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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Games As A Art

It has been quite a while since the release of Clover Studio's action/adventure game Okami was released on the PS2, and since then, there has been little to satisfy the desire for something truly new, unique, artistic, and meaningful in the videogame world.

Upon first picking up the artistic wonder called Okami, I was instantly and consistently engrossed. Brought to us by Clover Studio, this fantastically stylish offering is the kind of game that seems to generate mountains of acclaim, yet build molehills of revenue at cash registers around the world. Clearly it didn't do well enough, monetarily, to save the studio that created it, because Clover Studio was shut down shortly after its release.

Anyway, in terms of general game design, Okami, when stripped down, is a basic adventure game in the vein of Zelda and the like. If I was here to write a review, I could tell you all about every aspect of the game, from combat mechanics to plotline nuances (and I will probably touch on much of what lies in between, anyway), but I think it may be a bit late for all that, considering the game's age.

What I would like to talk about today is the idea that the medium of the video game is much more than it has been in the past. It is evolving into (and in my opinion, already has become, in many instances) a fine art just as legitimate as any symphony or concerto, novel or poem, statue or sculpture, fresco or portrait. As such, the video game is a prime candidate for study and analysis in academia or the general public arena. Of course, not all selections will carry the same weight in terms of underlying meaning or intellectual significance, and there will always be mindless entries into the ever-growing library of interactive entertainment, but with ever-increasing frequency, titles are released that offer much more to the mind than point-and-shoot.

Okami is one such project that seems to offer more depth for the gamer to swim about in. This may not necessarily apply when it comes to game mechanics, but in provocation of thought and 'blossoming,' as it might be, of ideas, it certainly does. These 'ideas' I refer to are in stark contrast to what the likes of Jack Thompson might try to preach to the nation about video games. Nearly every action, represented in brushstrokes similar to the art of Bernard Buffet, carries a positive message and uplifting imagery. (Buffet's art: Example 1, 2, 3)

An over-arching theme that is quite apparent in Okami is the restoration of natural beauty. Early objectives in the game include the revitalization of withered trees, which when revived bloom wildly in an explosion of bright, pastel-colored leaves and flowers. This eruption doesn't stop at the branches, either. It flows over the countryside on a wave of light, vivifying large areas of previously "cursed" land. Scattered about the game world are many more smaller areas tainted by similar clouds of unsightly purple smoke. These must be restored by drawing flowerbeds over them, after which they burst back to life in the same grand fashion as before.
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Posted by Ajay :: 4:10 PM :: 0 comments

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