Uncharted: The Lost Legacy PS4 PlayStation 4

I’m an hour into replaying Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a game that captivated me in 2017. I meander through the streets, enthralled by its ridiculous attention to detail and bask in its marvellous colours. I put my controller down for a minute, and I’m suddenly struck by the realisation that all of what I was playing was a creation, spearheaded by a few talented individuals – down to each and every pixel. 

I could praise Naughty Dog to the high heavens, but big-time developers such as Naughty Dog are not the only developers to deserve such recognition for their artistry. I want to focus on the idea of games serving as something other than an interactive experience, and shine a light on the medium as being more widely accepted as an art form. Making games is no doubt hard work, and I think it's an art that needs more recognition from industries new and old. 

Suffice to say we may all play games for different reasons. Maybe it’s the pleasure of playing a competitive MMO with your friends after work or sinking your teeth into a single player campaign you’ve been wanting to play for a few weeks (I’m admittedly a sucker for this one). All of these interests are equally important. In essence, this is the heart of why developers do what they do – money and PR shenanigans aside.

Horizon: Zero Dawn PS4 PlayStation 4

With each driving force in mind, we all have something in common as gamers, otherwise we wouldn’t play them. My own driving force is personally spurred by my desire to discover new worlds and new environments, to soak up their choice of style, and to play games the way the developers intended. Granted, this doesn’t always work out, but the appreciation for the art style remains paramount throughout. All of these games began their vision from what started as a black screen. Like an artist to a white canvas, it is then built from the ground up. It’s something that rarely crosses my mind when I’m playing a game, but floors me when the realisation hits. 

The video game industry has become much better at recognising this type of talent thanks to newly established ceremonies such as The Game Awards, and others of its ilk. Where it falls short is being recognised by other prominent big-time industries, and I think it's something that should be and needs to be addressed universally.

Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla's massively successful open-world RPG that received widespread critical acclaim back last year, was adored by most who played it. I personally poured hundreds of hours into this game, and my yearning to return to it wasn’t necessarily in part because of its story, but the desire to uncover new parts of its world and bask in its visual spectacle. Rarely do I feel the same way with any other medium. With each new game I explore, I find myself rooting for developers across the world to experience the gratitude that Guerrilla has received, so that then new developers, and artists, have the confidence to come forward with new ideas.

Journey PS4 PlayStation 4

No doubt it is an intimidating and competitive industry. The debate that video games aren’t seen as an art form seems like an archaic mentality of our modern age, and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve squabbled with family and friends defending video games as such a valid form of art, just like movies and paintings. Fortunately, games are becoming more intelligent and ambitious with each passing year, and older generations are experiencing these games first hand, realising what massive potential they have to serve as a piece of interactive art. But it’s slow progress. 

With all of this said, my penultimate question to you is: what game do you admire the most, and do you think games serve as a form of art? Moreover, do you think they have to? 

I’ll still be here, championing video games’ honour for decades to come. Just like all artists, they deserve the same recognition and respect by all industries, not just gaming. It’s a tough and competitive business, and I think video game developers deserve their chance to seek more recognition for their work. I’d love to know your thoughts.

Do you agree with Gabriella that games should be considered an art form? What games stick out to you as the best examples? Paint us a picture in the comments below.