There will be spoiler

Ive been a hardcore gamer since I cant remember when and always believed that more often than most people think, games are not just games.

Im here to talk about that.


The Eighth Art

We’re in a world now that geeks are cool and games are artistic. What the hell happened? I haven’t the faintest idea. And while I appreciate geekness being something appreciated nowadays, I think there are both a good and a bad side to all of this. But complaining about idiotic people requires a time I do not have, so I’ll just concentrate on the positive side of things, shall we?

Artistic. That’s not my adjective, but how they’re labeled these days, by others and by their own creators. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about their title, as anything that calls itself art. I’m a film major and couldn’t be any more tired about the discussion whether something is or ain’t art. It’s not important. Not for me, anyhow, as I don’t consider art being better or worse than something that is not.

That said, despite their labels (indie is very common too, and I won’t even start on that one) they’re noteworthy games, most of which were responsible for my desire to write this blog. The reason, as you all can imagine, is not the insanely good-looking graphics or the gameplay of a lifetime, neither is the difficulty level or the stimulating puzzles you’ll face. No, nothing like that. And as much as I do appreciate all these things, what really matters here is not the game itself, but how it affects you.

I bet for some this could sound very boring, but if you’re one of those people who expect something more than a mere mouse skills challenge from a game, then you might be in for an absorbing experience that can actually make you reflect about grater things than, say, slashing zombies – and please don’t take this the wrong way, I do love slashing zombies. I’m not talking about pretentious subjects, just what we all go through everyday, what we feel and live and know for ourselves in the most subjective way there is. Being able to produce an emotional identification is what triggers my interest in these experimental creations, and what I believe to be one of the most amazing things a game could ever achieve.

In a very simple way, it can make you think about the relationships you’ve had and true love, as well as those heartbroken moments when the world seems very gloomy. It can make you think about long lost friends that you would like to meet again, about waiting, or about helping someone you deeply care for, or self-sacrifice when it comes to protecting someone you love. It can make you look upon yourself or mull over human nature. It can even make you think about faith and spirituality.

But whatever deep meaning, feelings and ideas these thought-provoking games could evoke in any of us, the most important thing here is to demystificate them.

You should play, not because it’s cool and everybody else is doing it, not because now gaming is being part of a modern work of art or because it makes you an indie gamer. You should play it because they’re pretty damn good. And that’s that.


  1. I have to join you in this line of thought, being "indie" or "artsy" or whatever won't make a game any better, in fact, this kind of adjective already makes me refrain from playing that due to the likeness of being hyped.

    Still, I'm not sure if there's a kind of game which makes you feel things, we can feel with [m]any kind of games, I can speak for myself as I recalled you last time I've played Mario Galaxy, and that's neither an old nor an indie game, or how I'm unable to play "Dungeon Master 2 - The Legend of Skullkeep" (great game, btw) without listening to the record "Ignition" from The Offspring. One thing just calls the other; We are used to attach things to other things, likewise we attach a reason to each and every thing that happen on our lives.

  2. I agree, we can have feelings and thoughts incited by any kind of games. It was never my intention to say that thought-provoking games are the only ones that have that quality, but that is their essence, what they're created for - along with entertainment, obviously.

    When I say that I have an emotional identification it doesn't mean that the game makes me feel sad or loved or something, just that I can relate to that situation in a cathartic kind of way.

  3. To me, there's a plethora of emotions and sensations that I associate with games of all types.

    I agree with you, games don't necessarily have to fulfill an emotional need or challenge us, so to speak, sometimes I really just want to kill hordes of enemies without much thought.

    However, thought provoking games that challenge our expectations and/or our notions, whether in a meta way or by association with real life, are among the most best experience a game can provide.

    With respect to other topic you discuss, I agree with you; it's kind of pointless to label them as 'indie' or 'art' games. However, humans seem to have a natural tendency to do this anyway, categorizing and classifying things.

    Given that, I guess it's almost inevitable to reduce these games into categories, so perhaps the right thing to be thinking about it: what should we call them? What name conveys best what separates these games from others? And that's something I can't answer...

  4. What matters is to have fun playing, regardless if a game is indie or not. This indie concept itself is rather complicated...lately I've been noticing its use only to sell more, since indie == cool in people's minds. An innovating game isn't necessarily indie (Portal is a good example).

  5. Indeed it's in human nature to categorize things, and I don't have a problem with that, the basic principle of language itself it's a labeling process, so to speak.

    I guess my problem is not with calling these games arty, indie or whatever, is what is directly related with that... a certain attitude, a way of thinking and acting of people, somewhat like Vinicius and Lint said.

    That's why I say that regardless of what they're called, the important thing is to demystificate that and point to what's important: the game, not the title.

    I too don't think I could answer what else we could call them... I personally prefer thought-provoking games.