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Video Games - the Forgotten Art

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Essay title: Video Games - the Forgotten Art

Video Games - The Forgotten Art

Ask any major in the fine arts for the definition of art. They're likely to tell you that it is self-expression through the use of some sort of medium. Most commonly thought of are clay for a sculpture, paint for a masterpiece, even music notes for a four-movement suite. The last thing you'd think of is a computer program for a video game. But why not? Don't video games incorporate both artwork and music? Each one is considered art, but many people consider the result, when put together, to be a waste of time. Through personal experience, I would have to define art as not only a way to express yourself, but as a source of inspiration to others. Not only do video games use art with music, they oftentimes have an engaging storyline. Writing is also a form of art, using pen and paper to convey everything artwork and music cannot do sufficiently. Video games can be their own art form, with a combination of music, drawing, animation, and writing.

There are many definitions of art floating around out there. So many things are considered art nowadays that you'd think anything could be art. Sticking with the theory that art is an inspiration to other people and an emotional outlet, only a very few games meet these criteria. Art is deeper than face value. Admittedly, all video games have art; they all need music and some way of having pictures, whether computer animation or hand-drawn. But it's the game that seems to haunt the gamer, the video game that won't go away, that has captured the thru essence of what art is. People such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Johann Sebastian Bach have all accomplished that through their paintings and music, respectively. Any game that can stay with the player in such a way starts out with an enrapturing storyline.

Few games have very well developed storylines. For example, most military games are based solely on some war or other, such as the games Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. Neither game is very original, as they really have no storyline other than to run around shooting the enemies. Originality is a prime requisite of a game being considered art. Other games lacking in uniqueness are games based on movies or books.

Most famous in this category are the Star Wars games and Lord of the Rings series. Both may be very fun to play, but being fun to play does not make them art. Art is original, fresh, never-before-thought-of material. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings both have engaging storylines, but said storylines had already been established years before any game was produced. Again, to be art, a video game must have an original storyline, not a preconceived one. As a rule, few games meet the originality criterion, but there are exceptions.

The Legend of Zelda. To any gamer it is a familiar name. The reason is simple - it was the first of its kind. The Legend of Zelda was the dawning of the role-playing genre in video games. As a role-playing game, it allowed the gamer to be in the decision-making role, not just a straight line, no choices game, as most were at the time. This was a new concept for a video game at the time The Legend of Zelda was released. The storyline was a huge success, as it drew the players into the game world, made them feel as if they were a part of it. In The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the hero, Link, must save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. It was a basic damsel in distress storyline, yet it worked. Many games have mimicked the same story skeleton of saving a princess or fair maiden, but Zelda did it right. By being original, Nintendo, the creators of The Legend of Zelda, made a game that would become a piece of art. However, Nintendo isn't the only company to come up with a piece of art.

Sony Computer Entertainment America also introduced a video that would one day reach the title of art. That game is Final Fantasy VII. Even as the seventh game in a series, it was a one-of-a-kind. Final Fantasy VII not only involved players in the plot; it conveyed emotions as had no other game before it. The game drew you to the characters. Almost as if the developers knew when the player felt they personally knew a character, that person would die. In a pivotal moment of Final Fantasy VII, one of the main characters, Aeris, who had been with the player's party since the beginning of the game, is killed by Sephiroth, the game's "big bad guy". It was completely unexpected, and a very emotional moment for many gamers. When a game makes a player feel such emotions, you know a game has to be art. Final Fantasy VII goes on to have many more touching, as well as angering, moments. That's not the only reason Final Fantasy VII is art though.

Now with technology being readily available for filming to a wider range of producers,

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