Should Video Games Be Considered Literature?

From the newly released Dante's Inferno, to classic games like The Hobbit and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, developers have been using books as inspiration for video games. Games, like movies, draw on thousands of years worth of literature to provide depth of story and character. But what of original gaming titles? Can they compete? Are they capable of achieving the same scope? Can a video game be considered a work of literature?

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sinncross3046d ago (Edited 3046d ago )

Games can be considered a narrative form but not as literature: literature relates to written works.

And yes, if novels and films can tell good and powerful stories with meaningful characters, then a game can as well.
The only difference is how you partake in each activity.
Books you read.
Films you watch.
Games you play.

It is just a different form of entertainment but neither is less more capable as being a meaningful narrative form then others. Novels just have the pedigree of being the eldest of the three whereas games are the youngest.

Games also suffer with being stuck between making content rich games and context rich games. My point here is that many developers feel that need to add things a game because it will help make them commercial (same with books and films) instead of focusing the features of the game on its context.

Take Dead Space.. it works because the player is a solo entity alone in the journey of survival. Add in co-op (for commercial reasons) and it makes less sense contextually as the story is meant to unfold for a single character. Of course if the context can be adapted then sure co-op can be made to make sense contextually.

Context is very important since it is on this entity of a narrative that everything else works: stories and characters can mean very little if the context is not established to support them.

It all comes down to how developers choose to see their games... games can be both context rich and content rich but many choose commercialism and profitability over trying to mature industry because many titles that strive for context (say like Team ICO titles) get quickly relegated to niche status.

Myst3046d ago

You have put what I was thinking as well as more, I agree 100% with how it should be considered a narrative form but not literature.


Anemeros3045d ago (Edited 3045d ago )

I've been gaming for about 20 years and it's undoubtedly my favorite form of entertainment. The main reason is due to the interactivity, of course; The illusion of having an impact, taking actions that effect the fiction, or expressing one's power. All of those things are addictive.

Books, movies and music are passive, unless you're the one creating the experience. But when you are the creator, you don't get to experience what was made in the same way that you would have if you didn't.

Videogames have done what nothing else could: It allowed us to be both the architect and the tenant; the artist and the connoisseur. With videogames, every line of code is the same, but what happens to players from start to finish can never be.