The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

SCTV 4/10/2024
by Aaron Wilkins and Sam HyingApril 10, 2024

Spencer Waugh is running for Iowa House District 21 as a Democrat
Spencer Waugh running for office
by Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager • April 10, 2024

After 13 years at Simpson and 25 years in the education field, Spencer Waugh hopes to add another experience: the representative of Iowa House...

“Bodies Bodies Bodies”: Spoilers Ahead
“Bodies Bodies Bodies”: Spoilers Ahead
by Chloe Peck, News Editor • April 10, 2024

Although it has been two years since the movie's initial release on March 14, 2022, the horror/comedy “Bodies Bodies Bodies” has been trending...

Gaming is the greatest art form ever created

Gaming+is+the+greatest+art+form+ever+created

I will spare you the trouble of reading the full article: gaming provides such an immersion that you aren’t only observing the story but rather an active participant. This gives it the potential for emotional impact that no other medium can have.

The first problem in my pursuit arises with the question of what it means to be “the greatest.” There are likely a variety of perspectives on this, but in the interest of objectivity, I’ll offer this.

“The greatest” art form is the one that best achieves its own objective, and the objective of any art is to communicate a message. Sometimes political, sometimes emotional.

With this in mind, we can understand the main obstacle between art and its goal. Art is typically fictitious. This is problematic because it means the message can only be communicated by analogy and based on the consumer’s willingness to accept the art as real.

Thus, the two ways art can fail are either by a faulty analogy that the audience doesn’t understand or by breaking the illusion and reminding the audience the art is fictitious.

However, the first problem is an issue of finesse. Making the analogy work is about competent storytelling and effective delivery. On the other hand, the second problem IS often a matter of form.

Animated movies are a good explanation of this. The suspension of disbelief for an animated movie is higher than for a live-action movie. Interestingly, there’s a recent example to prove this.

The live-action “Mulan” remake included the scene where Mulan surfs/swims on an avalanche. This didn’t work. Even though it appeared in the original animated movie, seeing actual people do it was too unbelievable.

So, if we’re optimizing for that particular problem, we would select the form that best immerses the audience. This is where video games find their footing.

The audience for a videogame is a player, and that’s the key point. For a movie or a painting, it’s a viewer. For a book, it’s a reader. For music, it’s a listener.

For all the other forms, the audience is passive. They experience rather than participate. That creates an inherent barrier to immersion. Video games circumvent that issue by forcing the player to actively engage with the story.

Dozens of examples in gaming simply wouldn’t work in other forms. 

In “ The Last of Us”- one of the best games of all time – the ending requires the player to do something ethically dubious. But the player HAS to do it, and this means we understand more than if we just watched someone else do it.

In “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” the player is eventually required to kill someone who was once a close ally. The game just stops until you pull the trigger. It’s a profound moment because, again, we have to do it.

Neither of those moments would work as well in other forms, and indeed “The Last of Us” show wasn’t as effective as the game, despite excellent directing and acting.

But maybe “The Last of Us” worked for you as a show, and that brings me to the real point. Despite my best efforts, I’m still trapped in subjectivity, and even if I’ve proved my thesis, sometimes you don’t want “the best” of the thing.

Even if games are the best form of art, there is still pretty good art outside of them. So play games, watch movies and listen to music as you’d like. A story told with finesse will be wonderful no matter the form.

Hopefully, this encourages those of you who don’t play video games to give them a try, and for those of you who do play video games, you’ll realize that the whole elitist complex that we have is entirely unjustified.

 

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Ryan Magalhães, Feature Editor

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