Nolan Scoretz, photo editor
Art. What does the word make you think of? When people think of art, they might think of historic artists, famous paintings and sculptures. They might think of legendary musicians and the pieces they’ve composed, or poets like Edgar Allen Poe. Art can be found in many different avenues and through many different mediums. Video games are one of those mediums.
A common belief is that video games are solely meant for relaxation and entertainment. However, they’re also a way to spend time with others in person or virtually in a multitude of ways. Some competitive games have a formula that lets players essentially play the same game repeatedly – think “Overwatch” or “Call of Duty.” These games are built to make you lose your sense of time. While these games are fun and therefore popular, developers tend to stick to the same formula that they know fans enjoy. Other games that try to do things differently fall under the radar.
In 2019, Kojima Productions released “Death Stranding.” This game took a completely different route from what other developers had been doing at the time. “Death Stranding” puts you in the shoes of Sam Porter Bridges, man in a post-apocalyptic version of America. This apocalypse is different from most depicted in pop culture because instead of zombies or nuclear fallout, supernatural events caused the worlds of the dead and the living to connect. Bridges’ mission is to reconnect the pieces of the country through a “chiral network,” but the way he does this is through walking and delivering cargo (which is about 90% of the gameplay).
Kojima credited characters that you begin to care about and feel as though you know them in real life. It is a movie, and as the audience, you are able to make decisions within it. “Death Stranding” received a lot of backlash from the community due to its unnatural and boring gameplay, but they missed the point. Hideo Kojima wasn’t trying to make a fun game you can pick up for 45 minutes with the fellas–he was trying to tell a story.
There are countless other examples of games that can be considered works of art. Developers specifically focus on the visual aspects of their games to immerse the player into the world.
Nintendo’s “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is another incredible example. The platform it was released on, the Nintendo Switch, is a notoriously underpowered console; with only 4GB of RAM and Full HD resolution, it’s difficult for developers to make a noticeably beautiful game. Breath of the Wild completely defied the odds. Instead of taking the popular “hyper-realism” approach, Nintendo used a distinct art style that was able to drop the jaws of players and critics despite running on a weak console. They combined these amazing visuals with combat mechanics and a great story within the Legend of Zelda lore to create a game that fans loved.
When a game developer goes past the status quo of creating a quick cash-grab, beautiful things begin to happen. Legendary stories are written, characters that we love, and hate, are created and gorgeous worlds we couldn’t have imagined are constructed. These are undeniably pieces of art.