A long while ago I had an urge to get writing and there was of course the big question, what they hell do I write? I wasn’t sure but I knew I wanted to do something. Now I have a few long term projects with a few ideas up my sleeve but the best solution was to, well, write some articles on here!
My love of writing came from, a few things mainly love of gaming and thinking “hey, wouldn’t it be awesome to write a game?!” I looked into it and wow, what an epic amount of work to do, seriously look into it, it’s a massive task. Not that it’s going to stop me but, it’s massive.
And when you really think about what needs to be done, particularly for a massive game that is narrative driven like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or even something of a smaller scale like the beautiful Ori and The Blind Forest then you have a significant amount of time and effort going into the art style of the game, the plot and its characters (which in the Witcher or other RPG’s case involves different eventualities based on your choices) plus the direction of the movie scenes in the games, the task is massive.
So why then does gaming not always get the recognition it deserves for its quality? Why are books, movies and art from gaming not considered as special as work influenced by other things? To have a look at this I thought it best to talk with someone who is an Author, luck for us he’s a regular contributor on MGL!
Neal Noakes Is an Author his latest book, available on Amazon now if you follow the below link, is all about Superheroes but he’s a guy who loves gaming just like myself and no doubt you reading this. We had a chat about the subject of gaming as Literature, Film and Art and the below are some of our thoughts.
Neal: Game’s have, in the last decade, begun to cross boundaries, games are now often made into books and movies, with more variations then you can shake a stick at it’d be impossible to cover them all, however I will be taking a moment here to talk about the one thing books based on games need to remember.
A game works when its narrative appeals to a wide audience, the same is true about books, however if the game comes first then the narrative of the book must follow the realm of the game as closely as possible.
Fable: The Balverine order is a perfect example of a variety of thing I have loosely touched on above, the first is that it is based on an existing game, and plays within the understood realms of possibility in Fable’s universe without breaking cannon or disassociating from the source material itself. Where the Balverine order does come a little short of replicating Fable is its lack of humour.
The other key example of game books that bears keeping in mind is that Gears of War 3 was written by Karen Traviss who had written Gears in novel form BEFORE she wrote Gears 3.
Rossco: I like books based on games, the Assassin’s Creed books are good and as Neal says, some of the Books based in the fable universe are awesome. Then there are Graphic Novels that are made as part of video games that rock.
There is always a stigma attached to anything made from a game here though for me, it’s like the book cannot be taken as a serious piece of literature because of it’s origin which is pretty bad when you consider how well books like the Da Vinci Code have succeeded over the years.
Personally, I think the story telling and characterisation in games like The Last of Us or Heavy Rain is outstanding and better than many books I’ve read. Perhaps one of the issues here, that rolls over into films, is age and generational. Many authors are older, most not getting published until they are middle aged which would only now really see authors that are into gaming.
Hopefully this is a sign they will get more recognition.
Neal: Movies of Games have, thus far, been unmitigated disasters, with the exceptions of palatable versions of Doom and Max Payne (yes, I liked both, you might not have) however some versions need burying
See Street Fighter.
Games based on movies have a mixed history with the spider-man 2 game being exceptionally good, Spider-man 3 being better as a game then as a movie, but horrible games based on movies (like the horrid iron man games) mean that movie games don’t often translate.
Also there was Super Mario Bros, which as we all know was a tremendous film…. not!
Rossco: Unmitigated Disasters, hard to even argue with that or the mention of Street Fighter, although I may raise you Mortal Kombat Neal!
What’s odd about this is both video game based movies are pretty bad, I mean the best rated direct movie based on a game was the OK at best Prince of Persia. Then the other way round, movie based games are pretty fecking horrendous too (Spiderman 2 Aside!) and he moment someone even mentions a Movie-Tie-In game you almost shudder at the thought.
I genuinely both sides don’t tale each other seriously yet. Movie guys think about making a game for an extra few $/£ and when making a movie the producers don’t see the potential of a big earner. Once again, perhaps an age/generational issue BUT are things about to change for the better here?
Mad Max The Game is looking pretty awesome and the Movie is looking great too then we have the Assassin’s Creed Movie staring Michael Fassbender could be something special and I don’t think I have to mention how good The Last of Us as a film could be. Gaming is crying out for just one really, really good movie and once that happens we may see things get a lot better on both movie-games and game-movies.
Neal: Are games art? The simplest way to determine this is to look at forms of art. Art comes in contemporary, modern, pop, etc.
Games have many different art styles, from photo realistic to cell shade. So in that sense I can’t even see why anyone could argue otherwise. Some of the creativity in gaming art is awesome, beautiful and certainly a work of art.
Rossco: I totally agree with Neal here. The fact art can be expressed as anything simply means games have to be considered an art-form in both their graphic design and in their creation.
I personally feel one of the biggest works of gaming art will be the release of No Man’s Sky later This Year the guys at Hello Games have literally built a universe that creates itself as you play… if that’s not a work of art I don’t know what is.
But then there is some of the character work in games like Bloodborne or some of the scenery you get in something stunning like Child of Light. I hardly think people can have an issue with this, games are certainly an art-form and one that is certain to become more diverse and impressive as games get better and, importantly, Indie Games developers keep working hard because they are the ones making the big impact in this regard for me.
What do you think about games being perceived as art or expanding into Film and Literature?L et us know your thoughts, Join the MGL Gamers and Leave a Comment, get in touch on Twitter or on our Facebook Page.
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