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StrawHatPatriot (User)

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Should Console Games Move on to Art, While Mobile Games Take Their Place?

StrawHatPatriot | 1053d ago
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All these touch games - Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Racing Moto - Aren't these technically true video games, at least by definition? Brilliant games such as Final Fantasy VII, Dark Souls,Journey, or Xenoblade Chronicles - What "Gamers" love about gaming in general, well, really aren't games - they're much more.

Of course, millions of gamers would kill me for saying what I said in the first sentence. But think about it. Many of these Mobile games are kind of what Video Games used to be like, and kind of how one would expect video games to be like if you look at definitions and all that. Console Video Games, on the other hand, are moving away from being games, and instead, are either interactive stories (Final Fantasy games, for example), or free, open world experiences (Skyrim, even Grand Theft Auto). Even certain Indy games, like Journey and Limbo. Games like those are what should be considered art, as they can make some people feel the same way they can feel as if they were watching movies with great storytelling, and they can wow you and leave you in awe. Art as in The Arts (Music, Movies, Paintings/Pictures, etc.).

It's your God of Wars and Call of Duties (hehe) that are like games, but even then, GOW still has some storytelling elements involved. Mobile games have a mass audience, the same way old school consoles like the Atari 2600 did, due the relative ease of use.

Now of course, I'm going about the Mobile game industry the way the average hardcore gamer would, thinking that it's all casual touch games with bad controls. There are some mobile games that have a lot of elements that many Indy/Art games have too. But a lot of the main, more popular ones are what I'm talking.

Overall, video games should kind of be split. I'm not classifying all Mobile games as simpler games or anything but rather, as more of a simple way to ease into the transition. Games that have more simpler objectives are what could/should be considered video games,(the same way games with simple objectives like Checkers are board games, Tic Tac Toe is a paper and pen game, etc.)while games that are story-based or forge an emotional connection between the game and the player should be apart of The Arts. This way, some of these great games can get the respect that many Gamers feel they deserve. The only question is that, well, should we call these games that are art?

The way that certain video games can leave you in awe the same way or even better than films, pictures, sculptures and/or theater plays can is enough for it to be considered art - at least certain types of art.

coolbeans  +   1052d ago
I can't help but notice oxymoronic elements in the title and text.

Since it's been officially accepted by various associations that video games are art, wouldn't this separation of calling "video games that are ACTUALLY art" and "oh..those are JUST video games" being posed here actually injure its status as a whole?

Plus, your research of the mobile games market displays a bit of ignorance. Final Fantasy IV is available on iOS and iOS games like Year Walk shows signs of the market fully capable of having the same types of categorized "art games" such as Dear Esther (admittedly, I dislike this title) and others.

Forgive me if I'm coming off strongly, I'm just...confounded by this material brought forth (though I appreciate input by new-ish users).
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StrawHatPatriot  +   1052d ago
I was talking about the Mobile market based off of how most people view it, which is why I mentioned how people consider them to be simple and stuff.

Thanks for the feedback though.
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coolbeans  +   1052d ago
Well to the "simple and stuff" point, I ask you: hasn't that been the roots for ALL artistic endeavors in human history? Even most categorized "art games" of today's age include some of the simplest control schemes: Dear Esther is just the W/A/S/D keys, ICO uses a minimalist focus for its controls and story to convey more meaning, etc. etc.

Stealing from cgoodno below: being simple in nature shouldn't devalue the art itself, instead it's better to look forward to what mobile games can expand upon in the future.
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MeatAbstract  +   1052d ago
Art is something that is really subjective. You say God of War has some storytelling/art elements. What defines 'art elements'?

To look at it another way, there are b-movie horror films that I'd consider art. To use a popular one as an example - The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. To me, that's art, no matter how tasteless, low budget and ridiculous it maybe.

Does art have to be something gives you profound thoughts? Changes your perception on life? Make you sit and nod sagely as you get lost in thought over what you've experienced? Not necessarily. Art isn't about wearing small glasses, turtlenecks and making comments about the meaning behind some modern-art monstrosity. Personally, I think it's about what something says to you and the meaning you can find out of it, which you could get out of some mobile games as there are thousands out there.
StrawHatPatriot  +   1052d ago
With Art, I was referring to like, the Arts in general, (Music, Movies, Art (as in paintings, sculptures)), not Art as in personal stuff.

Thanks for reading the article though.
chromiumtwist  +   1052d ago
You don't 'move on to art', art just happens. I don't think many games have achieved true artistic merit yet to be quite honest with you, and I'm all for games 'becoming art'. I also think Journey is incredibly overblown, and trying so hard to be art, that it can never truly be considered art. If videogames are art, Journey is PoMo, that is to say, very 'tryhard'.

I think games like Nier got close due to how the story shocked and surprised the player, while engaging further by effectively using the 'fourth wall' to its advantage, without being cheesy at all (something that is very hard to pull off). I also think, in the truest sense of the word art, Okami and games like Skyward Sword/Wind Waker come very close from an image perspective. They're highly expressionist, more so than some recent painters.

The videogames as art argument is an unfortunate product of its own internal debate. Until the debate ends, they will never be considered art, because too many people are trying to force the label upon it.
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stealthyrat  +   1052d ago
art is metal gear,silent hill,okami,ico&ratchet and clank
dedicatedtogamers  +   1052d ago
The issue is that the videogame market is swiftly becoming top-heavy. On one hand, we have "teh casual" games (many of which are good ol' fun, if hardcore gamers would give them a chance) that do not cost very much to develop, their dev cycle is short, their dev teams are small, their retail/digital price is low, and the profit margin on these games is incredibly high. On the other hand, we have "teh HaRdCoReXxX" games like, for example, Dark Souls, various fighting games (Street Fighter, King of Fighters, BlazBlue, etc), non-CoD-shooters, and so forth. These games take years to develop, they cost millions to make, their dev teams number in the hundreds at times, and they cost $50-$60 retail. The profit margin for these sorts of games is much narrower and putting out a AAA game is much riskier these days.

I think there can be a happy medium, but the business of gaming is changing. When a company like THQ can go belly up, it is a sign that AAA games are becoming dangerous for smaller companies to create. THQ didn't die because they had crappy games. They had a TON of highly-rated, decently-selling franchises. However, the margin on these sort of games became too much of a burden on THQ, so they folded.

Personally, I'd like the industry to take a step back from the storytelling/cutscene/voice-ac ting side of things (which all cost a LOT of money to implement) and instead focus on game design and game engines. A game like Minecraft is good because the game's "story" is procedurally generated by the player's action. It also makes Minecraft highly replayable. On the other hand, Spec Ops: The Line (besides the fact that the title is horrible) had an excellent story, but no one cared, since the gameplay was solid but nothing new was introduced.
Christopher  +   1052d ago
All video games are art. Progression of technology has not moved the 'artistic' element from what we consider 'older and less sophisticated/complex' games, only broadened the medium and art.

Before there was canvas and oil paints, there were wall paintings done with various dyes. The presence of an easier to manipulate and control medium does not devalue old art, only expand on what we can now do with it.
rainslacker  +   1051d ago
Just because mobile games are closer to what games used to be doesn't mean that they are what games are today.

I know there are a lot of questionable practices in today's industry, but today's games generally have much deeper game play mechanics than those of yesteryear. AI is more complex, stories are more realized and emotional, and game play elements are expanded on to cater to an increased demand for innovation.

One doesn't need to take the place of the other. They can easily coexist and live in happy harmony. There are enough consumers of video games now that the market doesn't have to be insular to one particular demographic.

All games are art. Some of it good, some of it bad. The platform is irrelevant. To say one has to supplant the other is like saying that after Michelangelo there was no need to create any more art. People could have just stuck with drawing stick figures because it's the simplest form of art. Instead people continued on. They created their own forms of art. They expanded on past ideas, and in doing so created new ones which challenge the mind. Games are no's just a different medium.
uuaschbaer  +   1051d ago
I hope people will never look at video games as art, it'd be sure to ruin them. Our reviewers now are bad but––though good book reviewers at one time did exist––imagine if games were criticized like books and films are now; horror. "Final Fantasy X combines all the stereotypes you'll know with oversexualized female characters and ends with an unsatisfactory dénouement in order to deliver 14 year old boys an onanistic experience and you an entirely forgettable waste of sixty hours." You know they wouldn't be able to contain themselves. David Cage is already acting far too pretentiously for the thriller-like material he appears to be producing.
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coolbeans  +   1050d ago
It's already looked upon as art though. And I contend having "artsy-fartsy" critics thoroughly examine the goods/bads of any title's story/storytelling/characters will probably strengthen the consumer's demand for a writer to iron out the kinks or avoid trite mechanics in future projects.

If that critic is able to present a proper reason why he/she finds "Cage is pretentious" or "FFX is stereotypical," then the fans can be encouraged to articulate the good qualities of Cage or FFX, or perhaps prove said critic to be wrong. It's a great way to drive discussion.

Here's a solid example of a movie critic analyzing Halo's faults (though he shows no sign of viewing the expanded universe beyond the games): http://www.escapistmagazine...
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uuaschbaer  +   1050d ago
Well, we haven't found a critic yet whom we can both appreciate. I haven't played Halo so I don't know whether what he says is right, but his criticism does seem somewhat disingenuous to me. I mean is he really surprised to encounter themes of tribalism in a war game? Also the way he peppers his criticism with Jungian terms without actually using them to reason makes me think he's not trying very hard. Of course he can do whatever he pleases, and the fact that there is a comment section is already a great improvement over newspaper critics, but if Bungie now suddenly felt it had to adapt its games' story lines so that they exactly avoid all the cheap accusations that can be thrown at them you'll end up with games that never touch the most important and therefore contentious parts of life or that explore them only so far as critics can't find fault with them, which isn't very far. That's my worry.
coolbeans  +   1050d ago
"Well, we haven't found a critic yet whom we can both appreciate."

I contend that may be partially due to us, the community-at-large, typically giving excited reactions to ANY criticisms whatsoever. Take a look at the prehistoric accounts of the "Tropes vs. Videogames" examples (note: NOT the quality of said series itself) and you'll find the very idea of it brings gamers to spew endless hatred against that notion.

Now, if said series is deemed unfair and biased after it's all said and done, look at the distraction it provided for possibly just criticisms and the perceived backlash of bothering to delve into said problems. We heighten awareness of said unfair examinations to the point that that's the ONLY way to make a ripple in this ocean of a community.

I should define what I meant by "solid example." I do agree with it being a tad stretched and disingenuous, but I find it to be a great example of "innocent on-looker giving a harsh look at X popular series." It drove discussion that you, and others in the comment section, were able to produce their own counter-points to show his argument is found wanting.

"...but if Bungie...,which isn't very far."

The problem is I've never found a creator's initial reactions be retconning those contentious themes/ideas they're trying to produce, rather delve farther into their own understanding of what they're trying to explore. If Bungie, or anyone else, WERE to do that, it would be more on their shoulders for allowing artsy critics to sway them from their original stance.
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uuaschbaer  +   1050d ago
Of course there is a lot in what you say but I suppose I might just be a bit less optimistic than you. Big game publishers already placate people; I'm not sure how they're going to handle having to placate both people and critics. I think artistic freedom will suffer, but more than that I have a hard time believing that it will do any good. I don't think it will improve any games and I don't think anyone will be enlightened, mainly because I fear good analyses of games will be vastly outnumbered by bad ones. It's a horrible realization but a bad critic might be said to function as a paid troll.
coolbeans  +   1049d ago
Fair enough. I just wanted to thank you for extending the conversation. :)
uuaschbaer  +   1049d ago
You're welcome. My pleasure entirely!

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