By Joey Kucker, Carlisle Area High School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
What is art? Many people probably think that this is an easy question to answer. Art is simply a painting, a sculpture, or maybe even those stick figures you draw.
But is it? True art make you think. It makes you question what you think is normal. It takes you into a world that is different than ours but also the same. It gives you strong emotions and inspires creativity. That is true art.
And yet, despite that, video games are still not considered art. In fact Roger Ebert once said that “video games can never be art.” This is a very biased way to look at the medium, especially considering the game on which he based his analysis.
The game in question is called “Flower.” It’s a game where you play as a single flower petal picked up by the wind. You control the petal across a large plain to make other flowers grow and make the plain colorful. While not exactly a game that makes you think, it’s a gorgeous game that gives you strong emotions. Isn’t that what true art should do, make you feel?
Another game that could easily be considered art is the game “Shadow of the Colossus.” In it you play as a young man trying to save a young woman from losing her soul forever. You are not sure if she is a friend, girlfriend, or even his sister. It doesn’t matter though, you automatically feel for this young man’s plight despite the fact that you barely know him. You become him.
Ancient spirits tell the young man that the only way to save the girl is to slay 13 colossi. You don’t question this command and instead set out on the hunt. What makes this feel so odd is that there are no enemies beside the colossi. In fact, some don’t even fight back. As the game goes on, the young man gets darker, not in the sense of skin color, but evil. The game begs the question, is it really worth it? Why are you killing a near extinct species just to save one person? Most games only make you think about how many headshots you’re getting. This game is making you think of why you’re killing, who you’re killing, and more importantly, are you doing it for the right reasons? That’s great art if I’ve ever seen it.
The last game I feel should be mentioned is “Mass Effect.” In the “Mass Effect” series, you play as Commander Shepard, a soldier tasked with nothing less than saving the universe. Typical Sci-Fi fare for other movies and games, but for “Mass Effect” it goes a little deeper. See, in this game, Shepard is just an outlet for you to be a part of the universe. This is because Shepard’s life and even gender is chosen by the player. The player shapes him into what he is. The player must save the universe but they can pick to be a gleaming example of hope or an anti-hero who plays by his own rules.
However, another thing the player must worry about is your crew. See, unlike other games, every choice you make affects the world. Everything has permanence and if you don’t make the “right” choices, you can end up with some or all of your crew dying. This means that in the upcoming “Mass Effect 3” you have to make a new character. Knowing very well what the odds are, it made me feel something no other game, movie, or book could. It made me care. That’s what art should do.
No matter your stance on this topic, I hoped I’ve opened your mind to what we really define as art. That’s what art should do. It should open your mind.the original article from hsj.org, written by Joey Kucker