Like many art pieces, it evokes feelings beyond the sense of awe at something beautiful. The player feels this heavy guilt because it quickly becomes apparent that the main character, Henry, is running from things back home. He decided to take this job because his wife had developed early-onset advanced Alzheimer’s disease. As the story progresses, Henry seems to be flirting and falling in love with his supervisor, Delilah. While some people may enjoy that aspect of the game, all I could think about was how his wife must feel, and how awful it was that Henry ran away.

If a book can be art, why does this not count to some people? Art is created to evoke emotions in the person who experiences it, and why does the press of a few buttons change that? With all the effort that goes into the digital design of the environment in a game like this alongside the development of the story, where is the difference?