This week in my Digital Humanities class, the question was asked, “Do games count?”
Count as what? As art, as a film, and as interactive fiction. The answer is whole heartedly yes.
I might be biased because I, myself, am a gamer. I really enjoy letting myself become immersed in the fictional world that I’m living through my character with. I see most games as interactive movies. For example, I personally have and played all the Batman: Arkham games. Each game is a different story and they are even connected. For example, the last game that was made is Arkham Origins, which is a prequel that shows the new Batman figuring out who his worst enemies are. (Batman: Arkham Knight – the last of the series comes out June 2, 2015 for Xbox One and PS4)
But what’s really important about these games is the story line. They could have been made into feature films, but making them into games gives players the ability to really experience becoming the character and living in his or her world. I think most games are like this – they totally immerse the player into a world where he or she can freely explore, discover, build, destroy, and experience something they would never be able to in the real world.
Additionally, a lot of time, effort and money go into making all types of games. It takes serious skills to design entire worlds filled with characters who have their own emotions and dialogue but don’t even exist. The details in today’s games are so realistic and precise that they are life like. That type of dedication to detail deserves to be recognized as art.
While a lot of people like to argue that video games hinder creativity and problem solving, I think it can be a useful tool for doing the opposite. Playing through worlds where you have specific goals that you need to meet inspire problem solving. Situations that require the player to critically think about new ways to obtain an item or save another character also stimulate problem solving techniques. Video games can also inspire creativity, whether it be while creating your own personal world or simply changing the appearance of your character.
Video games do count as interactive fiction, film, and art. They are tools that provide players an outlet to a world where they can escape their problems and can instead focus on the problems of their character.