FPS Art?


Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-Remastered-preview-mainFor 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 200.gifwas 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 mamaxresdefaultny 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.

As Art:

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.”

The Philosophy of Fine Art George Hegel

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 [1936]) – “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.


8 thoughts on “FPS Art?

  1. Interesting take on Call of duty: Modern Warfare, so I ask you based on the new remastered version of COD:MW, do you think that it would fit perfectly for a Machinima film and would it be considered art? It certainly has a look for film and one that the player can participate. I think that videogames although artistic in its own field still need some improvement in other types of artistic fields, especially in cinematography. It’s getting there and certainly getting some audiences


  2. I do not think Modern Warfare classifies as a Machinima film and I don’t think it needs to. I do agree that video games have branched off into film in the form of Machinima, although I do not think it is necessary to do so to be considered art. In themselves, games are art based on the perspective of the person viewing / playing the game. When it comes down to it, there is no truth. There is no visible line in the sand, it is up to the individuals reason and knowledge of art in culture. I do think that improvement of other artistic fields in important, but not essential for the determination of the category of video games in and as art. Novel but not imperative (in my narrow opinion).


  3. Good blog on MWR but you spent so much time focusing on the multi player aspect of the game why not mention the single player? I believe that the narrative a game helps people understand games as art far more than the multiplayer. Although i enjoy the multiplayer so much more!


    • I decided to go with just the online section of the game simply because it was the place I saw most people playing. If you have been playing these games for years then you know that most of the time people play FPS games they gravitate towards the online play. Now, the story mode is important to the story of MW and the game as art but the simple fact is it is discarded in comparison to the online play, just as you enjoy it much more. I believe that if they want everyone to experience the story mode and the narrative, they would have made it a requirement before entering online play.


  4. This is where it all started for me too. I couldn’t agree more with your reasoning about why is can be considered a game because it clearly is. I believe you should’ve covered all aspects of the game to really give the reader an idea of how the remastered version has or has not changed. For me I would’ve to say that this game could fit into the category of machinima because of what the players are capable of doing to make these types of films. It honestly comes down to your own opinion, you can’t really argue because their is no fine line.


  5. Taking into consideration Hegel’s perspective of artistic beauty, what do you believe makes this game the most aesthetically pleasing and why?


  6. I liked your thoughts and delve into Modern Warfare Remastered! This game in my opinion is one of the best games in the franchise that caught my attention when it was first released, and was stunning in both its storytelling, and its game play in the time it was released! Your take on whether Modern Warfare Remastered art was very similar to mine I think in one of your statements:
    “They are meant to give the player a live sense of play, more real than the latter.”
    So with this quote, I’d like to ask, do you think the accepted portrayal of Modern Warfare Remastered as art comes from this emphasized usage of the time and space of a game? I think it is so myself because because of the criteria that Benjamin provides that art must have a presence within time and space.


  7. I think the experience of reality within the game time and space is part of what makes the play field and physics of the game art. I agree with Benjamin but would say that this is more of a thing of the experience more than anything. Would you agree?


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