Copied from the Dm C
I think part of the problem is that since video games are still a young medium, people are still trying to define what it is about games that makes them uniquely artistic compared to movies or music or paintings. I think we can agree that having cutscenes and music and aesthetics aren't what really make a game, but its gameplay and mechanics. Shadow of the Colossus is great game, but that has to do mostly with its gameplay and the context.
The enjoyment you get out of it is finding and slaying the colossi. The finding part has you traverse and explore a big empty land with all sorts of nooks and crannies. You are absolutely alone save for the horse you ride. Actually killing the colossus is itself a puzzle that you need to figure out. The music and visuals are just there to enhance the experience. While I do think the visuals and music really help give the game a strong identity, just imagine if the gameplay was made into something like a more traditional hack and slash, or even an RPG, if towns and people were added that gave you more info and background. It would greatly alter the experience.
As another example, just look at the Resident Evil series. When it originally started, it was about surviving while getting from point A to B. There were a lot of traditional Adventure Game
puzzles, with with the added factor of dying easily if you weren't careful. The "art" and "puzzle" was figuring out how best to manage your resources and avoid getting hurt when you weren't very powerful, which created a sense of horror. That's why fans get upset about it becoming more actionized; making it an action game takes away the artistic part that made it special.
The interactive "puzzle" of a game and the mechanics are what make a game art, and I believe every truly great game has something unique like this, especially back in the old days with the original arcade machines, when visuals and music weren't exactly top priority. It's all a matter of asking yourself "How does playing this game make me feel as opposed to simply watching it?" Just as another great example, look at Portal. It is a puzzle game at its very core, and its a great game even without GLaDOS
. Just imagine how boring it would be if you just watched someone solve the puzzles in record time as opposed to figuring them out yourself. I think Portal is a great contender for not simply games as art, but gameplay
I think for the Devil May Cry series, its "art" was the deep, complex combat system along with challenging and interesting bosses. Discovering new combos and finding out the best strategy to take down an enemy is the "puzzle" aspect, but with much more skill involved. The experience you get is the fast paced, kinetic combat and adrenaline rush from pulling of stylish combos, as well as the satisfaction you get when you've more than overcome an enemy that gave you trouble. That's the biggest problem with Dm C
; Ninja Theory, and to an extent a great many gaming critic and journalist, don't understand that DMC's extreme combat was its art, and they've ignored that in favor of focusing on the artistic strengths transplanted from another medium to its detriment. I think its the same problem a lot of action games have.