Monthly Archives: May 2016

Video Games from Playing to Watching Part 4: Games as Art

His face is on South Park. His fist is on your nephew’s shirt. His name is all over the internet, and odds are you’ve seen at least one of his videos on YouTube. You know him as PewDiePie. Although you wouldn’t see him critiquing a painting or enjoying a sculpture on a regular basis, he does appreciate film and editing. Is he himself an artist? I wouldn’t say so, but some of the games he plays just might be art.

This is the final part in a four part series. If you missed my previous entries you can start reading the first part here!

What defines “Art?” Russian author Leo Tolstoy in his essay “What is Art?” gave several definitions for art.

“Art is an external manifestation by means of lines, colours, movements, sounds,or words, of emotions felt by man.”

“Art is the production of some permanent object or passing action, which is fitted not only to supply an active enjoyment to the producer, but to convey a pleasurable impression to a number of spectators or listeners, quite apart from any personal advantage to be derived from it.”

Do video games fit into either of these definitions? Absolutely! Art is recognized by being primarily visual in the form of drawing, painting, or even dance. Eventually photography and film would fall under this umbrella definition of “Art” as well. So why not video games?

Video games are visual. In fact many games even have specific art styles that they draw inspiration from like the gothic Dark Souls or the chibi styled One Piece Treasure Cruise, two games that I have mentioned on this blog before.

Games also couple their visuals with both sound design and music. Whether it be the classic themes from Tetris or the Operatic Rock of Halo music can be just as iconic as the game that it was made for. Just listen to this song from Bioshock and tell me that it isn’t art?

What about the other definition? Do video games provide pleasure not just to their creators, but to an audience as well? Whether you play video games or not it is undeniable that they are enjoyable for many, many people for a number of reasons. Some people play MMOs to make friends. Others play platformers to challenge themselves. A great deal of people play games for escapism from the tedium of day to day life and so on… Entire communities develop around games.

Games even inspire people to create art like this scale map of Lordran from Dark Souls. lordran

I love video games. They have been a major part of my life. I made this very blog to celebrate them and their contributions to society. I’ve used video games as escapism from long days at school, as a coping mechanism when I went through depression, as a means of making and connecting with friends. Video games have helped shape the person I am today and I will always be grateful for that.

 

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods

This is our first Mobile Game Monday about a game that isn’t exclusively a mobile game. In fact most would argue that Hearthstone offers a better experience on PC. That being said it is still a mobile game that is very much worth your time and the latest expansion offers some exciting changes to the game.

The most notable change is the new “Standard format.” This is a godsend from Blizzard. Hearthstone is a game that suffers from two major issues. It is incredibly unforgiving to new players and power creep. This format is the answer to both of these issues. Now only the original cards and the most recent expansion can be used to make decks. This makes the game much more streamlined for new players and gives veterans the chance to play new and more diverse decks.

You can still play the game’s previous format now known as “Wild,” but I don’t understand why anyone would want to.

This expansion also comes with some much welcome card reworks like Knife Juggler’s attack being reduced and the removal of the Force of Nature and Savage Roar Druid combo that has been the staple of the class for the past two years.

Hearthstone is a game that I have been playing since the Open Beta. It’s a fun collectable card game featuring characters from the popular MMO World of Warcraft. It’s a fun game for both the casual and the hardcore fans. So why not give “this thinking man’s version of Candy crush and the idiot’s version of Magic the Gathering” a try? If you log in soon enough you’ll get a few free packs just for logging in and another ten for winning about 12 or so games. Happy cardslinging!

Goodbye and good riddance to overpowered cards like Dr. Boom!

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See you in Hell Secrets Paladin!