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How do you view video games?

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Do you view them as nothing more than distractions? Or perhaps virtual toys? Something you use to pass the time for a little bit before moving on? Or do you see more in them and take them more seriously? Do you like to study game mechanics? Maybe appreciate all the artistry that goes into a game? From pixel art, to textures, to sound design and music? Do you like to branch out into many different genres? Or do you stick to only a few or even just one? Do you care about video game preservation? Or how some big companies like EA will literally pull the plug on a game and essentially kill it? Throwing years worth of someone's work down the drain? Some very fantastic games (like imo MGS5) are pretty much on a timer. Future generations will not be able to experience some of these amazing games all due to petty greed and awful short-sightedness. It honestly angers me, quality of the game notwithstanding it's an incredibly shitty practice. This industry would get a big fat F in terms of how well we preserve and respect our past.




Personally, I find a lot of joy in dissecting a game and trying to figure out what makes it tick (or doesn't), and why I might find something enjoyable (or don't). I started doing this around 7 or 8 years ago actually and ever since then I've started to see all the real effort, passion and artistry in games. It completely changed the way I look at games now too. I stop and look at things, soak in atmosphere, and think to myself how well (or bad) a mechanic works, and if it is bad, what would I do differently? Are there any previous examples of it being better? Or how great they pulled a scene together, how long it must have taken them to make some really nice pixel art and animate it, or how and why they chose/created a sound, or a musical piece, etc.




Making a game is hard work, making a hit game is a colossal task. So many things can go wrong, and to hear how often it is that a hit game we know and love today, was spawned due to a bug in programming boggles my mind. Devil May Cry, Diablo and Grand Theft Auto being three good examples of games that are essentially accidental hits. All due to a silly little bug that actually made the game better. The absolute random nature of that happening is both extremely frightening and incredibly exciting. It means the game you're creating, can sometimes take the wheel away from your own project and steer you into a completely different direction you had no intention of going!




When you stop and appreciate all the creative energy and work that goes into a game you love (or even hate), it really takes it to a whole new level. Just recently, I booted up Warcraft 3 and couldn't stop looking at all the damn detail they packed into the tutorial level. The floor patches, waterfalls, fields of trees and hills. Someone sat down and tried to make a level that probably wouldn't be played more than once by most players look really, really nice. The quality of that one tutorial level follows through the entire game too.




It boggles my mind when I see the argument (usually from older people) that games can't be art. The moment you boot up a game, you are practically buried in art. Not only that, you get to walk through the art. Interact with the art. Manipulate the art. Sometimes it's fantastic art, sometimes it's horrible art, sometimes it's art that doesn't really seek to say anything but god dammit it's art. Some of these games touch people's lives, or inspire them to pursue their own artistic goals and challenges, or help them get through rough periods in their life. People sat down to create all of that, and somehow tie it all together to be a cohesive experience for you to play through. Even making a map in DOOM can be considered art, because you are sharing a part of you through a creative work. People can sometimes even get a hint of who you are just by playing a map you made.





So, I'm curious to hear how you view video games. How impactful are they on your life? Do you like to question what goes into a video game? Or do you just like to play it and not question the inner-workings much? Perhaps to preserve the 'magic'? Either way, why so? Do you view video games as art? Does game preservation feel like something that should be taken more seriously? Do you simply have a story or example from a video game that stuck with you? Or maybe a mechanic you really liked? Or a bad one in a game and how you'd do it better? Lets discuss video games and their artistry or brilliant/bad game design. I'm tired of always hearing about how bad the industry is. (and it fucking is, dear god it is.).



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Videogames to me are an art form capable of much enjoyment. But at the end of the day, it's all a hobby. And some people obsess over this shit way too much. 

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7 minutes ago, Mr. Freeze said:

And some people obsess over this shit way too much. 

I'm curious, how so? Would you consider appreciating the way a developer or person decided to craft a game mechanic obsessing? Or just appreciating how good something looks?


Movie buffs like to dissect movies all the time. They talk about different camera angles, the importance of lighting, different techniques in shooting, filters, the creative process of good props and backdrops, but I don't see that as obsessing over it. I just see that as being very intrigued and enthralled with the whole process of creating what it is they love.

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No, like more in the sense that people's entire identity can revolve around their hobby, and that's when they become very odious to anyone on the outside looking in. I'm probably being very specific here, but a lot of my personal experiences with hardcore gamers is like dealing with an IRL Eltingville Club. It's just unpleasant to hear people talk about how The Witcher 3 has the greatest story of all time and also women are whores and that's why we need Gamergate (I'm paraphrasing a bit here but the sentiment was the same). 


As far as technical and design goes, I'll never not be interested in that side of things. It's one of the reasons I want to go into game making- the design process is just so inherently fun. 

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I consider video games are much a art like movies,music...And video game preservation is very important imo.

Very nice post you made up there,too bad my writing skills arent good enough for a good discussion,but i think this will be a nice thread :)


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I could tell from when I began playing video games at the age of 8 or 9 that this was going to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Amusingly started off with licensed titles like Super Starwars: The Empire Strikes Back (surprised my would-be gaming hobby wouldn't be terminated as soon as it started considering the notorious difficulty of this game) and Jurassic Park for the SNES that even with familiar territory of the films they were based off of you could still turn these already established works into unforgettable interactive worlds. I was already taken by the vast usage of color, the well done art of the sprites and backgrounds, the feedback of sound and music, and my personal input with this new, mysterious and apparently dangerous form of media. Watching the demo reels and seeing further into the games before I'd even started them, wondering just what other challenges and new places I'd come across in time. Engrossed and immersed in ways that film or book hadn't done so before, I could spend hours now on something that would've only taken one or two before in some other form. Then I'd step into the PC, Windows and DOS gaming, discovering yet more of what I desired, but with even richer colors, better music and more intense feedback with games like Sonic CD, Hexen, and of course Doom. I could tell I gravitated towards anything that was fast paced, colorful and loud, and especially violent.

But when it came to genuinely terrifying titles like Quake, Blood, Diablo, Postal, Silent Hill and Manhunt, I also saw that this seemingly 'kid friendly' atmosphere could and would take on a darker form. Twisted worlds of bleakness, horror elements, and mature themes and storylines, I would get older at 12-15, and it was here I'd find that not everything had to necessarily be upbeat and 'happy' for me to enjoy them, or even fast. I found a part in me that became captivated and longed for further study of the macabre, the nightmarish realms, that there wasn't always going to be happy endings. A particular favorite of mine, Run Like Hell, showed me that the damsel in distress couldn't always be saved, and that best friends would have to make sacrifices. There was a strange beauty to this newfound darkness, and it would serve to inspire me in future pursuits. There also longed for true freedom, and the Grand Theft Auto and Carmageddon series allowed me to toy with sandboxes and carve my own path to victory, a freedom seldom had in reality. Sometimes I'd find that great struggles to overcome seemingly impossible odds elsewhere were more attractive than in life, like trying to get off a hostile alien planet in Unreal, which would've been preferable IRL compared to some of my hell years in 2010-2013.

Nowadays, I really enjoy games that stand out and take risks, attempting things we don't always see or expect, take the first Quake compared to its sequel, it was dark, weird, moody and was brimming with personality. Quake II was just the same techbase over and over, Doom 3 was the same Mars facility over and over, I really detest overly grounded games unless they got something else going for them. But more-so, I also wish some games would just be games. Wolfenstein 3D may be simple and archaic nowadays, but at least it doesn't try to pretend to be more than what it always was, with the rather yawn inducing eye rolling political drama of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, not everything has to have a deep rich or meaningful story, not everything can be Silent Hill or Metal Gear Solid. IPs that didn't use to interest me like Mario or Zelda look infinitely more attractive nowadays because they're still games. With the 5th and 6th generation of consoles the industry was still passionate and enjoyed making games. Nowadays you have to seek out the indie scene or hope for a good remaster or re-release of something you cared about than whatever triple A are doing, what with the horrible industry practices thanks to the suits.

Altogether I'd say games are just a hobby, as I don't really like the 'gamer' title, but among my most important endeavors, I strive for the unknown, the adventure, the struggle, the freedom, and the escape, and I view games as art, meaningful ways to express creativity and sometimes really good stories, but also just being plain fun is what counts at the end of most days. I hate predictable and soulless stuff, pretentiously artsy or drab and mundane, maybe because life is already mostly just that, and if I'm going to get lost and immerse myself in another place for a few hours, it better be exciting and rewarding. We need to better preserve the gems, however rough they are, for future generations to come, so that when and if gaming as we knew it turns into something even uglier, people can see that there was once a true passion for the arts, a simpler time.

I also met my S/O through video games, so there's that too.

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There are video games that will remain in your heart and mind... They are art,  they are poetry... Something that you will never let go specially when it inspires you to create your own video games or at least imagine them. There are many games that are my inspiration and my good memories of childhood. I consider them dreams come true.

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i guess games might be an artform and some games with depth and a message can be considered art. not teh most qualified to expound on this point but i know that art doesn't just mean "a good thing i want to be taken seriously". i don't think the transformers movies are art just because they're in teh genre of cinema alongside el topo but you could say artists had a hand in making them.


i always get fascinated exploring tile-based environments in games whether they're in a 2d perspective like Ultima or or a 3d one like Captive. especially as in those two examples when the games are made essentially by one person, or when there seems to be some amount of unfinished or confused, misapplied or unexplained content quietly visible in the game world. (Daggerfall!) eccentric and mysterious ego games like these will definitely be a source of machine spirituality to come.


i spend hours drawing my own tile-based pixel art stuff and making tools to help draw and arrange them on the screen... never got as far as making a game of my own because it's too easy to find places in teh process to restart but it is sort of a dream of mine anyway to make an overhead RPG with some serious simulationist mechanics.


(i sorta feel like once video game consoles expanded past having a bunch of primitive registers, ascending beyond the need to make these tile-based, turn-based games, that an important archetype became obscured and only recently resurfaced thanks largely to handhold and indie devs.)


random algorithms for developing areas are the other main draw to me. again taking the example of Captive, reading about how the levels are constructed internally based on a random seed is something i find puts my imagination into overdrive. of course i care about level design too because i'm on this forum but teh devil in teh random details of games like these is what i study more closely. the intended fun factor of a game is about eighth on the list to be honest; i make my own fun by being a niche weirdo and there's more lovely bizarre-ness to be found in games where the developers obviously cared more about creating the world.

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With a television or computer monitor. I'll be damned if I'll strap a TV to my face to look through a screen door.

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Personally I think video games are art by the same virtue that a painting or a song is art, in fact most of the time a video game is both at once. Just look at the diverse and interesting maps this community has brought forth, add in the many cool MIDIs that have been composed over time, and there's no way it's not art, and it's more than something that can "only" be listened to or looked at and thought about.


I think they're valuable to have as a part of modern culture, if you want to call it that, and even though there is certainly gonna be some outrgeous tech in the future that makes video games even more "real" and whatnot I think we can consider ourselves fortunate that we were around most of the time -if not all of it- when video games developed from being small "time sinkers", like pac-man or pong or whatever, to these really complex and "wholesome" experiences which they are today.


Of course there's also the kind of stuff we have to deal with shit that revolves around companies like EA squeezing as much money out of their customers as possible, and then there's the recent inclusion of what is now called "gaming disorder" to mental disorders that was made by the WHO, which caused some debates here and elsewhere. So there's a lot that needs to be learned when it comes to handling with this medium we're dealing with here. And by "we" I mean legislation and ourselves as ordinary consumers, since there's some "limping behind" going on in regards to games on pretty much all ends. But games are worth it, IMO.

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3 hours ago, CARRiON said:

Personally, I find a lot of joy in dissecting a game and trying to figure out what makes it tick (or doesn't), and why I might find something enjoyable (or don't).

Yeah, this is definitely very fun to do. You talked about the designs of environments or stuff, but I'm not sure whether dissecting mechanics is also included. For me, understanding and researching about the core mechanics of a game is a lot of fun. Then I can make strategies accordingly. Besides video games, I would like to do this to board games since they are a clearer math model most of the time.


Of course, video games would waste a lot of time, and to be honest, I think I wasted too much time on them. However, I still managed to get something out of it, so I still think games are fine unless the game requires nothing but time (eg: modern cellphone daily games).

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According to me, art is merely creations that have meaning to both the author and to others. Video Games are art then. I'm one who replays video games to death and spends more time analyzing their design choices and their impact. This is probably why I value video game criticism almost as much as the actual game.


I value experimentation and refinement primarily. Games like Shadow of the Colossus, Demon's Souls, and Devil May Cry are amongst my favorites because of how they break out of the expectations games were held to back then. Shadow of the Colossus is a masterfully crafted experience with solid mechanics, a bleak and apathetic world clearly designed to spur introspection. Demon's Souls is grueling, methodical, and has design decisions that sound terrible on paper but work incredibly well in practice. Devil May Cry spurred a genre of games with incredible creative freedom, mechanical complexity, and depth, rivaled only by fighting games. On the other end, games like Dark Souls, Doom, Devil May Cry 3 are symbolic of refinement. They take inspiration from their predecessors and improve upon them in different ways.


Games are profitable though. That automatically slates them towards dumbing-down, mass appeal, and pandering. I am not too hassled about it though. Every medium has mediocre works, and video games are no different. However, I prefer extremely honed and refined genres of gaming, even if that means I may not enjoy all of them. I find it happening to a certain degree even now, with genres that are remarkably well-explored but ultimately unappealing to me (such as bullet hells). I don't enjoy bullet hell games at all, but I cannot deny the creative ways the genre has spread its wings.


Game preservation is an excellent idea. One noticeable trait of recent years is that several games began embracing older design philosophies (somewhat awkwardly preserving them). We have a resurgence of 3D Platformers, Metroidvanias, and Survival Horror. We have old and new juggernauts return such as Team Ninja's Nioh, Capcom's Monster Hunter World & Devil May Cry HD Collection, From Software's Dark Souls Remastered, id Software's Doom, and of course, Nintendo's Mario Odyssey & Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Now, this may be pandering to the past, but it indicates that a return to older game design philosophies may be happening soon. For me, 2017 was one of the best years for gaming. I am hopeful for the future.

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Pff, I could probably write a wall of text about this if I have the inspiration, but right now I actually don't, so it's going to be pretty damn short and straight to the point. Or maybe not, got a little more inspiration since I originally posted.


For me, just like music, I view video games as a form of (meaningful) art to both the creators and the players, and each game provides a very different experience and feeling. Sometimes I use games as a means to escape from this sometimes detestable ball of dirt rather than just enjoy myself. I've played games since I was 4 or so on some NES thingies when I had hundreds of cartridges. Compared to the wide variety and large numbers of games I played back then and how many I play nowadays... well it's laughable, but then it's not like I have as much time as I had at the time.


But nowadays gaming is more like a hobby than anything else to me, but I surely still am just as fascinated by the mechanics, story, lore etc. of some of them and try to immerse myself into their world as much as I can, yet this usually works only or best with story oriented games that also take themselves serious, but it largely depends on the game. I would certainly not like something that tries just too much and doesn't really succeed. Either way, if you take your time and analyze/dissect them there's usually a lot to be found under the hood, despite their sometimes apparent simplicity. The richer their world and the more attention is paid to the details that add something to the experience, the better. I don't necessarily have a favorite genre although I tend to focus more on shooters despite how generic they can sometimes be, but they tend to be the most accessible and easy to get into and used to, especially if the required time for something else isn't really there, yet I also love fighting, fantasy and sci fi themed titles, especially the last two because they break the imprisoning chains of reality and its limitations and let the rivers of creativity and imagination flow. I also prefer the first person perspective if it's available, like in Elder Scrolls for instance, I rarely ever go into third person unless I want to admire my characters or equipment, any other perspective tends to take away the immersion by reminding myself of controlling a character as opposed to me being the player, but of course this differs from game to game. If it's story driven and it's quite captivating, combined with the design, characters, sound and atmosphere then I get hooked to it and easily immerse myself into its world regardless of the mechanics.


Still, over the years I've started losing interest in games overall, probably because I can't focus on them as much as I did or would like to, and because the industry is in decline, putting out more and more soulless works, copycats, or endlessly milking their money cows, some of the main reasons I stick to old games in general, just like music, they had something special to offer that is glaringly absent these days and they were not afraid of doing what they wanted, regardless of how they'd be perceived, were not out for your wallet, pushed the limits, didn't try to please anyone or conform to something, and had more reasons to exist. That's how real art is or should be at the core, unconventional and unapologetic.


10 hours ago, cyan0s1s said:

Nowadays, I really enjoy games that stand out and take risks, attempting things we don't always see or expect, take the first Quake compared to its sequel, it was dark, weird, moody and was brimming with personality.


Nowadays you have to seek out the indie scene or hope for a good remaster or re-release of something you cared about than whatever triple A are doing, what with the horrible industry practices thanks to the suits.

^ This pretty much sums up my thoughts. I appreciate risk takers who also bring something new to the table, rather than "play it safe" just to attract sheer numbers of people and doing exactly what others do, never exploring new territory. It's time for something more unique or groundbreaking.

Edited by Agent6

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Games are an important part of my life nowadays.

The joy I find in them is great and although some other things are more important and fulfilling, I still play games. They can be really wonderful and unique.


Games can be an art form.

But for them to be successful, the art needs to more or less take the backseat.

Gameplay, setting and story go always first.


For an example, look at "games" like Abzu, Journey, Flower, e.t.c.

Those fuckers are not games by any sense of the word.

Do you know why?



Do they have a story? NO! And even if they do have, it is not comprehensible.

Do they have gameplay? NO! They are boring walking/swimming/flying/whatever simulators.

Do you understand anything in their world? NO! Everything is painted on the walls and any NPC's around are dead silent.


You know what? I bet that not even all of the guys in those games' dev teams can understand their meaning.

Just the freaking designer, who came up with the most cryptic idea and wanted to create art, that he would later sell.

You damned fool! If I want just art, I will buy a painting or a music CD. Not your "game", because when I play a game, I want it to be a game!


Now let's look at the opposite side of the spectrum.

Half of the AAA games are cover shooters, with Batman combat and they may also contain zombos, because you have to have zombies in your game.

And what exactly went wrong here?

Are those not games?


They are definitely games. But they are boring ass games.

You know why?

Because they lack art and attention to detail.

Random examples:

Look at Gears of War or Destiny or Battlefront or new Assassins creeds. Even watching those games made me sick. 


Then play some Max Payne. Isn't Max Payne an action game, like the previous titles I mentioned?

Is it fun? More fun than the others could wish for!

Is it mindless killing? No, it has a good story and every kill brings you closer to your goal of justice and personal revenge.

Is it believable? Even by today's standards, it is.

Its dark and greedy world is a piece of art. And the game doesn't shove its art in your face. If you want to enjoy the art, then by all means, go ahead and do so. If you don't want to, you can pass it by. No one's going to start shouting at you. It is the game you bought and you play it any way you like.


So, what should a game do. Honestly, I don't know.

A game can have varying percentages of gameplay and art and it may succeed or may fail.

A game should do what works best for it.

But never should it be full art and never should it be full gameplay.

There is the sweet spot in-between.



Finally, I always love to get absorbed in the world of a game and I appreciate every tiny detail I can find.

It is nice playing a game with good music, a nice setting, story and maybe its own art style. Those things make it a unique experience and a unique game. And there are many more unique games out there.

That is gaming. A huge variety. Choose what you want and have fun.

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To me, video games are entertainment first and foremost. I play video games out of a desire to be entertained - which most games manage quite well.


As far as video games as an art form is concerned, I'm a firm believer in the notion that video games are indeed art. I'm not one to bash people who argue against it, but the way I see it, the fact that video games (most of them anyway) combine audio and visuals into an interactive experience is enough grounds to categorize them as an art form - a wonderfully unique one at that.

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Lot of good stuff to talk about, and I like the SNK, Mega Man, and point and click adventure gifs by the way!


On the post saying video games are your life, that reminds me of when one of my best friends said movies are his life, years back. We both used to rent countless movies on the discount Tuesdays back in the day, catching up on all the classics and new cult classics etc. Any hobby or interest in art can seem like it's a huge part of your life, or even "your life" if you're still soul searching etc, I can see that. And being a gamer is for sure a big part of the identity of me and my friends, or at least something we'll always bring up and wear on our sleeve so to speak.


I'll say, on if it's entertainment, what role it plays etc, I do think for some it's almost like a job. And to me a lot of the games do give you busywork, which I think games could cut back on. Like a treadmill where you feel you're getting somewhere, this can be fun and whether or not it's well done is subjective, but sometimes I do think games could get where they're going while using a bit less of my time.

An example, that new Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Really great game, but it being so huge and realistic-ish in scale, taking so much time to travel and explore many hills and mountains. I'd actually like it if everything was closer together and the world was say 70% of that scale, a bit more like it was on N64. But this is a side-ramble, I think a big part of game design especially lately is on keeping the player engaged in feeling like they're getting things, unlocking things, leveling things, grinding etc, like it's a career. And I have I guess some criticism towards that, especially stuff like MMOs, to me a lot of stuff in games feels like busywork. But everybody is engaged by and enjoys different stuff.


So, games are art, a diversion, entertainment, I really admire a lot of games, love Hideo's Metal Gear Solid games as mentioned above, and Max Payne also mentioned, those really connect with me. And of course stuff like those great SNK arcade games also connect with me and stick with me, ditto for Street Fighter, not just story and immersion, great timeless gameplay is also art. Anyways, it's fun to talk about, and agreed maybe we spend a bit more time obsessing (or for example, arguing with people on the internet -speaking from past experience), but we're all here for a reason. Games are important to us.

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Raven Software.




Here is a company I think deserves a little more respect.


Not only did this company make some fantastic original games, they also made fantastic Star Wars games, and a decent Star Trek game, and some good X-Men games. However I mostly want to comment on their original games real quick.


If you've played a lot or most of Raven's games, I think one thing that stands out is their love of small details. The way those gun-toting psychos fly in the air and gib into pieces when you hit them in Necrodome, the way the gun moves and shifts to your mouse in CyClones, the way gargoyles splat into pieces and mummies have spirits flying out of their corpse upon death in Heretic, or how liquids splash when you enter them. The leaves blowing, glass shattering, pots breaking, lava sputtering, gas clouds forming from mushrooms, all in Hexen alone. They really knew how to make their worlds feel just a little bit more alive then the competition. And for that I appreciate their artists and programmer's efforts. These are just a few examples, all their games, from Black Crypt, to ShadowCaster, to Cylcones, to Take No Prisoners, Mageslayer, Necrodome and beyond are packed full of details. However a great example of art direction complementing game mechanics would have to be Soldier of Fortune's gore system. (BTW, go play SoF, it's funny to see how many CoD-ism's it had and actually feels almost like a CoD 0 at times!).


The fact they start the game with you toting a shotgun just goes to show how proud of that little system they where too. The sound of the shotgun is a loud and menacing bark. And upon impact of an enemy, you're sure to see at the very least and arm or leg fly off. It makes the guns feel like it really has a mean bite, and I absolutely loved it. Another great detail would have to be how when you emptied a machinegun into an enemy, they literally do the bullet-cha-cha before collapsing to the floor full of holes. These details made the guns feel way more powerful.




It's the sort of thing that reminds me of something like headshots in the Resident Evil games. Especially 4 and below. When you get a headshot in those games, which is encouraged because uh, they're zombies, you're rewarded with a sickening sound of a skull splitting apart followed by an explosion of blood and gore. It makes something like the shotgun feel immensely satisfying to use. Resident Evil 4 imo is absolutely great with player feedback in regards to your weapons. You can spin and toss ganados around like bags of potatoes with your weapons, and a well placed shotgun blast or grenade will send multiple through the air! Not many games let you shred multiple popcorn enemies like paper, but man does it feel good! Plus that game completely throws you for a loop later on when headshots actually start to become somewhat dangerous due to the parasite!




I'll probably rant and rave about Survival Horror games more when I have some free time to kill, because it's definitely a genre I think was very special. I just wanted to show Raven a little love quick. They were a company that not only had great art, great attention to detail but also solid game mechanics and a good understanding of great game design and feedback.


Edit: Also, DILDOMASTER666 is doing a fantastic thing by preserving ShadowCaster. When substantial progress is made, I highly recommend people go play that game. Most of Raven's very old games are largely forgotten gems, and all have very cool ideas and concepts I see rarely explored.

Edited by CARRiON

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I think games as an art form have a lot of potential but it hasn't been explored that much yet. In most games only a small portion of playing time is dedicated to fascinating discussion of various ideas or masterful depiction of them that makes you think and feel things. The rest is usually just "pure gameplay" that's of very little interest intellectually and often isn't even that engaging. For this reason there are not that many games that I've finished. Typically after a few sittings I start to feel like I've already absorbed the atmosphere of the game and familiarized myself with the ideas present, so all that's left for me is mindless grind. And that's where my brain gets bored really fast. Unfortunately, the majority of creators is still mainly interested in prolonging their games as much as possible rather than in developing the art aspect further.

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Some of them I view as means to sell skins and trading cards to get some extra free money and buy more games, others just as a distraction to spend time.

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Much like pretty much everyone else said: Its a art form. I could write walls of text explaining what and what, but chances are it has already been told in this thread, so I will keep it simple:


For me, games are art. It can inspire me, it often does, it provides a cinematic like experience similar to an adventure, no matter the quality. If there is no plot, I make the plot. If the graphics are horrendous, I can bear through them and see something else. I will rarely dismiss a game and call it bad unless they devs really want to drive in some stupid point about, I dunno, like: "boo hoo humanity is weak we will die boo hoo", I can say "fuck this game" just because of these cliche points, no matter the gameplay. The worst form of irony: Having a player character be a human who will mow down hordes of demons and zombies and then just say "lel humanity is fucked ecksdee". Stuff like that will make me dismiss even the best of "masterpieces". Don't bother playing on the nihilism card with folks like me; that shit is overdone.


That being said I can really like all sorts of games, even those that have bad gameplay and are literally considered the worst; to me, there is nothing a good atmosphere cannot fix. Make it overly edgy and "satirical" and prepare for a spitfest. If I wanted to be told how much of a zombie I am for the government or the Illuminati I would open up FB thank you very much. I don't care that I like shooting pixel people, nor do I care about the mental image this can create, if you want me to feel bad, just lemme connect to the characters and then do what you want with them, rubbing it into my face that I am a "murderer" will most certainly have me groaning in boredom instead of gasping in shock.




Either way, games aren't really worth obsessing over or spending 80% of your time on them. I understand developers and designers who live off that kinda work, but just pouring time and money into something trivial without getting anything back other than "experience" and "memories" is just... kinda lame to me. This is kinda what bothers me with professional speedrunners. These people dedicate their time to learn an entire game engine piece by piece, element by element, to maximize their gameplay... and then what? It just doesn't impress me. If some of these speedrunners use their game knowledge to make games, then I understand, and even accept that notion: having a lot of experience under the belt with speedrunning helps to ensure the smoothest of gameplay; an excellent idea. But if I were to wait for an appointment in some hallway, and was given a opportunity to watch someone livestream a speedrun through Half Life; I would rather stare at the wall and be entertained by my own thoughts.



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I haven't much else to be honest, I have no other hobbies and no other "talents" I could really use. I've met a lot of my friends through it and it's all I ever really can do.


That's quite pathetic and sad really, but that is a very fitting depiction of life in my village.

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My problem with video games in general is the whole "better graphics" thing. I'm not sure who thought making everything look like plastic action figures would be a good idea, but basically that.


And while we still have "hardcore games", like Dark Souls, I feel most games got too casualized to be really enjoyed, they feel like 1/3 of what a game used to offer back in the day.


But that's nothing new to anyone here I guess, so let me tell you about a game I really appreciate: Kairo


Normally I don't like adventures that much, but Kairo was different. You just get thrown in there, without a real explanation what's going on and that's it. It leaves room for interpretation and the best: It makes you think about what you're actually playing.


Another one would be The Beginner's Guide, but that's more of a interactive story about game development, though the way it is presented is quite interesting.

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Just to get that out of the way, yes, I think videogames are art.


Games are a huge part of my life. I play as often as I can, because I really love to get immersed in these fantastic worlds, away from the limitations of reality.


I can't enjoy simulation games because of that. I mean, if I wanted to drive a car and be forced to drive extremely carefully because it'll become an useless piece of metal if I thouch a wall for a split second while going at 200 mph, I'd do it IRL. To me, videogames are a way to escape from the shackles of logic and physics, so I especially love when they give you unlimited saves and allow you to experiment and do insanities without penalties.


When it comes to genres, I don't really care as long as I feel immersed, so 3D games - especially first-person ones - are what I look for. There are exceptions, of course. Some of my favorite games are in third-person or even 2D, but the fact that I feel like I'm controlling a character as opposed to being the character, kinda bothers me. Seeing everything flat in a 2D game can also ruin things for me (this is especially bad in side-scrollers) but again, some games are good enough for me to not care.


I usually don't think a whole lot about the design or inner workings of a game on my first playthrough, just to keep the immersion. Subsequent playthroughs are a different story, though, I love to "dismantle" a game and see its inner workings, or just look at the architecture and detail of levels and see the amount of effort that went into making them (As a side note, I recently played Ghosts I-IV for Quake, and one of its features is a "tourism mode", where no monsters are present and you can't take damage. Perfect ocassion to look around the levels without the lust for blood distracting you, cool stuff).


About preserving games, I think it's something that defininetly, absolutely should be done. I DESPISE EA and other big companies because of that (not to mention other BS practices), in fact, I took the decision of pirating the shit out of their games, and I encourage everyone to do the same. Or, if you don't want to feel like a "criminal", buy them from second hand. Just don't give them money. If they want to be assholes, then I'll be an asshole in return.

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Like many others in this thread I mainly use games as an artistic/creative outlet these days, particularly on the mapping side.  Fittingly it was primarily Doom that initially got me into that side of gaming, with its promotion of exploration of abstract worlds and immersion.  I don't think the violence in Doom has been a bad influence on me at all- especially with it being "cartoony" violence, I see it as a very "humane" outlet for those primitive human hunting instincts, where we can psychologically go hunting while knowing we aren't going to hurt or kill any real humans or animals in the process, and figuring out strategies for overcoming demonic hurdles (or setting them up, if you're mapping) can be an outlet for creativity in itself.  Notable examples of other games that subsequently added to my "gaming as an art form" approach included Hexen and the original Half-Life.  There is also a fair amount of cross-over between my interest in video games as an art form and my interest in music. 


But video games definitely have their negative uses as well.  In my view there's a very bad type of addictive gameplay which is often used to get people hooked and enhance the game's longevity, namely the "playing and replaying something in order to reach a goal, and getting frustrated when you keep getting so near and then something stupid happens to throw you back to the beginning again" type.  I often got addicted to that type of gameplay when I was little, and it becomes a means to an end where you feel that having tried so many times, you have to keep going, not unlike the darker excesses of gambling.  Often when I see studies blaming increased human aggression and hyperactivity on "violent video games", I think it may well be more about this type of gameplay than the violence.

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About the tired subject whether games are art, I have changed my mind a bit. I used to think that it's great that games are considered art, but the question now is why do I need that? Is it because we need validation for our hobby? Is it because gamers were taking shit from society so they want retribution? And I am with gamers, on their side. But do we have to make games into sophisticated looking stories, where it's more like interactive movies, so as the pretend games are serious now? And maybe see some other genres as juvenile? And even the games that some people see as art, for example Last of Us, because they mimic movies. But after some emotional deep cinematics, you go out and bash enemies, so it gets anticlimatic. Or is Braid, Flower or Journey art because they have beautiful artistic visuals so they can pretend to be something less juvenile than Doom? Or is it the mechanics? For me the only part of a game that differentiates the genre from movies. But is it art? The definition of art depends on who you ask too.


So, in few words I agree with that guy Ebert, in the sense that yes I will play all kind of games whether they are considered art or juvenile, and I won't give a damn whether someone else outside the community finds them sophisticated or not. I don't need to beg from them to understand why I am so invested in this hobby.


Now, I can't disagree that there are a lot of artistic elements in games. But it's a blend of other art movements, digital art, music, architecture, storytelling, etc. I admire the pixel art of the oldschool games, I am also very interest in the technical aspects of games (is coding art or craft?). I admire all these elements and I also admire the game community as it has grown so big and now it's so diverse if you think about it. Besides AAA games, you have emulation, indies, homebrew, big game competitions (like ludum dare and others), big modding communities, speedruns, twitch, youtube channels, digital markets like steam/gog. You have so many choices (if you hate big titles, you go indie or just play classics from gog or in emuls) and there is a bigger dimension for me besides playing, there is modding, and there is writing your own game which was like a dream in the past, but now you can either write small games in some competitions, or use tools that relief you from some coding, or go lowlevel or retro coding (even the retro gamedev is back now, on oldschool computers or consoles, I can't believe that it's still relevant and more popularized through the internet).


Now the game community has expanded and there are so many way to get involved, of course the side effect would be that we become more mainstream and this attracts some things that disrupt, e.g. gamers became too political but of course because of the influx of feminists, however thinking about it gaming should not be taken serious, I don't really get angry about what EA does, just don't buy their game. Also if you think about it, gaming IS a luxury, in my opinion there are more important and basic things in life than the rights to no be bombarded with DLCs and Lootboxes (just don't buy them). I do like however to observe what's going on with the controversies, though usually don't care enough to be involved and being outraged about.

Edited by Optimus

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I view games as a form of entertainment, a hobby, a sport, and a possible source of income, like getting paid to develop a game, or being at that pro level.

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On 2/28/2018 at 1:48 AM, Optimus said:

I used to think that it's great that games are considered art, but the question now is why do I need that? Is it because we need validation for our hobby? Is it because gamers were taking shit from society so they want retribution?


Personally speaking, it's because seeing people pour their everything into a game only for it to ultimately be seen as nothing more then a juvenile toy pisses me off. Yes, video games are a collection of many different artistries. But the thing is, is that they all work together to create a cohesive experience for you the player to explore.


If movies were going through this same thing, I'd be equally pissed off.


Nobody needs to come out and champion games as a work of art all loud and proud, I just wish people would respect them as such. It's like when these people say e-sports can never be sports because "it's a game". As if Football, baseball, basketball or hockey are not already games? That they are somehow more sophisticated? From my understanding, in e-sports you still need to train, you still need high endurance, you need intelligence, you need good reflexes. So what's the hold up?


Honestly, if you really think about it then, the real question isn't "why are video games not art?", it's "why do someone people hate the idea of video games being art?". And perhaps the answers is as simple as "they are old and hate new things.". Who knows.


Some even go so far as to say the interactivity takes away from anyone owning it, and that alone makes it not art. So that even makes the actual artsy fartsy games I don't care for at all like Gone Home or Dear Esther or Braid not "art".


As far as programming being an art, some would very much argue that yes, it is. It requires skill, and it requires being inventive and creative. You apply your wisdom and knowledge that you have to it, and you can self-express with it.

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