My previous post was a photo story that I was required to create for class. When I was given that assignment, my first thought for a theme was “Video Games as Art”. I struggled for a few days just trying to figure out how to present the art of video games in the form of a series of still images.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that such a task is impossible. The cause of this impossibility lies in the fact that the very element of video games that allows games to convey messages in their own unique way cannot be captured in a photograph.
A photograph or painting sends messages through visual imagery. Everything that a photograph or painting is can be found in what one sees. This lack of extra dimension, beyond what can be interpreted from a photograph’s visual aspects, means that a photograph cannot capture the essence of video games. In truth photographs, radio, film and even books fail to capture how video games are art. The reason for this lies in the fact that of all forms of art only video games are interactive.
One finds the true power of a video game in its interactive elements. A game’s mechanics and interactive design can convey feelings of power, helplessness or loss as well as complex morals and themes. If something cannot capture the interactive factors of video games, the art of games cannot be properly represented by it.
Video games can be visually beautiful, have brilliantly designed narratives, and outstanding sound design, but while other mediums can capture these artful features of video games, one can only experience the interactive elements that make video games unique by playing video games. Any other representation of video games just does not do them justice.