Beyond the Controller: How Video Games Become Art

gaming console remotes

It wasn’t that long ago that video games were considered an immature way to pass time. However, the times, they’ve sure changed.

The video gaming industry is a billion dollar venture that shows no indications of slowing. References and influence from video games can be found in pop culture far and wide, including popular movies and TV shows, and even music.

Let’s have a look at the multifaceted role that video games play in our modern society as works of art.

Video Games as Art

At the heart of the video game cultural influence discussion, is gamings role in art. Are video games art?

We don’t hear this discussion outloud a whole lot. That’s because for many, the thought of such seems absurd. It’s a polarizing subject, but it’s certainly not as irrational as some might have us believe.

The 21st Century adapted our vision of art from static wall paintings to movies and music. Its only natural that gaming would follow, although, in a begrudging sort of trajectory.

Video games offer narrative depth, visual spectacle, and a highly charged interactive experience.

Much like novels or films, video games have evolved to tell intricate stories.

Games like “The Last of Us” and “Red Dead Redemption 2” have characters with deep emotions, moral dilemmas, and complex relationships.

Gaming also offers immersive ecosystems created entirely from scratch, much as a writer creates a world in a fictional novel.

Today’s gaming puts on display realistic human prototypes as characters. Many movies leverage similar technology when creating monsters and anthropomorphic characters.

Titles such as “Okami,” “Journey,” or “Hollow Knight” adopt unique artistic styles, reminiscent of paintings.

Institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York have recognized video games as art by including them in their collections.

Video games now have their awards ceremonies, like The Game Awards, which not only commend gameplay mechanics but also categories like best art direction, narrative, and music.

Hollywood and Gaming

There’s no shortage of gaming’s influence across movies and TV.

The Netflix hit show, Stranger Things, frequently references arcade games reflective of the 1980s.

The 1983 hit staring Matthew Broderick, WarGames, revolved around concepts based in gaming.

The 1982 and 2010 redux of Tron centered around a digital world.

Video games are unquestionably a form of artistic expression. And their influence remains deep across many cultural avenues. And that’s going to continue to be the case as gaming evolves and grows.