Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:16 UTC
Games

The late film critic Roger Ebert once wrote:

Nevertheless, I remain convinced that in principle, video games cannot be art. Perhaps it is foolish of me to say "never," because never, as Rick Wakeman informs us, is a long, long time. Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.

I have always seen this as a man from an older generation failing to grasp new forms of media, expression, and art. As great a film critic as Ebert was, he completely and utterly missed the point with this oft-quoted statement. There's an endless list of games - large triple A and smaller, independent titles alike - that I would most definitely consider art and that will, in the future, end up in museums and art teachers' classes.

I normally don't really care what other people think, but I was reminded of this statement these past few weeks as I played through To The Moon, the critically acclaimed 2011 indie RPG from FreeBirdGames. The game tells the tale of two people aiding in granting a dying old man his last wish - to go to the moon. The game is relatively short - between 4 and 5 hours - but in that relatively short runtime, its creators manage to tell a moving, endearing, funny, emotional, and ultimately beautiful story that rivals - and, in my view, rises above - some of the best films and books ever created.

To The Moon is available on Steam, GOG, and even Origin, and I highly suggest you play it. If it doesn't fit your budget or you only want the story, I uploaded my experience with To The Moon for all to see. Even if you have no interest in video games, I would still strongly suggest experiencing this uniquely beautiful work of art.

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A very evil comment
by CruelAngel on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:39 UTC
CruelAngel
Member since:
2011-08-03

Okay... While I did indeed loved To the Moon, and I do recommend it to anyone interested in it... with all honesty it wasn't much of a game more then a story, that you could kind of sort of interact with, but you could not change its outcome in any meaningful way.

So was it art? Yes it was. Was it a video game? Well it was more interactive than an animated movie, but not much. So one could argue, that this is not really the best counterexample for R. E.'s statement. d:

Reply Score: 4

RE: A very evil comment
by chandler on Thu 15th Jan 2015 19:34 in reply to "A very evil comment"
chandler Member since:
2006-08-29

it wasn't much of a game more then a story, that you could kind of sort of interact with, but you could not change its outcome in any meaningful way.


Since when has that been the definition of a game? Most games that I've played with a storyline have not allowed the player to change the overall story.

I find this urge to define the current crop of very story/aesthetic driven indie games as "not games" very odd. I've read numerous people saying the same thing about Gone Home, which seemed to obviously be a game to me. Were the text adventure and point and click adventure games I played as a kid not games? Was Myst not a game? Is Call of Face Shooter Advanced Blood Splatter edition the only thing that counts as a game now? Inquiring minds want to know!

I haven't played To The Moon yet, but I have it my Steam library, and will have to move it up the to-play list. Thanks for reminding me about it, Thom!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A very evil comment
by Brendan on Fri 16th Jan 2015 02:21 in reply to "RE: A very evil comment"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

"it wasn't much of a game more then a story, that you could kind of sort of interact with, but you could not change its outcome in any meaningful way.


Since when has that been the definition of a game? Most games that I've played with a storyline have not allowed the player to change the overall story.
"

To me, it's not a black or white thing - it's a scale with "0% interactive" at one end and "100% interactive" at the other end.

Movies are 0% interactive. To keep people entertained they have to rely on story telling.

For "100% interactive" games (Tetris, Minecraft) it's the opposite - a story isn't necessary at all. For these there often isn't any plot, or the plot is just a flimsy excuse (e.g. 1 sentence that you can ignore completely, like "You're a guy that got abandoned on a beach").

Something like Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto, where it's mostly interactive but there are multiple stories, is probably about 90% interactive.

What if you have a 60 minute long piece of video footage, followed by a single "yes or no" choice, followed by (one of 2) 10 minute long piece of video footage and the ending? In that case it'd be 0.0001% interactive.

At which point does something cease being a movie and start being a game? Is everything below "50% interactive" a movie?

My opinion is that we need a third classification: interactive movie. 0% interactive would be a movie; anything between 0% interactive and 50% interactive would be an interactive movie; and anything above 50% would be game.

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 4