Thesis

2022

M.A., Digital Media

In my thesis, I examined if video games can be considered as art, what makes them stand out from other genres and what can be done with gaming mechanics to take this medium to the next level.

Games as a New Genre of Art: Affective Game Design.

For my final project I made a 2D video game with Unity engine - with an unpredictable plot, fantastical illustrations and mesmerizing soundtrack by Cinder Mae, I explore storytelling, immersion and cybertext and abandon familiar and well-known gaming mechanics.

Games are a revolutionary genre of art. It is a new way of self-expression for artists and developers, and having mastered it, one can single-handedly create worlds that are affective - fantastical, frightening or touching.

Video games satisfy our need for fantastical escape from reality, give us an outlet for stress relief and fulfil our need for achievements. Are video games just an entertainment or could this new medium be considered as art?

In recent decades, the constraints of what is considered art has been rapidly expanding and video games have reached high levels and have acquired all the necessary elements that prove their connection with the creative world. There is something about video games that makes them stand out from everything else. Something special.

Today, there are many who still continue to consider games as mere entertainment, unworthy of being called art. However, every year more and more people are of the opinion that games are not just art, but absolute, combining all other manifestations of creativity. Any creation of the human imagination can evoke a wide range of emotions and carry informational and cultural value and everything depends not on the type of media, but on who creates it and how it is used.

The hero wakes up alone in a forest, remembering nothing of how they ended up there. They have to figure out what happened to them. Through looking at the items scattered around them, the hero finds out that they came into the woods in search of something otherworldly. On their journey, the hero will meet strange creatures. Are these beings what they were looking for? Or are these just visions of their shattered mind? 

My goal was to create a new experience for the player that abandons well-known and familiar gaming mechanics. My game has no visible menu and no interface elements, there are no explanations and hints on how to progress the game. The gameplay is instinctive, just as cybertext, the player has to put effort in order to understand the message, to read the story, to be a part of it. I made a game where players can go on a journey where they can immerse themselves, participate in a story and gain something new. In addition to the plot and gameplay, the player is living their own narrative through a game. After all, it is an interactive media. Humanity has been telling stories for centuries, but it wasn't until the creation of video games that we began to tell interactive stories.