Video Games: the eighth art
Someone still has doubts about the fact that the eighth art are videogames. Probably comes by the common name used by people to indicate this unique and powerful art form, don’t give them full justice. An interesting term would be: interactive art or interactive media. Why?
First, affinities with the world of cinema are various and considerable:
- Games are a natural evolution of filmic language to which add the component of interaction.
- Games allow to show fantastic worlds that can escape even conspicuously to the laws of nature. This permits an extraordinarily powerful and expressive virtually infinite capability.
- As films, they born with the aim to entertain and then, with the understanding of their potential, become an aesthetic and expressive medium.
- Both movies and games firstly were silent, often characterized by simple sound effects and music accompaniment. The dialogues were textual, shown on the screen as subtitles or captions. Through the time, soundtracks and sound effects evolved so as to include original compositions performed by big orchestras.
- We observed a gradual but steady increase in the average budget necessary to complete the works, increasingly complex, which sometimes come to involve several hundred people, including artists, designers, composers and developers.
- Both have seen the born of a mainstream market, featuring big budget works, often managed by one or more popular developers and directors, using brand and known characters, squeezing the market through many sequels and remakes.
- In contrast to mainstream, began a stream of indie artists interested in creating authorial works, increasingly visionary, using smaller budgets.
These are just some of common points. Video games are placed more and more clearly as an expansion of films, following the furrow traced by cinema, which is what we usually call: seventh art.
The so-called gaming experience, adds to cinema experience, two fundamental aspects:
- Interaction, which allows users to identify with characters, creating a degree of empathy that, in some cases, can overtake movies.
- Virtual reality, allows to create worlds absolutely credible or absolutely improbable depending on artistic and aesthetic choices.
The second point is very familiar to film culture, because isn’t just the gaming world making profit by cinema. At one point the film story has been faced with an insurmountable barrier that prevents from certain types of stagings if had shown only the real world.
A first step to stray from tangible making possible artistic results that could be suggestive and impalpable, was made using elaborate sets and costumes. Another step forward was made resorting to various animation techniques. But the decisive step, the one that has interconnected the world of games to the world of cinema, was resorting to computer graphics, which has allowed the creation of virtual scenarios impossible to make before.
But what’s computer graphics unless the raw material on which video games are modeled?
Contamination between cinema and gaming is currently in progress. This fascinating and perhaps inevitable combination between these two apparently different worlds it’s today at its maturity.
Certainly isn’t a coincidence that many directors and actors are becoming closer and closer to the world of video games, or that some developers try to use many cinematic techniques in their games.
Through video games, we can explore abstract and impossible worlds which can completely annihilate the laws of physics (eg think of Portal) and become ourselves superheroes. Prospects then, even in the short term, are very interesting. Just think of devices like Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus or the newest Microsoft HoloLens and HTC Vive.
In the future that awaits us, movies and games are designed to blend together creating a new way of interactive media that will elevate the experience to a level of realism and involvement never seen before.