Video games as art — my top 4 picks
Video games have always been a source of contention in households and in the public eye since they first started becoming popular. But buried beneath the images and stereotypes of mindless entertainment are stories that rival the best that Hollywood has to offer. Video games as art is a debate that has continued to echo throughout the entertainment sphere, especially now as Hollywood turns to video games for story ideas.
The same amount of artistic work that goes into film goes into making games. You have teams of writers developing a story, a physical or voice cast delivering their best performances and characters, and often times a truly amazing symphonic score. There are plenty of publicized games that have been praised for their artistic content, like Heavy Rain or Journey. However, I wanted to take some time to speak on games that made an artistic impression on me and deserve a second look by any Hollywood executives that may be reading this week. Or you know, anyone who’s looking to play a top notch game. 1. The Last of Us Probably the most well known of the games on my list, this game across the board was hailed as a masterpiece of storytelling. Absolutely incredible performances, a haunting score from Academy Awardwinning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, beautiful visuals, and most importantly, a brutal and incredibly moving story of companionship, survival and love in a postapocalyptic world. It’s gone down in history for a reason, and the power of this game must be experienced firsthand. 2. Ace Combat 4 It’s an unlikely thing to find a moving and poignant story inside a game about piloting a fighter jet, but that’s exactly what you have here. Beyond the thrilling gameplay and white knuckle dialogue that sets you squarely in tense combat situations, the story is brilliantly told through a series of voiceovers and hand drawn still images in a Japanese style. It’s a harrowing tale of war from a child caught in the middle of the conflict as an innocent bystander, and reconciling the nature of war itself.
3. Battlefield: Bad Company
Fans of movies like “Three Kings” take notice of this game in the Battlefield franchise. This game is better than any war comedy I’ve ever seen, with characters that are so well developed and flushed out that you can’t help but fall in love with their antics. Much like “Three Kings,” the story deals with bumbling soldier misfits trying to get their hands on a lost stash of gold in the middle of a war zone. Comedy is certainly a form of art, and the comedy to be found in this game has me in stitches every time. Not to mention the game was revolutionary for adding a new level of destruction to digital environments. Did I mention the incredible score by Mikael Karlsson also? 4. P.T. No artistic endeavor would be complete without horror. Horror, both in film and in games, is one of the hardest genres to truly nail, but this tiny game, developed by famed developer Hideo Kojima and famed director Guillermo Del Toro, had me on edge in total daylight. It’s a masterclass in confusion and dreamlike horror. You constantly ask yourself what’s real and what’s not, and that suspense and nerve fraying terror only appears in games very rarely. It’s an artistic accomplishment in itself, and I won’t say too much more about this game, only that it’s extremely hard to find now but if you can, it’s absolutely worth playing, especially for any horror fan.
Motion.Picture.Soundtrack is a weekly column by Whig Accent editor Kris Kielich discussing all things worth knowing in the world of music, movies and pop culture. At least in his humble opinion. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Last of Us is an artistic masterpiece of gaming, and a hallmark of the last five years.