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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RE: A very evil comment
by chandler on Thu 15th Jan 2015 19:34 UTC 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

RE[3]: A very evil comment
by kwan_e on Fri 16th Jan 2015 02:46 in reply to "RE[2]: A very evil comment"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

The problem is not with the interaction but with the idea that the story isn't changed by interaction. And in a lot of games, the story simply isn't changed by interaction.

CruelAngel's Thesis* that To The Moon can't be considered a game if the story can't be changed simply doesn't hold for the majority of games.

My personal favourite adventure type games are The Longest Journey series and people very much considered them games at the time despite the story of both of the completely being unchanged by the interaction.

Hell, you can't even change the story of Halo. Most FPS would be considered interactive action movies by that criteria.

Reply Parent Score: 4