Why is gaming an All Inclusive Art Vacation you ask? A culture bases itself on many different principles, what food we eat, what we drink, what cars we drive, what music we enjoy, what we watch on TV, what books we read, what art we like, and about 7 and a half million other things. All of those are great. People use books, music, movies, and art to take mini-vacations from their lives for many reasons. But, there is one thing that sets itself apart because it includes movies, art, books, and music, all in one awesome little package. That one thing is, of course, games.
Sometimes great art is the form of the cel-shaded graphics of highly acclaimed first person shooter, Borderlands 2, or the attempted realism set within the fantasy universe of the Skyrim. (Take a peak at some screen shots of a heavily modified version of Skyrim and you’ll see what I mean.) Art is emotion we can see, and feel. Video game art is experienced. These are examples that art exists within games, but this is a short list that doesn’t even begin to describe the true nature of art within games.
The path of redemption of John Marston in Red Dead Redemption, the identity crisis of Darth Revan in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the rare unconditional love of Lee and Clementine in the Walking Dead episodic video game illustrate amazing tales of people we grow to love, or maybe hate, and how they evolve and grow (or in Drake’s case, stay hilariously the same) throughout stories of their fictional lives, putting us gamers in the drivers seat. Those are just a few great stories in gaming within the last few years, that doesn’t even mention the likes of the beloved Zelda series, which has been with us ABOUT as long as console gaming has been around. Part two of the vacation.
Music is emotion given voice. Whether it is the Grammy award winning song “Baba Yetu” from Civilization IV, a first for a video game, or the Grammy award nominated soundtrack from the PS3 exclusive, Journey or the heavy metal intro music to Final Fantasy X, games have some of the best music around. Who doesn’t like great music? Gamers certainly love the music in their games. It can add to the immersion and atmosphere allowing you to be further transported into the video game world. Try listening to Malukah’s rendition of “Dragonborn Comes” while playing Skyrim and not feeling like the Dragonborn. Or try listening to the sounds and music within Journey when you first find your “friend” or whom I thought of as a long lost brother, without feeling some sort of joy and then pure sadness when they were gone. Part three.
Whether it is in the adventures of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, in the newly rebooted Tomb Raider franchise where we see the beginnings of Lara Croft, the spacefaring Commander Shepard and crew of the Normandy, or the infamous 27-minute cut scene from Metal Gear Solid 4, video games can feel like movies. Movies we love or movies we hate. Some movies we love to hate, (Michael Bay and Transformers, anyone?) Movies exists as short encounters with art in the form of visualization. These encounters can be all the more riveting when you have a vested interest in the character when you play as them for 25 or over 100 hours through three games. (Mass Effect, gotta experience both morality options, right?) And finally, part four.
Video games are a prime example of a mini-vacation. But, what makes them great is not one specific part within the game. It’s that inside a game we can appreciate fine art, we can watch amazing movies, see inspiring dialogue, and listen to immersive music that truly connects us to the experience of the game. Separately, art, movies, books, and music allow us to submerge into different realities and feel entirely new emotions. By combining them video games creates experiences unlike any other.
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This article was first posted on March 26, 2013