Why Videogames Aren't Art Yet: Lack of Romance

One thing that has long irked me in the video game world is one of the most common aspects, romance. I struggle to think of more than a few good video game romances. While video games are inherently visual and often light on subject, romantic relationships should be a standard. The lack of them just further shows why it isn’t art yet. Look at any of the top films on IMDB and almost everyone one of them has a great romance between characters. Look at any of the top video games, and you don’t. The lack of that is almost disturbing.

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VanillaBear2404d ago

Drake and Elena are one of the best couples in video games, a couple where you actually like the love interest as much as the main character

Spydiggity2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

what are you talking about? Their relationship goes nowhere. They end up together at the end of a game, then at the beginning of the next, they aren't. Then they just repeat the process. Every time i see her pop up in a game, i roll my eyes. It would be better if they just introduced a new love interest each game like in an indiana jones movie. except crystal skull (but that doesn't count -- since it shouldn't exist -- damn you Lucas!).

also, you don't need romance to make something art, that's absurd. in fact, this whole issue of what is and isn't art is no longer interesting.

i don't need my games to be "art" to enjoy them. and they obviously don't need to be "art" to sell really well.

MaxXAttaxX2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

Is this gonna be one of those articles and comment threads where we pick on Uncharted again? I mean, I know what you're saying and I agree with everything else. But I can already see where it's heading from some of the comments bellow.

Nimblest-Assassin2404d ago

Well at the end of Uncharted 3 it seems like Nate finally picked that Elena was more important than adventure and treasure.

But I get where you are coming from, they are a great couple.. but the player keeps getting cockblocked.

They dated and broke up after 1, Got married and separated after 2, and then finally got back together in 3..

If they divorce in 4, Nate should give up and go after Chloe... unless she already married Charlie. Those 2 had a thing in 3.

-Alpha2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

Yeah I agree, the romance is as deep as an ordinary action film, in which case it's rather just average. Just because the hero goes good with the pretty girl doesn't make it artistic or deep. It's as cliche as it comes. And I also agree with romance not being something important for an art game, that's just silly. What I think the author is trying to say is that there needs to be an emotional connection you feel with the character, or that the game needs some sophisticated goal for the protagonist that makes you both invested. In which case, it's more than romance, it's a general emotional attachment to something the player has.

@Nathan-- Uncharted is often cited as a pinnacle of storytelling, which I completely disagree with, and this article seems to think Uncharted told a successful romance story (again, I disagree) Nobody is picking on Uncharted, and in fact, the author "picks on" Gears of War. If you can take all the praise given to Uncharted for being such a successful "story driven game" then you can take the criticism it will burden as well, and I certainly don't think Uncharted is a good example of a successful "art romance" game. He seems to say Uncharted's romance is subtle, but it's not. It's just generically put together with all the typical things you expect to find in an action movie. Far from subtle. I don't even know why he wants subtlety to be a factor in successful art games.

You will never see a movie emulate what Shadow of the Colossus or Flower does, unless it's a short film/indie project. If you want to convince the nay sayers who think games are just junk, I'd promote Shadow of the Colossus over Uncharted any day, especially as a romance game.

Spydiggity2403d ago (Edited 2403d ago )

Mario has more romance than Uncharted.

Mario goes to the ends of the world and battles his nemesis over and over just to save Peach.

What does Drake do? He puts his g/f in danger and then makes bad, cliche jokes about how they almost got killed. Then they break up in between games cuz Drake is probably a pretty boring guy when he's not killing thousands of people to steal a treasure for his own selfish gain and fetish for thrills.

MaxXAttaxX2403d ago (Edited 2403d ago )

"Uncharted is often cited as a pinnacle of storytelling"
First of all, story and storytelling are different. Uncharted is pretty engaging... but that's a different subject now.
It ain't Shakespearean and I'm aware that's it's not a successful romance story, as it is obviously something Uncharted is not trying to do. But you can feel the connection between the characters in the games. And that's all that is needed.

And second, I see it more often criticized here than cited as a pinnacle of storytelling (as shown by comments above and in every other article where Uncharted is mentioned).

BrutallyBlunt2403d ago (Edited 2403d ago )

@ NathanExplosion

Posted in another topic by NathanExplosion:
"Anyway, stop getting worked up over chess game on PSN. Some of you people are overly sensitive to the subject of exclusives."

Then tell us, why are you getting so defensive over Uncharted? The reason why people pick on the story and the characters within Uncharted is because Naughty Dog has gone on record that The Last of Us main draw and strengths will be its storytelling and characters. So of course people are going to use the Uncharted series as a background. Doesn't matter any way since you're obviously not overly-sensitive when it comes to exclusives, right?

MaxXAttaxX2403d ago (Edited 2403d ago )

Dude quit stalking me.

And stop taking my comments out of context.
That comment was about exclusives in general not one game (such as Uncharted).
I said that because a certain paranoid group of people were saying that PS3 fans are claiming that a chess game on PSN was the next greatest exclusive WHICH NO ONE said.

What does Uncharted have to do with The Last of Us? They're two entirely different games. Very different genres.
It's like comparing Ratchet & Clank with Resistance because it's the same studio.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 2403d ago
Gamer30002404d ago

"Drake and Elena are one of the best couples in video games"

RedDead2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

I completely disagree. Spydiggity said why. Other than that I simply wasn't even interested in it. Uncharted characters are good for comedy. Romance...definitely not. The Romance is in tune with other Action adventure titles(movie/games/books/manga ). It's just there because it's like...a requirement for a swash buckling hero.

coolbeans2404d ago

"Drake and Elena are one of the best couples in video games. . ."

This only makes the "lack of romance" only more resoundingly true for videogames.

Baka-akaB2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

Can't people try to remember more than the games they played the last year before making such outlandish claims ?

It's like claiming Shia labeouf and Megan fox's chars from transformers are the new romeo and juliet .

Uncharted is way smarter , plot and character wise , but it still a game equivalent of summer action blockbusters ... hardly a game displaying strong romances .

VanillaBear2404d ago

"Can't people try to remember more than the games they played the last year before making such outlandish claims ?" other couples before this gen where both characters are likable and share a deep, funny and a in depth connection with each other like Drake and Elena

.....Oh wait there isn't because developers were never that bothered with character development back then. Just the gameplay

dark-hollow2404d ago

I always joked about how people in n4g just started playing games this Gen.

Now am afraid I think its true....

Baka-akaB2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

You threw a lot of pre-requisites to begin with . But let's bite ? grandia 1-2 among others things ... but you'll probably just dismiss it .

Even Max Payne 2 had a very adult, realistic portrayal that beats all over Uncharted . So no it wasnt "just gameplay" and waiting for the Uncharted savior .

UC 1-3 are awesome , but hardly invented and defined something in that regard . It's standard adventure movie stuff polished to its best . Wich is still pretty damn good mind you .

But imo , you saw easily as good or better in oldies such as Knights of the Old Republic , Baldur's gate 1-2 , some of the FF games , Fei and Elly from Xenogears or even mgs with a few things like Snake and Meryl or Otacon/wolf ... i'm not going to bother listing everything anyway .

And the first two shadow hearts games got epic and tragic romances that would easily shame UC .

dark-hollow2404d ago

What about gears of war? Marcus and Dom are like the best couples in video game history.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2403d ago
CanadianTurtle2404d ago

I'm sorry but what does romance have to do with "art?"

Hicken2404d ago

Nothing. This was just the author's way of getting in on the action.

Bimkoblerutso2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

People have a habit of confusing the categorization of things that are "art" and defining what is "inspired art."

For whatever reason, critics seem to think that identifying what games DON'T do as well as other mediums proves that games are not art.

I don't understand the logic, but there you go.

house2404d ago

exactly there are many forms of expressing art and video games have touched almost every aspect including romance

JeepGamer2404d ago

Since when was romance required for art? I can take a look at a painting of some pretty landscape or a landscape rendered in a game and appreciate either one and I don't ask where the romance is.

Then again, if there was a 'no romance' option for games that contained it I would turn it on just to avoid the stupidity of having to try hard to avoid it.

TopDudeMan2404d ago

I'm not interested in games being recognised as art. I'd rather a good game that looks really bad than a bad game that looks great. I know that's not really the point, by the way.

But to me, people who care too much about what something should be defined as and nitpick about all the little things tend to not enjoy themselves as much. I know, I've been there. I think I can just enjoy a good thing, regardless of what other people think or what people call it.

MeatAbstract2404d ago

Video games have proved themselves as art time and time again. Infact, they added a new area to the Smithsonian American Art Museum called 'The Art of Video Games'.

Developers like Team ICO, Valve, Rockstar and countless others have proved themselves as creating works of art. Just because it's not shoving its own head up its ass like, say, Lars von Trier's stuck up and prentious audiance and has people stroking their own chins and debating 'what was the artist trying to tell us!?' doesn't make any less artful.

The problem is, people look at the surface of the industry and they see shooters and violence and things that just look like big dumb fun. But isn't that the way with all media now? Go into Waterstones and check out the best sells. Some wannabe celebrity's book in the top spot. Or another trashy crime-thriller thing. DVD/Blu-Ray as well. Best sellers like Transformers and all that 'shut your brain off and enjoy' stuff. But they're mediums that have proved themselves time and time again. Just have computer games have.

So lets drop this 'computer game aren't art' crap because they abosolutely, 100% are.

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