As the semester comes to a close, I want to take some time to stop and reflect on the impact that this class has had on my perception of video games; more specifically, how it has deepened my appreciation of them. As such, I want to highlight two games I played this semester and how my appreciation of each has deepened.
1. Nier: Automata
I played through Nier: Automata on February and March of this year. The game is amazing in every possible aspect: the gameplay is fast-paced and exciting; the art design is beautiful; the soundtrack is phenomenal (it got the Game Awards 2017 best score/music award); and the story is one of the deepest and most emotional I have experienced in a video game. However, I was somewhat conflicted with appreciating this game: how could it take itself so seriously, and at the same time be about ultra-sexualized ninja android ladies? How can I tell someone, “hey, look at this, it says something deep and special” and be taken seriously?
Ultimately, I realized that the seriousness is not mutually exclusive with the game’s ridiculousness. Playing through the game in its entirety, it becomes apparent how the developer was conscious of his decisions, and how he leverages the apparently superficial decisions (sexy robots) in order increase emotional affect. Most impressive is how the game uses the essence of its platform to deliver a truly spectacular finale, only possible in a video game (if you played, you know what I’m talking about).
I played through Rime this past April. Rime is one of those video games you think about when you are arguing that video games are art. With echoes from games like Journey, The Witness and ABZU, it is a relaxing, exploratory puzzle game with a mysterious story. You play as a small boy who has woken up on an ancient island. With basically no dialogues or cutscenes, the story is unraveled through exploration and gameplay.
The aspect of this game that truly makes me appreciate it is all the thought that went behind the design. Ultimately, the game is a metaphor for (insert thing that I do not want to spoil), and each level is designed with a different part of this metaphor in mind. You can feel the thought, care and intent that went behind giving every level meaning; and that makes the game truly special. I appreciate that even more having had hands on experience with creating my own game: it makes you realize that no decision is made without thought; nothing must be taken for granted.
What do you guys think? Are there any aspect of games/a specific game that this class has caused you to value more?