Sunday, July 31, 2011

Video Games are Art: A simple answer to a long debated question.

Even within the gaming community the question of whether video games can be considered art has been a debate. I think it stems from the fact that video games largely started as a competitive "game" rather than as a medium to convey a message to the player. I would say part of the issue with people viewing video games as art is the fact it doesn't fit our traditional sense in what we assume art is. You will find no such debate in other mediums, basically the entire world agrees that music, visual art (paintings, sculptures, cartooning, etc.), film, architecture, drama, and literature all have concrete examples of "art." However video games which borrows heavily from most of these art forms gets tossed aside by many people. To sum up exactly how I feel on the subject we just need to look at the Oxford Dictionary definition of art.

1. [mass noun] 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:

In the first definition of the word video games easily can be classified as art. Many "artists" do work together to create video games, and the best of which are appreciated for their beauty and emotional power. I know many people may say a video game has never made them cry (I would be one of them) but I bet many games have evoked feelings of fear, excitement, or any overall care for the main protagonist and outcome of the story in almost any gamer. It is a medium that gets its message across beyond using language, and for that it fits the most basic definition of art.

The debate should not be whether video games are art or not, it should be how can we progress this art form to be more accepted in society. There was a time when rock and roll would never have been considered art, and now the Beatles are hailed as the brilliant artists that changed music forever. Cartoons would have been seen as simple children's entertainment, but now I dare you to find someone who does not consider Walt Disney an artist. Video games will have its time in the main stream spotlight as a serious medium one day, we just have to hold it up to that light.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Favourite Level: Mega Man 2 Wily World 1-1

Mega Man 2 is one of the best games ever made, it had a lot of charm, quick gameplay, and the best soundtrack on NES. Wily Stage 1 is the culmination of everything that makes the game great. It had the best music of any level, and was your first chance to play around with all the power-ups. If you want to read more about Mega Man check out my previous entry.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Favourite Villian

The term "love to hate" should apply to any great villian and that describes GLaDOS. Every time GLaDOS speaks is a funny moment of pure dark humour. Just watch and enjoy, even if you have never played the game you will still find everything she says comedy gold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Awesome Video Game Music
Duck Tales : The Moon Level

Not only was Duck Tales an amazing game, but it featured some of the best music of any NES game. The Moon level was particularly fantastic, and many gamers have fond memories of it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Least Favourite Character: Vaan

Final Fantasy 12 is one of the few games I bought and stopped playing halfway through because I was bored to tears. It did not help the main character was a wimpy little boy. Japanese games traditionally have very androgynous looking male leads, but they usually at least have the persona of someone heroic. If you look at the leads in the previous final fantasy games, you can see that Square is really running out of ideas on how to create a lead character.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How gamers are viewed.

I know video games have come a really long way in public acceptance. In fact a recent California Supreme Court ruling found that video games fall under protected speech. However, that does not mean that a majority of people still understand what gaming is and what it means to the average player. This is no more evident than in something I saw in the Today Show the other day (which according the current figures puts their viewership around 5 million).

The idea to any man playing video games past the age of 30 seems ludicrous to these people. And again the idea that video games are only for children (the hosts say it is only OK to play games with your kids) shows that they have no real grasp of what a video game can be. Video games grew out of the "toy" market back in the 90s and is now a legitimate medium akin to film, TV, and literature. Sadly, it isn't just the Today Show that has no idea what gaming is, the media's lack of knowledge is evident in many ways.

In this NCIS clip, the writers show that not only do they have no idea what a computer is but basic knowledge of MMORPGs. In RPGs there is really no such thing as a "high score" and it shows that the people responsible for this scene still think of video games are like the Atari 2600 or the Arcade's in the early 90s.

The gamer stereotype is perpetuated again. The only person who is knows how to play is the man who "lives in his parents' basement and owns a Captain Kirk outfit." As if people who play video games are all introverts who will never know a woman's touch.

Hopefully things like this will change. The more people over 30 that are playing games, the more people will start understand, or at the very least accept it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Favorite Character: Mario

Could it really be anyone else? Is there really another choice? Is there another character that adapts so well to many different gametypes? Is there another character that is so engrained in video game culture?

No. An Italian plumber that saves a princess from a dinosaur turtle is the greatest character EVER!

If you want to read more check out my older post about Mario.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Last Gamer I Completed

I have always been a fan of Mortal Kombat. I even stuck threw the mediocre games because I really liked the characters. But, I was starting to grow tired with the series and had no plans to buy the newest game. Then the reviews came in and everyone was praising it. I picked it up and it is easily my favourite fighting game I have played.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The First Game I played: Super Mario Bros

This one is difficult since I do not remember ever not playing video games. I am pretty sure as soon as I could use my hands I had a controller. However, I am pretty sure Super Mario Bros was the first game I played, since anyone who had an NES had this game. I also have fond memories of playing Mega Man 2, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, and Duck Hunt. That was a great group of games to be introduced to!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My least favorite Game

I have played a lot of bad games but there is one game that really gets me, Superman 64. The game actually looked cool in the screenshots that were shown, and it was based on one of the best cartoons, as well as the greatest comic book hero ever. What we got instead was a game full of glitches, in which Superman spent 90% of his time flying through hoops. It is unbelievable that no one can make a great action game based on Superman.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Video Game Challenge!

It has been a long time but I am finally back. I have decided to take everything in a new direction rather than having very long posts, I am going to try and stick with nice short posts. Hopefully this will keep me active.

To Start I am doing a bit of a twist on the "30 Day Video Game Challenge" that you see on Facebook. I found there are a number of theses 30 day challenges and they all have different criteria. So I am going to take the best aspects out of all these challenges and create a series of posts.

My Favourite Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

I know this will seem to some a very "obvious" and "typical" choice., but I have great memories of this game. I remember playing this game and thinking that there was nothing else out there remotely like it. It was the first game I played that felt like a living breathing world. Sure many games had towns to visit and people to talk to, but this game had a day/night cycle and helped the player feel like time was actually passing. The dungeons were so perfectly created, giving the player just enough challenge to feel a sense of accomplishment once beating it. It was the perfect game of its era, and still holds to the test of time.

If you want to read more about this game check out my earlier post.