Considering its scale, video games should be considered as the same form of art as movies.

Do Video Games Deserve the Same Respect as Films?

Considering its scale, video games should be considered as the same form of art as movies.

This decade will be known as the decade for when video games were finally considered works of art. The industry has already jumped the medium, blurring the lines between something like a game, and that of a film.

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Video games have come a long way since the years of people playing in an arcade on a pixellated screen, with graphics that didn’t even rival cartoon shows. Nowadays, the graphics are outstanding, the production for a project is huge, the marketing campaigns are endless, and most importantly, the consumers are rushing out to buy them. The video game industry is delivering top quality content, while raking in billions of dollars from gamers around the world.

The video games released these past few years are making a statement, and they are letting everyone know that video games will be standing the test of time. Some people who still consider games an activity for juveniles are ignoring the stats and denying the obvious facts. 

From the big-time production to the realism found in its graphics, video games can now take us on an emotional joyride just as big Hollywood movies do. It’s safe to say that what the gaming industry churns out is on par with cinema now, and video games deserve the same amount of respect as Hollywood films.

The Production Effort and Revenue Generation

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V made $800 million in 24 hours alone. After another 48 hours, sales topped $1 billion, which made GTA V the fastest piece of entertainment media to reach a billion dollars, surpassing the old title-weight holder, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2Grand Theft Auto was not the only game to achieve such praiseworthy numbers. Shining the light back on the Call of Duty franchise, the game Black Ops 2 still rocked the house, only taking 15 days to reach that $1 billion mark.

 

Avatar, the highest grossing box office film in history, also hit the billion dollar mark, but took two days longer than Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and would have held no chance against GTA V. 

The production values are also beginning to match each other in both of the industries. Disney reported that The Avengers took $220 million to make, while The Dark Knight Rises cost about $257.2 million to produce. Comparing those numbers to the gaming industry, Rockstar reported that GTA V costed roughly about $265 million to create, and Bungie alloted a whopping $500 million dollars for the game Destiny. 

What were once known as cute little computer games have morphed into something huge, as many of them now rival the scale of Hollywood movies. And as they both cost around the same amount of money to produce, you have to make the argument that video games cannot be ignored, as they have the ability to generate more revenue than modern-day films.

The Graphics and Storytelling

Graphics in video games now rival that of top-tier animators in Disney films. With the new game engines, the graphics can even rival their human counterparts. Games like Crysis 3 and Metro: Last Light push the boundaries of on-screen graphics, making what is real and not real almost indistinguishable. Storytelling has also taken a huge leap in the industry as more and more games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead are produced, which are designed to tug at a players heart-strings, forcing them to make emotional decisions.

No longer are the days of an 8-bit Mario running through a pixellated castle to save his 8-bit princess (in fact, even Mario is in stunning 3D now). We now experience an exhausted Nathan Drake, gasping for air as he climbs through the level. He is clinging onto a train, as he tries to climb up to avoid falling to his death. You can see the terrified look on his face, as he is wearing nothing but a bloodstained sweater in the bitter cold. With the graphics now, you can also witness every little detail. You can see the carmine-colored blood on his sweater, the little flurries of snow as they blow past you, the worn-out clothes, and endangered look on Nathan’s face as he tries to figure out a path to safety.   

Games pride themselves on authenticity these days. While playing a game in the NBA 2k series, a bystander can barely tell the difference between a Thursday night game, and an NBA 2k game. Heck, 2K even got every tiny hair in James Harden’s thick beard on point. 

The stories created in games now are also on par with the writing in the movies. Furthermore, there is a vast majority of different styles for you to choose from. If you are looking for a heart-felt playthrough, then The Last of Us or The Walking Dead series will do the trick; or if you’re looking for a psychological twist, then Spec Ops: The Line or Bioshock will suit you just fine.

Video games now aren’t just side scrollers where you help the main character get to the end by figuring out the level design. Intricate tales are told throughout games, and whether they are used to help provoke your thought or force you to shed tears, every player can tell us of a memorable moment in their gaming career.

The Demographic

What do you picture when you envision a gamer? The media portrays a gamer as a Mountain Dew-guzzling, basement-dwelling, overweight man who still lives with his mom. If not that, then it’s your average teenage boy who wastes his afternoon playing first-person shooters in his room. Neither of those scenarios are the case anymore. 

About 186 million people play games in the United States alone. That is about 59% of the American population, in which 81% of gamers are young adults, and 48% of players are females. Comparing these numbers to movie-goers, there are 69% of Americans who go to the theaters to watch films.

The gap between the percentage of gamers, and the (socially acceptable) movie-goers is now diminishing. And it can only get closer with the predicted growth of the gaming industry. 

Blurred Lines

Video games have made a huge jump in numbers department, especially in today’s mainstream culture. Big-budget productions and the stellar graphics found in modern games are some of the reasons for the gigantic leap.

For now, games are thriving in our culture, and there are no signs of the fever slowing down anytime soon. In fact, there is now literally a whole competitive sports scene dedicated to video games.

But before we start another argument, we must realize that with all the achievements the video game industry has already accomplished, it is only a matter of time until they are classified as the form of art that only movies can be described as. And I firmly believe that video games are ready.


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Author
Victor Ren
Been playing games since I was old enough to pick up a controller // Being involved in the community would be a dream.