Top 5 Video Games as Art
The Smithsonian in Washington DC decided to weigh in on the debate rather heavily by hosting an exhibit on video game art, which focused on the evolution of gaming as a medium by featuring playable copies of Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower. The exhibition is on display through September 30.
5. Mass Effect
Bioware's generic space-themed title casts the player in the malleable role of Commander Shepard, an intergalactic badass that saves planets and kisses aliens. The game's plot is relatively rigid. Within the plot, however, players are given a variety of ethical decisions that tilt a character towards the game's ethical binary of "Paragon" and "Renegade."
games attempt to shoehorn moral choices, but this is the first one
where the only option is heroism, but it's up to the player to decide
what kind of heroism they engage in. The paragon is a Luke Skywalker
messiah-like figure. The renegade is Boba Fett, the hard-as-nails
badass who has a morally ambiguous job to do and accomplishes it with
Rather than filming a movie with two endings, Bioware produced a game that allows the player to affect their personality upon the game's narrative. The resultant depth stems from the fact that the narrative is a result of something personal rather than purely the creation of an omniscient narrator.
|Mountain Dew sponsorships only bolster the game's deep Marxist symbolism|
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Modern Warfare serves as a symbolic parody of war movies intercut with the harsh realities of human conflict. The player begins the game as a member of an elite commando unit with a mission to stop the terrorists. He does this by killing a lot of nameless bad guys.
The game shifts its narrative to an unnamed American soldier about a quarter of the way through, and then the opportunity to use English major powers arises. Eventually a nuclear bomb explodes, and the player is actually granted control of their character as he staggers and croons his death rattle. The immediate expectation upon receiving control was "Well, I've soaked a million bullets. Why not a nuclear bomb?" I was answered by a summary fade to black.
rest of the game was experienced by killing lots of enemies, at least the player feels some sort of loss. The closest comparison to be drawn would be a series like Band of Brothers, except the emotions of death are experienced internally as the player character is literally dying.
Rez is often lumped into the "games as art" camp, but it's one of those guilty-by-association titles. The game feels like a Stan Brackhage experimental film except with fun. The game, thankfully, is not just meant to be played at a 90s rave while Tiesto makes an appearance on the ones and the twos.
Taking the role of a pixellated thing that shoots lasers and evolves, players navigate an acid world with weird impressionistic symbolism. Probably. The important part is it's trippy and obtuse while still being fun.