The Arke

Are Games Works of Art?

Bailey Ballard, Journalist

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Video games have become a part of many lives in these present times. Children as young as five years old are found playing video games like Mario or Sonic. Fans of these games love them for their unique abilities of portraying different worlds and characters, bringing a story to life in a way that the player can become a part of it. The video game industry then makes a lot of money from all the attention from the fans of the games and that is why new release dates for new games are constantly put out to the public. No one really thinks much about what goes into these games before the time of release. Most people simply judge the game right after it is released not thinking about what went into the game’s development. With the time and effort put into these games, however, is it truly not a work of art? Can a video game not instead be looked at as a piece of art like a painting than just a toy children play with to get rid of boredom?

Games begin like any book or painting, with a simple idea. A game always begins with a story.  A storyboard is created that consists of rough sketches and technical instructions sequentially organized to depict each scene of the game. The storyboard is a visual representation of the story and a reference for the writers, artists and designers just like a script for a film. Each sketch is carefully drawn out with high detail and thought, and if there are multiple worlds than another storyboard is created for that world. As this storyboard is made, designers then begin to create the characters. Rough sketches of characters are drawn and redrawn until they are perfect. Once the character design is actually finalized, sketches have to be transformed into controllable 3D characters. According to Steve Thompson, art director for Gas Powered Games, it takes about five days to design and program a character after the storyboard is complete.

After this process, it takes much time to animate these 3D models. The models can not move or act by themselves. Designers, code by code, have to work with these marionette-like figures to create the perfect simulation that matches that character. Many times, movements are recorded of real people as reference for the characters to make them as realistic as possible. Once the animation is done, designers have to create a landscape for these characters. So many details go into a background that go unnoticed by players, but every detail to a designer counts. The simple snapping of a twig could be an important part of the story they wish to create and envelope the player into. Designers care so much about the games they make, to them it is a piece of art.  Even after they finish the game, they sit and replay the game over and over just to make sure there are no bugs or glitches that would affect the game.

Designers put in a lot of effort and many of their emotions into games. Hours upon hours, and days upon days, are spent simply developing a game. Then in post production, more hours and days are spent playing and perfecting the work they created. Designers work extremely hard to create a masterpiece game. Designers want to make the fans of their games happy. They want to be able to show the work off they have made and critiqued for so long. In the end, designers just want to show off the masterpiece they created and envelope people into it.

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Student run newspaper of Lake Oconee Academy.
Are Games Works of Art?