For this week’s game I took a turn from week 4 blog on the First person shooter of Rainbow Six Seige and turned to a different genre of games. This led me to play the game Skyrim, an action role playing game. Its defiantly a lot different from my preferred style of FPS games but it was actually quite enjoyable.
What is Skyrim?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role playing game that can be seen from either the first person or third person point of view. Skyrim was created by Bethseda Game Studio and later published by Bethesda Softworks. Players are given the option to develop their own character where with their character you are allowed to roam freely through the land of Skyrim, being an open world environment consisting of cities, forest, and villages. You can improve your character’s skills over time by doing quests. You are given the ability to complete whatever quest you’d like, ignoring the games main quest, however some quests depend on the main storyline. The main story in the game revolves around your player character and their quest to defeat Alduin the World-Eater, a dragon who is prophesied to destroy the world. When considering RPG’s Skyrim ranks as one of the highest of its class. This wasn’t my first time playing the game (I have played it before and already beat the game) so I continued from where I left off.
I laughed when I had to consider whether this game was art or not. Throughout this course this game would often pop into my mind when asked if games should really be considered art and from what I believe the fact that there are people out there that wouldn’t consider video games as art, I recommend you give this game a try. Then will they learn to appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating a game. This can further be explained with the quote by Hunicke et al that states
“Game design and authorship happen at many levels, and the fields of games research and development involve people from diverse creative and scholarly backgrounds” (1)
The collaborative efforts of everyone to produce that final game, that final piece of art. Not only that but the art within the game is what really does it for me to consider it art. The scenery and the Skyrim world within is truly a piece of art not only for the creators but also for the gamers being what it was intentionally made for. We see Roland Barthes concept of “The Death of the Author,” as the art should be interpreted by the player. We see the quote,” The birth of the reader must be ransomed by the death of the author.” (Barthes 1967, p. 6) It is the concept of arts meaning not being held by the artist but it is really what the observer, or in this case, player, experience from it is what we truly call the art. They create the game for what they want the player to experience out of it, but it is really on how the player feels and what they experience from the game upon playing it.
Skyrim has a variety of reasons why it can qualify as a “game.” When thinking about why Skyrim should be considered a game it brought me to the quote by Caillois, a game may be defined as
“an activity which is essentially: free (voluntary), separate [in time and place], uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make-believe.” (Juul).
This game perfectly fit its description. We are found in medieval times on a make believe land know as Skyrim that was brought forth by the vision of the developers. You are allowed to roam really throughout this map only limited to the boundaries and can freely interact with multiple CPU’s throughout the space within the game. In the words of Alexander Galloway, we can further explain why it should be considered a game with the quote,” A game is an activity defined by rules in which players try to reach some sort of goal.” (Galloway 2006, p.1) We see as you progress throughout the game based on the choices you make, and the quest you conquer that allow you to level up and unlock greater things. The more quests you complete in Skyrim the more you gain experience and they begin to get harder and harder. Just as the quote stated, it brings you to some sort of goal which in this game can be the highest level you can achieve while also beating the main story line.
Skyrim won multiple awards, including the VGX award for best RPG making it in my eyes qualified to be considered a game. A REALLY good one too. It engaged players for countless hours of entertainment and really gave them their own fictional life in a virtual realm. It was able to do this due to its great artistic quality put into the development on the game, which makes it a reason to why it should be considered art. You can really tell the developers spent their time to create a quality product that the players would enjoy.
Jesper Juul. (2005). “Video Games and the Classic Game Model” in Half-Real: Video Gamesbetween Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: MIT Press: pp. 23-54. [PDF]
Hunicke et al. (2004). “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research”
Roland Barthes. (1977 ). “The Death of the Author.” In Image, Music, Text. New York:Hill and Wang.