The Art of Videogames

In the first chapter of How To Do Things With Videogames, Bogost compares videogames to art. Art is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Many have the impression that there is a specific line between what can be defined as art and what is not. For videogames, some people do not consider it art in comparison to the incredible masterpieces found in the Renaissance age, but I believe that there are videogames that can be seen as artistic work. These videogames are similar to the movies we watch that we consider artwork in their filming and storyline, such as The Artist or even The Black Swan. Art is a way of expression, as seen in films where the audience is able to connect to the emotional adventure or just feel what emotion is being performed. Bogost makes a significant point that games like Passage share a life experience with the player rather than just a game for entertainment.
I think it is beneficial to allow the players to become educated on the inevitable experiences such as marriage and painful events such as the loss of a loved one, like in Last of Us. During this game, we view a moment of where the player watches the relationship of a daughter and a single father connecting. After this, you are able to play as the daughter in which zombies are over taking the area where the protagonists live. While running from these infectious beings, an officer has to make the difficult decision to shoot the father and daughter in order to protect the rest of the community from this infectious disease. The uncle arrives in time to stop the officer from killing his brother, but it is too late for the daughter. Years later, the gamer plays as the father who has to escort a young girl, Ellie, who has the potential cure in her body. He is closed off and a different person after his daughter’s death. We watch this relationship with Ellie and their adventure help him learn to appreciate life even through all of the tragedies. By viewing these experiences, we can see how beneficial relationships can be in coping with the loss of loved ones and finding the good in overcoming difficult tasks. This can be seen as art even more so than in movies because it is giving you the ability to personally experience these hardships by becoming the character.
Another important chapter for me was the chapter on transit. I agree that although planes and trains allow us to quickly come to our destination, we are not able to view the world that surrounds us. In video games, we are given the ability to travel around the world, as Bogost mentions as an example, in Grand Theft Auto. A game that I found relatable to this is Nancy Drew Shadow at the Water’s Edge. While the gamer is set to accomplish a goal of the mysterious haunted hotel, they also are given tasks that make them use the Japanese language and travel around Japan. Not only this, but it can fall into the music chapter of Bogost’s novel. They play the different cultural Japanese music in the backround of the game. You become aware of different aspects of the culture as well as the people in it. It may seem unrealistic to become educated through a video game about different cultures, but it is allowing people to widen their knowledge on other countries or cities further away from where they reside. In these games, viewing the different structures of buildings and locations can show the player a lot about the way the people in different culture live.


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