The art of video games

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The art of video games

#1  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 6:26 am

A friend told me about "The art of video games" exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, which she said was fascintating. Here is the trailer:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gXrCEzuAis[/youtube]

Here are five videos from the exhibition on the themes of Beginnings, Inspiration, Narrative, Experience, and The Future. They feature excerpts from interviews with 20 influential figures in the gaming world.: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9F47DB6D0F399893

And here is another of a selection of interviews with video game creators: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBC8C4A4ECCE64C9B

Watching those interviews and talking about Mass Effect in this sub-forum inspired me to start a thread about the art of these games. By that I mean anything that strikes you as artistic. Or fan-art inspired by games. (see below)
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Re: The art of video games

#2  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 6:40 am

The hauntingly powerful "Leaving Earth" scene from the beginning of Mass Effect 3:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6RHg-BCk0g[/youtube]
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Re: The art of video games

#3  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 6:53 am

Some of the most stunning design (IMO) can be found in the Myst series.

Here is Tomanha, home to Atrus, Catherine and Yeesha, in Myst IV:

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Re: The art of video games

#4  Postby Matt8819 » May 19, 2012 7:21 am

In a totally opposite direction, here's a screen from Limbo.
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Shockingly simple, brilliant use of shading and background to create one of the most truly unsettling worlds I've seen in a game. Or anywhere, for that matter...The entire game is brilliant.
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Re: The art of video games

#5  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 7:33 am

:this: just made me go look for a walkthrough on YT! Found one... Oh, I see you can play it on the Mac, but you have to get it from the Mac App Store and unfortunately you have to have x.6 or higher and I only have x.5 boo hiss!

Hmm. Will try to find it elsewhere...
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Re: The art of video games

#6  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 8:27 am

One of things that instantly caught my eye in that video was the completely polar attitudes of the male and female commentators, propounded in these quotes:

0:22 "One of the things that's really fun with games is the whole idea of the playful mind and how can we make games surprise you."
1:16 "You don't need technology to create feelings and love and fear and hate and passion, you need great storytelling."

I don't know if it's stereotyping, but it's not the first time I've noticed this gender difference in attitudes and I find it intriguing, especially in the example of "Hepler syndrome", and the backlash against it.
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Re: The art of video games

#7  Postby Animavore » May 19, 2012 9:35 am

Google asked me to ask you do you mean 'heller syndrome', 'helper syndrome' or 'keplar syndrome'?
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Re: The art of video games

#8  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 9:58 am

Thommo wrote:One of things that instantly caught my eye in that video was the completely polar attitudes of the male and female commentators, propounded in these quotes:

0:22 "One of the things that's really fun with games is the whole idea of the playful mind and how can we make games surprise you."
1:16 "You don't need technology to create feelings and love and fear and hate and passion, you need great storytelling."

I don't know if it's stereotyping, but it's not the first time I've noticed this gender difference in attitudes and I find it intriguing, especially in the example of "Hepler syndrome", and the backlash against it.


I think it is stereotyping. I watched a panel interview with the creators of Mass Effect 3, all of whom were men, and I think all of them would have agreed with both comments. And I'd also say that reading the comments of male gamers to ME3, most who love it love both the story and the emotional punches.

As for me, I, too, would agree with both sentiments. I suspect the polarity you are seeing is just accidental? In that it's just a selection of their comments...

I'd have to google Hepler Syndrome as well, Ani, so if you find out what it is, let me know! :-)
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Re: The art of video games

#9  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 10:17 am

It related to comments from Jennifer Hepler and a backlash that followed:-

http://web.archive.org/web/200611292143 ... fer_hepler (this is the 2006 article, it was only one small comment in there that really caused the backlash, so it's probably not necessary to read the whole thing, though it probably gives a fairer view of her as a person)

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/vi ... red-Writer

You could well be right that it's stereotyping Nora, but as I said, I'm not sure it is as simple as that. There weren't a lot of girls playing mario, there were a lot of boys. That's despite it having a "cute" setting. I take this as a not atypical "old style" of game - bordering on no story, but lots of gameplay.

I think it is difficult for people who see gaming as a medium of storytelling to see the other side of the picture, what made mass effect 1 great wasn't actually the story, it was the setting, the attention to detail, the artwork, the world. I spent hours of gameplay reading codex entries and planet descriptions, wondering about terminators and the atmospheric conditions of tidally locked planets. This was completely and utterly lost in ME2 and ME3, and the universe felt a lot smaller for it. ME3 (apart from the ending) was an improvement in a lot of ways over ME1, but it also lost a lot of things along the way, part of its hard sci-fi "soul".

There's a lot more to the medium of games than storytelling, and even when it is about mood and emotion in a more "art" game (for example passage or braid) it can still be about things other than story.
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Re: The art of video games

#10  Postby Wiðercora » May 19, 2012 10:23 am

Video game art was the time I was playing the first Halo game - the level Truth and Reconciliation (my favourite level, incidentally) - I shot the inside of a jackal's shield with a sniper rifle; the bullet bounced off killed the jackal and went through the head of an elite next to him.

I suppose the point is that art in video games is just as much what is given, as what you can do with what is given.
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Re: The art of video games

#11  Postby Animavore » May 19, 2012 10:30 am

Thommo wrote:It related to comments from Jennifer Hepler and a backlash that followed:-

http://web.archive.org/web/200611292143 ... fer_hepler (this is the 2006 article, it was only one small comment in there that really caused the backlash, so it's probably not necessary to read the whole thing, though it probably gives a fairer view of her as a person)

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/vi ... red-Writer

You could well be right that it's stereotyping Nora, but as I said, I'm not sure it is as simple as that. There weren't a lot of girls playing mario, there were a lot of boys. That's despite it having a "cute" setting. I take this as a not atypical "old style" of game - bordering on no story, but lots of gameplay.

I think it is difficult for people who see gaming as a medium of storytelling to see the other side of the picture, what made mass effect 1 great wasn't actually the story, it was the setting, the attention to detail, the artwork, the world. I spent hours of gameplay reading codex entries and planet descriptions, wondering about terminators and the atmospheric conditions of tidally locked planets. This was completely and utterly lost in ME2 and ME3, and the universe felt a lot smaller for it. ME3 (apart from the ending) was an improvement in a lot of ways over ME1, but it also lost a lot of things along the way, part of its hard sci-fi "soul".

There's a lot more to the medium of games than storytelling, and even when it is about mood and emotion in a more "art" game (for example passage or braid) it can still be about things other than story.

Oh yeah. I remember that.

Nerd rage is quite disgusting. I remember I got Killzone 3 and as none of my friends had it I went to killzone.com to find a clan to join and I've never seen such a bunch of self-entitled cry-babies over a fuckin' game. If you thought people who whine about their favourite band changing direction you'd wanna check out these sorry excuses on that site.
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Re: The art of video games

#12  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 10:37 am

Animavore wrote:Oh yeah. I remember that.

Nerd rage is quite disgusting. I remember I got Killzone 3 and as none of my friends had it I went to killzone.com to find a clan to join and I've never seen such a bunch of self-entitled cry-babies over a fuckin' game. If you thought people who whine about their favourite band changing direction you'd wanna check out these sorry excuses on that site.


I do agree, I'm continually shocked by the childish behaviour of (mainly) boys when I play games online, or read gaming forums like the one on the escapist. I wasn't strictly referring to the sexist shit Hepler got for that article, but really to how her view (she works at Bioware and doesn't like the "gaming" aspect of video games, seeing it as a story telling medium) riled up a huge amount of fans of Bioware's earlier games who were chiefly male. Many of them expressed their nerdrage inappropriately, but it's interesting that they were angry in the first place (and I doubt it was really because she has a vagina as she rather foolishly suggested on twitter).
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Re: The art of video games

#13  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 10:50 am

Thommo wrote:
I think it is difficult for people who see gaming as a medium of storytelling to see the other side of the picture, what made mass effect 1 great wasn't actually the story, it was the setting, the attention to detail, the artwork, the world. I spent hours of gameplay reading codex entries and planet descriptions, wondering about terminators and the atmospheric conditions of tidally locked planets. This was completely and utterly lost in ME2 and ME3, and the universe felt a lot smaller for it. ME3 (apart from the ending) was an improvement in a lot of ways over ME1, but it also lost a lot of things along the way, part of its hard sci-fi "soul".

There's a lot more to the medium of games than storytelling, and even when it is about mood and emotion in a more "art" game (for example passage or braid) it can still be about things other than story.


Oh, I totally agree. But what I'm saying is that I don't think it's a male/female difference. I would have to say that the same things you cited—"the setting, the attention to detail, the artwork, the world"—is what makes the Myst games so entrancing. With the Myst games a major part is the solving of puzzles. There is a story element, and there are characters you care about, but those elements don't dominate the games.

I guess what I'm saying is that I watched all those interviews and found myself nodding in agreement to all the comments.

One of the things that I look for in any artistic effort is the manifestation of a creative imagination. It's the first thing that struck me when I started to read the Harry Potter books, and I also saw that in the games by Thatgamecompany, e.g. Journey and Flower. Now I haven't played or watched an LP of either of those, but just in the clips I've seen I've seen that creative imagination at work.

For me, watching the Mass Effect games (as I can't play them on my Mac) was all about losing myself in the story and the characters, and that game lends itself to that. For me it was undoubtedly an emotional experience. But I don't expect all games to be like that.
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Re: The art of video games

#14  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 10:56 am

Thommo wrote:It related to comments from Jennifer Hepler and a backlash that followed:-

http://web.archive.org/web/200611292143 ... fer_hepler (this is the 2006 article, it was only one small comment in there that really caused the backlash, so it's probably not necessary to read the whole thing, though it probably gives a fairer view of her as a person)


Ah. I didn't read the whole thing, but I did read the last page where she says she wished there was a 'fast forward' button to zoom through the fight scenes? Interesting then that in ME3 there was a 'story' focussed choice of game.

Well, I wish I actually had the opportunity to play the game. I'd like to try my hand at shooting! Although my friend Sven Groot, with whom I made a Let's Play of Myst Online: Uru Live, laughs hysterically at the mere thought of me playing ME! :smoke:
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Re: The art of video games

#15  Postby Animavore » May 19, 2012 10:59 am

I don't mind stories in games but I prefer when the story is woven into the game. Cut-scenes make me twitchy. I can't remember which dev said it but if you're going more than two minutes without playing something's wrong and it's a sentiment I completely agree with.
I don't like when games won't let you skip cut-scenes.
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Re: The art of video games

#16  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 11:14 am

Wiðercora wrote:Video game art was the time I was playing the first Halo game - the level Truth and Reconciliation (my favourite level, incidentally) - I shot the inside of a jackal's shield with a sniper rifle; the bullet bounced off killed the jackal and went through the head of an elite next to him.


I love moments like that.

Wiðercora wrote:I suppose the point is that art in video games is just as much what is given, as what you can do with what is given.


I totally agree. And in that vein I offer something emotive that will probably convince @Thommo that he's right. Whatever, in my mind it is creativity inspired by a video game. This is a video called "Warrior Angel" made from footage shot in ME2 by a YTuber named Aislinntrista...and I have no idea whether that person is a man or a woman.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qyQsRMIYbk[/youtube]
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Re: The art of video games

#17  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 11:30 am

Thanks for your thoughts Nora.

I'm not sure whether I really have a point to be "right" about to be honest, I'm really just tossing my thoughts around as to why I keep hearing different perspectives from different genders and whether this is connected to any (if there is one) gender difference in what gamers look for, and any gender differences in what is artistically appealing. It might also just be media presentation, we get to hear women talk about the emotional side of things because they are "supposed" to be emotional, we get to hear men talk about the technical side because they are "supposed" to be technical - and there's no way an established media will upset us by breaking the stereotype.
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Re: The art of video games

#18  Postby Wiðercora » May 19, 2012 11:35 am

Animavore wrote:I don't mind stories in games but I prefer when the story is woven into the game. Cut-scenes make me twitchy. I can't remember which dev said it but if you're going more than two minutes without playing something's wrong and it's a sentiment I completely agree with.
I don't like when games won't let you skip cut-scenes.


I don't mind. You know what my favourite cut-scene ever is? Right at the beginning of DX:HR, in the lift with Pritchard. Why? Hell if I know, it just is.
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Re: The art of video games

#19  Postby Thommo » May 19, 2012 11:43 am

Wiðercora wrote:
Animavore wrote:I don't mind stories in games but I prefer when the story is woven into the game. Cut-scenes make me twitchy. I can't remember which dev said it but if you're going more than two minutes without playing something's wrong and it's a sentiment I completely agree with.
I don't like when games won't let you skip cut-scenes.


I don't mind. You know what my favourite cut-scene ever is? Right at the beginning of DX:HR, in the lift with Pritchard. Why? Hell if I know, it just is.


Oddly enough, that was one of my favorite parts of the game too. I think the quality of the cityscape is superb and atmospheric and it's actually about as good a view as you get. It has that urban near future gritty feel, and suggestions of a human dimension referring to the relationship between Jensen and whatsherface. The game never really capitalised on the good start, and really fell to pieces at the end though, both visually (click button, watch slideshow ending) and emotionally - it felt very lonely and subterranean somehow, rather than a view of an impressive futuristic city.
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Re: The art of video games

#20  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 19, 2012 11:46 am

Thommo wrote:Thanks for your thoughts Nora.

I'm not sure whether I really have a point to be "right" about to be honest, I'm really just tossing my thoughts around as to why I keep hearing different perspectives from different genders and whether this is connected to any (if there is one) gender difference in what gamers look for, and any gender differences in what is artistically appealing. It might also just be media presentation, we get to hear women talk about the emotional side of things because they are "supposed" to be emotional, we get to hear men talk about the technical side because they are "supposed" to be technical - and there's no way an established media will upset us by breaking the stereotype.


Oh, it's a fascinating discussion. And I think you're absolutely right about the 'media' presentation. But I did have to laugh because I so wanted to post that Thane/FemShep video and I could just imagine you saying "typical woman!" LOL!

But I'm currently watching a Blind (as in he's never played ME3 before so doesn't know what's going to happen) LP of ME3, and we've just had the episode where a certain well-loved character dies and Matt was silent through the cut scene and then said afterwards that he just couldn't understand why anyone could hate a game that packed such incredible emotional punches. (He knows about the hate of the ending, but not what it's actually about.) So here I am experiencing a male gamer fully engaged in the story and emotionality of it. Which is not to say he doesn't enjoy the other game elements, he does.
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