There have been many multiplayer first person shooters throughout the years: Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Team Fortress. However, Overwatch is the only one that really stands out to me. Maybe it’s the fact that it was created by Blizzard and I’m just a Blizzard fanboy at heart. Regardless of the creator, Overwatch is a game nearly anyone can pick up and learn. It caters to those that just want to casually play games and others that would prefer to be competitive. The game has been successful and the player base has been increasing since anyone can pick it up, play a game, and stop at anytime.
The Basics of Overwatch
As a multiplayer game, Overwatch sets you up into teams where you obviously need to work together to win. There are currently 24 available heroes to choose from. There are four types of heroes: offense, defense, tank, and support. Each hero has abilities and an ultimate that is unique to themselves. The basic concept of the game is that there are two teams of six, each having their own objective to fulfill depending on the map they are on. One team may need to be on the offense and claim the objective while the other needs to be on defense to protect it. Maybe both teams will have to fight over gaining control of the point. Another objective is that the attacking team must escort the payload by standing next to it to the end of the map, while the defending team prevents them from doing so. There are multiple game modes varying from competitive play, custom games, casual matchmaking, practice, and arcade. A team should be balanced with the types of heroes chosen or else the team will suffer from a lack of foresight due to their own composition.
Overwatch as a Game
“A game is an activity defined by rules in which players try to reach some sort of goal. Games can be whimsical and playful, or highly serious. They can be played alone or in complex social scenarios… A video game is a cultural object, bound by history and materiality, consisting of an electronic computational device and a game simulated in software.” – Alexander Galloway
Overwatch is indeed an activity defined by rules in which player try to reach some sort of goal. Like I mentioned before, there are maps with different objectives (goals) and you are confined within certain restrictions (rules) that Blizzard has laid out. I also explained before that the game caters to a variety of players. It can be whimsical and playful if you do things such as casual matchmaking or arcade. There is also the highly serious portion of the game with its competitive play that consists of multiple rankings. At the end of a match, you are shown the “play of the game” which is the a recording of a player that had the best contribution to the match. Blizzard is subtly telling us that Overwatch is indeed a game.
Overwatch as Art
Some believe that art is objective while others think that it is subjective. Personally, it’s my opinion that art should be subjective. Everyone can have their own say to what is art and what is not. There is no wrong or right when it comes to how something makes you feel. Walter Benjamin states that “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and place, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be” (298). Overwatch is a work of art. The fact that Blizzard keeps expanding shows that consumers agree that it is art. People are buying t-shirts, toys, plushies, clothing, and posters. It shows that the game itself as art is able to grow and expand. Blizzard creates animated movies and comics to tell a story and add free content for players that want to know more about the piece of art that they indulge in. There are moments in the middle of games where players will just stop playing and take a look at the world that has been created. The design of each individual map and all the intricate things you can do with it. It might sound a bit weird to say all the abilities are designed so well that they’re nice to look at.
Overwatch is a work of art and game that has influenced many people around the world. People are attached to the characters and the story line, so much that Blizzard continuously provides more content. It provides countless hours of entertainment for people that want to have fun or take things in a serious manner.
Alexander R. Galloway. (2006). “Countergaming.” In Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: pp. 107-126.
Walter Benjamin. (1986 ). “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Video Culture: A Critical Investigation, edited by J. C. Hanhardt. Salt Lake City: G.M. Smith in association with Visual Studies Workshop Press: pp. 27-52.