For this weeks game I chose to jump rom a Mac / PC game, to a Playstation 4 game. I ventured from the realm of world domination in Civilization VI, to the deadly strategy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
This game came to mind as it stayed in the genre of war and domination games, I not only switched to a Playstation game, but took on a generational game as this game was first released in 2007 and included three preceding games following the same line. It had been awhile since the last time I had ventured to play a FPS game especially any Call of Duty or Battlefield games. I find that the players tend to be out of my league as a person who devotes no time to improving his COD skills. Although my roommate seemed to be better than me in every way as a man who played almost every COD game and has prestiged several times on all.
So it was to be expected that the other players were like my roommate, so gearing up to play was rough as I was spawn killed at least 65 times before I was able to start forging a counter attack. So I looked like this GIF here for a hot minute.
All jokes aside we must examine this game from two different view points. Each of which has their own take on establishing this game in respect to their requirements. The perspective of the art world and the perspective of the game world.
As a Game:
If we look at COD: Modern Warfare Remastered and try to pull out the aspects of play that make it a game, we begin to see that it is very simple. But of course, what is a game in its essence? Well, Modern Warfare did have player interaction as I used the controller to manipulate the game space within the allowed rules and physics of the game. I quickly became attached to the outcome as my team raced to murder as many soldiers of the opposite team before they outscored us. I have never been so encompassed by a game than I am when I play these games. Many times I will catch myself yelling at the screen or becoming frustrated / aggressive post gameplay due to my lack ability mostly, but the competition almost entices you to continue play. You measure you talents against everyone online and brings the collective / group play into the otherwise single player game.
First we must define art to travel any further down this road. But to anyone who knows of the ontology of this word knows defining art is not as easy as 1,2,3. The debate and animosity over the word ‘art’ is toppled only by the debate over the bible as a sacred text. No one really has the answer, we all just call to authority and look at evidence based on highly thought out definitions from really old guys.
“[Ideal] unity can enter the art consciousness only through the unfolding and then the reconciliation of the particularization’s of the Idea, and, through this development, artistic beauty acquires a totality of particular stages and forms.”
This guy Hegel thought of art as a dialectic where each society brought its new perspective as we moved from traditional thinking to different mindsets. Our aesthetic changes and adapts with our culture and society. Indeed one could look at inventions such as film and photography and their impact on the art world. This guy Walter Benjamin was overtly concerned with how photography, film and reproduction took the aura away from the art and transformed it to something new. The authenticity of the production is no longer a concern, instead the message turns political (although he was quite worried about the Nazis so much you can hear it on the pages). Here is a link to his paper on Art and Mechanical Reproduction Walter Benjamin (1986 ) – “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” : pp. 27-52
Modern Warfare can be looked at from an aesthetic point of view, although what were those aesthetics meant to do? They are meant to give the player a live sense of play, more real than the latter. This is brought upon by capitalism and the “next up” culture of the video game market. But at it’s core the people creating these objects and movements within the game are simply trying to bring the best and most realistic FPS game ever created to date. Something every great artist strived to do without saying it, the inspiration by competition to create the most pleasing and popular works. Indeed the form and message are important, but are open to interpretation unless the creator clearly outlined the meaning / feeling intended to be felt.
Here is the real question, is our society ready to accept video games as form of art and to what degree? The current answer by actions taken in the art and gaming communities is no, not yet. They seem to be pushing games into the art world slowly like getting into a frosty uncharted ocean limb by limb. It is a held back, open, but mostly closed, gesture of welcome. Let’s accept some, but not all of the genre due to the overwhelming stigmatism against “gamers” and the “gamer” lifestyle.
Games parallel art in the sense that they are the new form that will enviably be considered an art form or part of art in the future. Just as with film, the definition and form must be examined, explored and fumbled through just as I fumble through the maps of Modern Warfare.