Entries in games as art (3)


Dear Esther review - A mesmerizing journey

I crest the top of the hill slowly. A distant lighthouse comes into view, dirty white against a grey sky. Seagulls cry and a brisk wind disturbs the overgrown foliage on this forgotten path. The sun is slowly sinking behind the cliff, the last of its rays reflecting off of the water that spreads endlessly in every direction. A large radio tower, out of place amidst the remote desolation, beckons me with its soft pulsating light.

As I continue to make my way forward, always at a measured pace, I stop frequently to take in the incredible details of the landscape surrounding me. Never before have I encountered such an enchanting locale. Its sheer beauty is nothing less than stunning. Without saying a word it manages to be powerful and descriptive.

My journey tells me the story of a man who has long been lost.

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Child of Eden Review: An Interactive Artistic Masterpiece

Child of Eden is one of the most fully realized instances of interactive art the gaming world has yet seen. Labeling it as simply a “video game” seems to do it an injustice somehow. It clearly strives to be something more; to convey a message, to impart a certain feeling upon the player unlike any lowly game they’ve ever played before.

However successful it may be in these attempts, Child of Eden’s artistic aspirations are also worthy of note for more pragmatic reasons. When viewed as a $50 piece of art that uses a controller, an HDTV, and a good sound system as its mediums, the experience is untouchable. There’s simply nothing else like it available today. Playing it transports you to another world, another mindset. It’s a magical experience that you can relive over and over again, just like getting lost in the depths of a good painting.

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Best of the Decade: Limbo


Platform: Xbox 360

Release Date: July 21, 2010

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Developer: Playdead Studios

I think most who hold the hobby of gaming close to their heart would agree that the medium is perfectly capable of being considered art. When it comes time to decide which games constitute art, consensus is decidedly less clear. Outside of a few select titles that seem to pop up repeatedly in such discussions, such as Shadow of the Colossus, I’m not sure most gamers know what an “artistic” game is supposed to look like.

Should we look to games like Heavy Rain, which aspires as much as is possible to be a film, for our example? Should we turn to games like Flower, which dispense with most recognizable aspects of being a game at all in favor of being visually interesting and delivering a strong message? Or is the answer somewhere in between?

I think with Limbo we’re a step closer to knowing. Of course, as with any type of art, there isn’t simply one easy definition. Looking at games like Shadow of the Colossus and Limbo, however, it does become clearer what is required on a fundamental level to be both a game and art.


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