Can Journey Be The Next Video Games are "Art" Example
Game "Journey" to be Made as Art
Millions of gamers will run up to the plate to defend videogames as a legitimate art form, but not every game is truly artistic. The attribute of being artistic is a difficult attribute to define because every gamer and every critic has their own idea of what makes something undeniably Art. Without going down the path of trying to make a case of what makes a videogame artistic, or what doesn't, let's just say that every year a few titles come out that the general consensus agrees has artistic merit. In recent years these titles have been; Braid, Shadow of the Colossus, Limbo, Flower, Portal, and BioShock, just to name a few.
Genuinely they come off as something more then a videogame because they do something particularly interesting. They do something very non-gamey. In BioShock it was the attention to narrative in a particular way in which BioShock drew attention to the fact that a gamer in any game never really has any freedom. They are stuck to the whim of the game's objectives. It destroyed the disillusionment of freedom confidently to the expense of it's own mechanics. To some gamers this had a powerful effect to the overall experience, to other gamers they found the game's narrative at odds with the game's structure.
In an interview with Jenova Chen, the creative director of thatgamecompany and designer of the titles flOw and Flower, Jenova Chen begins to describe Journey in a refreshing way. Describing Journey as an online experience in which Journey is just like hiking. You go to hike a mountain, and there are other hikers you might meet and if you like them you can hike with them. This is an online game, but there are no lobbies.
It's online title in which you travel from point A to point B never acquiring personal skills or abilities. Every skill is borrowed from your surroundings and there aren't any traditional enemies. It sounds like an interesting concept (although a little boring), but it is concerning that Jenova Chen in the interview often focused on the steps he took to make the game fun.
From screen shots the game certainly has an interesting and cool aesthetic, but can a game about traveling where the developers are actively denying the player's the feeling of empowerment going to be a fun one? If there is anything that the games-as-art bandwagon has genuinely agreed upon, it's that artistic games do tend to still be fun, so it'll be interesting to see if this game ends up becoming the next, Games are Art proof, or if it'll be slid under the rug for having good concepts, but poor implementation.
Journey's release date has yet to be announced, but will come out some time this year. For the full interview with Jenova Chen, Click Here.