Day 8 of Game Design- About the Artistic Value in Video Games
This class was all about how video games can be perceived in an artistic medium. Many of the video games that we talked about were not AAA video games but experimental video games where the developers were trying to share their vision of things.
We first looked at a game known as Bound. It was a PS4 exclusive which release in 2016. The player controls a princess and she navigates dangers to defeat evil. The trailer gave me the impression that it was puzzle platformer with some action in between. I liked the visuals of the game and the theme of Ballet in the movement of the character and in the gameplay.
Then we talked quite intensively about the games developed by Thatgamecompany. This company’s name might be unimaginative but it speaks to the simplicity that they bring out through their games.
Their first game, Flow, was about controlling a microorganism that grows by consuming other microorganisms. The visuals were great but I cannot comment on anything apart from that as I have no idea about how engaging the gameplay could be. I think it should be commented upon after experiencing it first hand.
Flower seemed like a great game. The player controls the wind and touching flowers in the fields brings them to life and a petal floats with the wind. The spectacle that this gameplay was amazing as one could see the large volume of colorful petals that were dancing in the wind that players controlled.
Journey seems like a simple game of navigation but the gameplay tweaks bring out new ways of interaction. Other players can be found in the journey but they cannot talk or chat with each other. All they can do is help each other in their quest. One of the critically acclaimed games of all time, the journey of traveling through the vast desert and exploring different places created intrigue for me as a viewer.
An observation that can be made about Thatgamecompany’s game is that they tend to be minimalistic. They are visually stunning and they aim to provide the players an experience. It is not about unfolding a story or assertion of dominance like other video games. They are simple games that want players to relax and simply enjoy without any competitive layer to their video game.
Limbo was the most minimalistic game out of the whole bunch of games that we discussed. However, it provided gameplay that is so engaging that it can keep people hooked for hours. It is a short game but the puzzle platformer game will make the players think about solutions that other games don’t make their players think. The atmosphere the game creates with its visuals and sounds bring in a level of authenticity that people could learn from.
Another game that brings in a delightful and magical experience is Abzu. It is all about exploration underwater and seeing different places under the sea. Schools of fish pass by the players and the player can swim with them. It could be seen that it had found its inspiration in Journey but the change of themes and visuals are ways in which this game differentiates itself. I had played the game a few years back but found the game a bit abstract.
In the end, we had a discussion regarding Sky: Children of the Light, the latest game from Thatgamecompany. It has been released for Android and I think I might end up downloading it.