Are video games meaningless fun or an art form?

Colton Mudloff, Reporter

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All types of media take some level of effort to make. Some authors, directors, and other creators purposely imbed messages into their work to make a point and to make their reader or viewer think. The movies that Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick are known for attracting a kind of hybrid audience. Pulp Fiction and The Shining are movies that people can sit back and enjoy or study meticulously. The themes that directors inject into their movies are what makes them intellectual art rather than just an action flick. The same values go into games.

In the last decade, video game director Hideo Kojima has headed several major projects that have made news years after their respective releases. P.T., a short horror game demo, is about a man (played by Norman Reedus) trapped in a repeating, ever-devolving hallway until he solves puzzles related to the string of murders taking place over the radio. The demo has extremely hard hitting themes of loss, mental health issues, and paternity. Although released in 2014, it still made news in September of this year for new discoveries that deepen the meaning the demo.

The Last of Us, released back in July of 2014, still stands the test of time. The visuals are stunning and the story drives many to tears several times throughout the game. The game follows Joel (voiced by Troy Baker) as he pushes through a mutant fungus outbreak in Boston and escorts a teenage girl, Ellie (voiced by Ashley Hayes), who is immune to the infection. Joel forms a fatherly bond with Ellie as his daughter had died in his arms twenty years earlier. Their trust is shaken by several supporting characters on their journey to the rebel Fireflies medical team to research a cure. The story is very touching and reveals the humanity likely to take place in a survival scenario.

Movies and video games are very creative pieces of work that a wide variety of people can enjoy. The largest and most obvious difference between the two is how one goes about obtaining the story, passively or actively. Some games are more involved than others. P.T. plays differently than The Last of Us both in tone and action of the player. If movies like Joker (2019) can be treated like art, something that aims to make the viewer uncomfortable, then games should be allowed the same label; art.

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