Are video or computer games art? There are various critical issues related to this question. Also, most of the answers said by eminent peoples are of different views. Jack Kroll in his Newsweek article ones mentions that all sorts of video games can generate fun. However, it cannot transmit the base of art in any form. Film scholar Henry Jenkins criticized that videos and computer games are included in some sort of art forms or they are made up of including some elements that are is prerequisite for art forms and those are all meant for the digital age. The controversies regarding whether video and computer games are considered to be art go on like this. Some had an opinion that it is an art while others suggest that it is not at all an art. Developers of video games always think that they had created very good art and done splendid work. Like any other medium, art can be considered as what one made or created originally. It can be good or bad. If it is good it is considered an art. If it is bad then it won’t be considered an art. This is the real issue that happens in the case of video and computer games. If the created video games are superb in a way that it meets all perspectives; no one comes for any argument in saying that it is a bad form of art. All will surely admit that it is good art. Everyone admits that the piece of work is art if all elements present in it are created.
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Critical Game Review
The objective of the Essay
The main intention of this essay is to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the different games chosen. The chosen five games are; Max Payne, Halo, splinter cell, Need for Speed racing game (NFS), and Soul Calibur. The paper starts with describing each of the games separately. The description should be made by viewing games from different perspectives. These all “games can be fun and rewarding in many ways.” (Jenkins, 2007, p.19). However, the question relies on whether they can transmit emotional complexity that is the root cause of the art. Apart from these, the comparisons of each of the games have been done on considering the different perceptive of the games and those perceptive are the functionality of the game, gameplay, meaning, and socio-culture included in the game. All these together will prove whether the game is an art or not.
Description of Each Game
The following section of this essay provides a concise explanation regarding five chosen games. It is to make the reader familiar with the games before explaining their similarities and differences within the context of the game as art.
Max Payne: It “is a third-person shooter, a game where the camera takes a perspective from slightly behind the character, allowing the player to control the direction in which the character looks and moves.” (Smuts, 2005). These games mainly include fighting with the opponent with a bullet gun. Here, the character is taking revenge on the enemies who are responsible for the death of the character’s wife and children. The narration between the levels of the games and graphics in-built scenes is the highlight of these games. It also includes many other characters. In short, one can say without having any doubt that Max Payne is a full-action-packed game.
It is one of the most excellent games, which is meant for Microsoft’s X-Box platform. This includes science fiction adventures and also games that take place in the artificial world. Halo games also are extremely incorporated with narration. This brings the introduction while new characters are entering the scene. This provides some sort of pleasure while playing the games. The main intention is to destroy the enemies. Enemies can be destroyed by the use of machine guns. Also, with the help of a sword; one can cut down the enemies. Similarly, with grenades, one can blow up the enemies. In short, this is also a complete action-packed game.
This game has got more popularity for its presentation, styles, and graphics. This game also has narration, which is integrated with the game. The plot is very simple consisting of terrorists coming to attack who needed to be resisted. The player needs to resist the attack. This game mostly includes hiding and waiting by the character from the enemy, which puts most interesting, suspense and thrilling. The game has got a very complex plot and good lighting effects. The developers of the game tried to create an anxious atmosphere.
Need for Speed (NFS)
It is an all-time favorite and popular racing game around the world. In 2009 nearly one million of its copies were sold. This game mainly consists of many racing cars, tracks, and in some cases police. Car customization has also been included in the game. The game is intended to win first place in the race. This is a prerequisite to unlock the new vehicles and tracks. There are different options and modes for this game as a user can choose each of them manually. Different types of modes such as single and multiplayer are also available.
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“Soul Calibur is a 3D fighting game with lots of action and an adventure.” (Konzack, 2002, p.2). Mainly this game consists of characters fighting in the arena with weapons. Each of the characters has got their style. There are different arenas to be chosen and each of those arenas has got different styles. The game provides fantasy and adventures. One can play this game in two modes. That is in single and multi-mode. Many features such as kick attack, defensive guard stance, vertical and horizontal attacks can be used in this game.
All sorts of games described above resemble some form of artistic nature. Then what does art means? “It comes to English by way of Latin (eventually), and it means “arm.” That is, it’s merely something you do (with your arms). “Nice painting, that must be art. Nice poem, that must be art. The nice chair you carved must be art. Nice code you’ve written must be art.” (Deleon, 2010).
Comparison of Each Game
Developers of computer games always think that “what they had created is art.” (Neuman, 2010). This segment of the essay completely deals with the comparison of all the chosen games from different perceptive.
Max Payne is gunplay. Each movement in the play will motivate the player to the next action to be done. It is the first pc game with digitized textures and full graphics. Although all of these features are available, it never looks fearsome. At some parts of the play, it moves in the slow action through which the player can take advantage of the bullets from the opponent. Interactive voice and sounds are other forms of artwork done by the developer for a more realistic look. This game also employs voice-over narration for a better understanding of the play for the gamer. The play is interesting while the play is on. But it never upsets the gamer. The game also follows the flashback of the episodes which also consists of the great amount of work done by the programmer.
The player in this game holds a pistol in his hand. Some of them are Beretta 92, desert eagle handguns, pump-action, and shotguns. The player can get back his lost health by taking painkillers. Max dies after being hit by a few pistol/rifle bullets. The levels of these games provide a challenge to the player. Apart from other games like halo Max Payne is played by almost all people confirming its suspicious nature.
Comparing Max Payne, Halo is a first-person shooting game which is a fiction game enabling the people of the world to reach another planet, which is the keystone of the play. The story of the play is about the survival, of soldiers from the earth on the planet. The opponents in the game are the covenant soldiers that were first sent from earth to this planet. Halo is considered to be the most successful game in the Xbox’s history. Different modes of the player include Cyborg Warrior by the player, vehicle operator by the player, and other flying modes of play. Similar to Max Payne, Halo also requires much time to complete the game (about 20 hrs). The player falling into the game becomes an actor rather than a gamer is viewed in these cases, which is the main cause for its popularity. The games are full of pleasure content from the beginning itself. A few more characters are playing their role in the play. Thus, the game is interesting with lots of twists and double crossing. These games are mostly played by teens and students, which tends them to explore new areas and fields in-game and in real life.
Soul Calibur is an energetic game consisting of unfortunate action sequences. Thus, the result will be unpredictable with the opponent as a computer rather than in the multiplayer mode. There is a real-time adjustment in these games, that with the denomination of time the factors and incidents affecting the player would drastically change. The main aim of the player should be getting certain points, which has to be done in a certain order of methods. In certain cases, the user can make choices that can influence the result of the play. The graphics content is not much important in this case as the game is not as active as Halo or the Max Payne. The gameplay of the Soul Calibur is analyzed by viewing the play done by the characters. The play is like the computer being the judge and the player is the foe. The player can control his part with his play stick, thus defending all the attacks. It is a kind of arena from all over the world but played in front of the player. The fights are carried within a specific time limit within certain boundaries. If the player exceeds the boundary line then he losses his life. Though the main goal is to win the game there are many sub-goals like winning the characters to play with. Many obstacles are coming in front which is the main task to be tackled with. Thus, the character wins the game when any one of the characters’ losses all their life. When the character wins the game, they are rewarded with lots of artistic weapons and gifts. Small children are seen to be very interested to play these games. Since these were amongst the first motion games, they were very first aimed at kids.
NFS has become one of the favorite car racing computer games of the youngsters. The player here is to select a car then they have to finish the competent race within the time. The faster you drive the first you become. Compared with other mentioned games, the NFS has high graphics relating to the gallery or the roadside or the building, roads, and vehicles. The player is to speed their car faster to surpass other cars (including the 15 blacklist racers) through normal drive or by high speed (nitrous speed) drive. After winning the game, the player is awarded points. The different modes of the NFS are Circuit race, Point to Point sprint race, lap knock out race, and the drag race.
The graphics of the required NFS defers from PC to PC which can be visible in the windows version itself. There is a feature in the game that can enable the player to buy selected cars with the award payment itself and save the existing game so that it can be played some other time as the continuation to the same play (Same as the functionality to Halo and Max Payne). Almost all of the teenagers and students are well familiar with the new versions of NFS and its play. It reminds the popularity of NFS.
Splinter Cell is an action combat game that is based on the adventure part of Sam Fisher. Modes include single and multiplayer modes. Other games also provide such modes. The purpose of the game is to engage the player in a series of missions, which insists on applying hard weapons, armor, gadgets, and other handheld skills. The play is thus challenging in executing different armories at times. Splinter cell introduces many new types of stunts into the play. Some of them are marked and executed through which enemies are attacked at once with a flash of time by marking each and then executing the last known position which enables players to trap enemies. It enables the player to earn life and upgrade weapons and gadgets.
This essay provides several reasons for saying that some computer games can be called art while some are not. The majority of the computer games are related to history which is mixed with western literature. Many of the computer games during their development itself make use of museums and other various art programs are integrated into the video games. The main intention is to get some kind of recognition in the art world. The developers or designers will try to inculcate various art forms into their work. So, it will be foolish if one says that all video games are some form of art. In one perceptive it is true. However, in other perceptions, it is not. A game can be called art only if it is made from a new idea. That is, it cannot use other ideas which are from history or literature. The majority of the games discussed in this essay such as Max Payne, Halo, Splinter Cell, and Soul Caliber are related to history and some sort of elements from literature. Developers of these games are mostly inspired by history and literature. That is, making use of swords, grenades, guns, and arenas are all related to history and literature. Even the characters view their facial expression and dress, all has got some sort of resemblance with past. By considering all these facts, it is not impossible to call computer games art. However, some computer games reached high levels because of their eminent features and different types of elements that are needed for art. Here, in this case, the potential for computer games is much high. Some video games have got a tendency to generate emotional and visual elements. Some of the video games have got music in them. Games like Halo have got original music tracks. Some of the games include a story, apart from these, this includes narration also. These are related to cinemas and can qualify as a form of art. As a whole, it is possible to conclude by saying that video games can be called a container that holds some sort of artwork in it.
Deleon, N. (2010). Are video games art? Crunch Gear. Web.
Jenkins, H. (2007). The wow climax: Tracing the emotional impact of popular culture. NYU Press, p.19. Web.
Konzack, L. (2002). Computer game criticism: A method for computer game analysis. Authors and Tampere University Press, p.2. Web.
Neuman, M. (2010). Are videogames art, and an explanation as to why that question is retarded. DESTRUCTOID. Web.
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Smuts, A. (2005). Are video games art? Contemporary Aesthetics. Web.