If you don’t know me well, you probably wouldn’t know I like video gaming a lot. But over the last few years, especially during the lockdown, I have grown to really appreciate the medium and see it for what it is: as art. Long gone are the days of ignorant parents ranting about how playing a few rounds of Call of Duty or GTA will turn you into a mass murderer, video games have now blossomed into their own in recent years, and have made the world of entertainment exponentially better for it ever since. Yes, video games are a newer invention than film or even classical visual arts, for example, I am a staunch believer of the idea that they hold just as much entertainment and educational value as the works of Michelangelo or Shakespeare in today’s world.
Now before I am accused of grand heresy, let me explain myself. I’ve been playing two games specifically that have stirred these thoughts in my head as I played them, and although they couldn’t be more different, they illustrate well what I mean to say. These two are Hollow Knight and the fresh-out-the-oven Halo Infinite Multiplayer. Hollow Knight is a game in which you inhabit a dark, dangerous and mysterious world. Your task is to effectively discover the game world’s secrets and mysteries, while also exploring and fighting through everything the game has in store for the player. One can tell from the first five minutes that the game is a special one. The tone and music set a deep and intimidating air of mystery that simply encourages you to push further and to discover what happened. This is made even more intriguing with the fact that the full story is never given to you on a silver platter as you have to fight for every piece of the puzzle, and then it is up to you, if you find them all, to put the pieces together. In addition, the art style in itself is simply gorgeous and crafted by a small indie team to boot. This game oozes passion, care and love from every dark corner of its devastated world and is a prime example of how and why video games shouldn’t be scoffed at as lesser entertainment ever again.
A second yet wildly different example of art in gaming is Halo Infinite, the former is a newly established IP that stands high on its own, the latter is an example of a franchise with two decades of history attempting to return to its former glory, and I argue it does so spectacularly. As this article focuses on the multiplayer aspect, gameplay and fluidity take the spotlight over story or tone, and I find these aspects executed beautifully. The moment-to-moment gunplay is exceptional and brings the franchise back to its days of yore. The maps are exceptional, most varied and boast excellent design and I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun in a multiplayer game. Another example of an artistic masterpiece, yet implementing differing aspects from an average single-player game.
I do not have time or space to explain what other benefits games can bring beyond pure artistic entertainment, such as the breakthroughs inaccessibility and technological innovation, but one reason that video games have caught on so virally is that for many, they bring as much joy and entertainment value as older mediums, if not more in some cases. I would like a broader community to truly understand what video games mean, to finally banish these outdated notions and stereotypes parroted by the mainstream media once and for all, and to place them on the same pedestals that are reserved for movies, or photography. The one advantage that video games have above all other art forms is their complete interact-ability, to let users do what they want, however they want, to essentially make their own enjoyment. It is an incredible medium that has infinite potential and room to grow, and that can only happen with a massive paradigm shift that will eventually happen, and I cannot wait for the day when it does.
Until then, game on friends.