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Gamer's Piece: Videogames: A superior art form

By Alex Sferrazza
On April 15, 2014

Video games are the supreme art form of the 21st century because their very DNA is comprised of all other great expressions of art that have come before it.
One of the most significant setbacks I have experienced in my life as a gamer occurred in 2005 when the legendary film critic Roger Ebert declared that video games were not art, a position he reiterated in 2010. The comments had two disheartening setbacks. They came from the pen of the man I consider to be the finest film critic in history and they also highlighted the disappointing reality that games will continue to be considered a lesser art form by those who are unfamiliar and unwilling to engage with the medium.
On that note I would like to present my counter-argument to stress not only why I love video games, but also why I believe they are potentially representative of the greatest art form of our time.
Some games contain a story within as fine as those seen in some of the great works of literature. Some notable examples that come to mind are the brilliant satire of "Grand Theft Auto V," the dark comedy we experience in "Portal 2," the tragedy of "Red Dead Redemption" and the grandness of "Final Fantasy VI." Video games have provided stories as enjoyable as those crafted ages ago by the likes of Twain, Dickens, Tolkien and many more.
Have you ever seen a beautiful painting and imagined what it would be like to jump inside and explore it? One of the most amazing things about modern titles with incredible art design is that the finished project isn't a stationary, flat painting but rather an expansive two or three-dimensional world you're free to explore. From the gritty post apocalyptic United States seen in "Fallout 3" to an entire city located deep beneath the ocean's surface in "Bioshock" or the medieval kingdom of Hyrule in "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time," video games allow you to experience a VIP journey into the realms of imagination.
Fans of great film and television productions will find similar experiences in games, with the exception that the excitement can last for days upon days, instead of just a few short hours. Furthermore, due to the interactive nature of the medium, you often get to be in the movie, so to speak. Games like "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" and "Mass Effect 2" often make the player feel as if they're in control of their very own blockbuster production.
Additionally, if you've ever admired iconic film scores from classics like "The Godfather," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Schindler's List," you'll be pleased to know that video games have been home to some equally epic soundtracks with Gustavo Santaolalla's work on "The Last of Us" and Harry Gregson-Williams' compositions in the "Metal Gear Solid" series serving as but a few of gaming music's true highlights.
No other form of artistic expression has ever come close to engrossing audiences in the way video games have. For the first time in human history, stories aren't witnessed from an outside point of view or told with the aid of one's imagination but rather they can be experienced first hand.
Video games can be as stylized as a graphic novel or as cinematic as a motion picture: as engrossing as a novel or as artistic as the Renaissance. Their genres may spread far and wide, but there is little doubt in my mind that many video games stand as nothing less than true works of art.
 


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