Call of Art Series

call

What is this” Call of Duty” you speak of?

The infamous Call of Duty franchise known for its one of a kind first-person shooter games has had an impact in the community around it and also for art. The series first started on Microsoft Windows with its first release on October 29, 2003, then later expanded to several consoles and handheld devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo consoles. The Call of Duty series is owned and published by Activision, while the primary developers are Infinity War (2003- Present), Treyarch (2005- present), and Sledgehammer Games (2011- present). It has produced a numerous amount of iconic games over time with the first original Call of Duty in 2003 and its latest release of a duel package game of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered on November 4, 2016. The game uses a variety of engines to run the game, including the id Tech 3, Treyarch NGL, and the IW engine. The earlier games in the series were set primarily around World War II, but as the series progressed it introduced games about the cold war and near-future setting. The Call of Duty series is one of the most popular first person shooter games today, as for February 2016 the Call of Duty series has sold over 250 million copies. Their sales of all Call of Duty games have topped $15 billion.

call of

What is art?

According to the definition on Merriam Webster, art is

“the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.”

I see art as an expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. So now we must ask ourselves where do this tie in with videogames, and can they really be considered art? For me it is specifically centered around the Call of Duty series and its community around it. For me really consider it art I first asked myself who was to be the artist behind the art of Call of Duty, which I came to the conclusion are the developers who are the team that really put each game together. Based on what I have learned throughout the course of Gasp 159 I believe the Call of Duty series should be considered art because of the collaboration of each producer team that goes into making the final product of each Call of Duty game, the aesthetics that go into each game, and the Machinima based on the different games in the series.

call of d

Collaboration!:

The collaboration of each developing team that put together their skills through their profession is what really lets us claim that Call of Duty is art. This can further be explained with the quote by Howard Becker that states.

“Artists are some sub-group of the world’s participants who, by common agree-ment, possess a special gift, therefore make a unique and indispensable contribution to the work, and thereby make it art.” (Becker, 35)

Basically stating that the entire team that works on making the final end product whether it’s the Developers, directors, producers, designers, programmers, and even the actual artist for the game each one contributed to the game with their own skill set and is in fact what makes the game art through their efforts. Each individual is the artist in their field contributing to a different part of the end product that brings each Call of Duty game we love and enjoy today. What if you played a game missing something such as background music or in the case of Call of Duty perhaps all the normal sound effects you hear by the characters such as gun shots and walking? Without each contribution it wouldn’t be the great game we know and love today. 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” (Hunickle, 1).

Making it that the artist within the game the creates the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the game with each individual contribution. This is all important with understanding who’s is the artist of the game because without an artist could it really still be considered art? It makes us really understand the work and effort a group of people can put into the final art piece of Call of Duty we see. Each individual person adds a piece in their field of work for how they want you to experience it. In the end when you appreciate their work and continue to play their game it gives them a sense of comfort that artist feel with their art is interpreted and understood.

Aesthetics:

Through the collaborative efforts of each developing team we can examine the aesthetics within the game to also argue why Call of Duty is art. In every Call of Duty, each component of its design is an important facet of the player’s experience; focusing on the visuals and sound alone would neglect the most important difference between video games and other forms of art – the interaction. This can further be explained by Niedenthal’s (2009) three definitions of aesthetics.

1 Game aesthetics refers to the sensory phenomena that the player encounters in the game (visual, aural, haptic, embodied).

2 Game aesthetics refers to those aspects of digital games that are shared with other art forms (and thus provide a means of generalizing about art).

3 Game aesthetics is an expression of the game experienced as pleasure, emotion, sociability, formgiving, etc (with reference to “the aesthetic experience”).

The images, graphics and multiple colors depicted in each game can be seen as art even down to each individual character’s design. Each character, building, and plant took someone time and effort to create making it their contribution of aesthetics of art for the final masterpiece.
We also see the progression of this as each new game is released and the quality only gets better and better such as in the images below comparing images from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2009) and Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remasatered (2016).

call of duty

The mechanics that go into the creation of each Call of Duty game fundamentally influence how players experience it (and are thus part of its aesthetic), they cannot be excluded from an analysis of a game as a work of art. Players like what they see and experience through the aesthetics of each game which makes them continue to play each game as the series progresses, because to the gamers it is art just as a painter considers their work art a developer may consider their game art.

machiinna

Machinima:

Another important aspect to why the games of the Call of Duty series should be considered art is through the Machinima that has emerged through each game. From playing this series since Call of Duty 4, I encountered Machinima about the game. This brings back my memory of a viral video created using the Call of Duty 4 game called, “The Bazooka Dance,” where they made essentially a simple funny dancing video with game  . Art is defined as a range of human activities that create visual or preforming arts that express the authors imaginative or technical skill. In the article Understanding Machinima by Larrisa Hjorth, she states

As a genre once evolving from gaming cultures, machine has grown to become its own “art-form”. Fusing art, cinema, new media, and games, machinimas genealogy echoes that of other misunderstood genres like net”

This essentially means that we should see machinima on games as perhaps as art in its own individual category, but still as art. As the series progressed we see different forms on machinima created through each game getting more advanced each time. It brought forth Youtube channels on gameplay, short films, and even about real world imitation. So examples of famous channels include Ali-a, Vanoss Gaming, and Reckless Tortuga which through their videos link the community to something greater which is truly art. Another important example of Machinima art with a greater meaning through call of duty is created by J. Joshua Diltz and Joseph Delappe called,” 6 days in Call of Duty.” It’s essentially nine minutes of a multiplayer match with nothing but the visuals, the sound of the game and music for homage to the lives, both military and civilian, lost during the Second War of Fallujah. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2hSbuvvUq0
The impact the machinima through call of duty is another reason why it is accountable for the series to be considered art.

call of dutyg

Conclusion:
In conclusion Based on what I have learned throughout the course of Gasp 159 I believe that the Call of Duty series should be considered art because of the collaboration of each producing team that goes into making the final product of each Call of Duty game, the aesthetics that go into each game, and the Machinima based on the different games in the series. Aside from that, I believe the art is in the eyes of the beholder. People play the Call of Duty series and to them it can be see as art. Of course this brings up the issue of the people that don’t think its art but it can be simply seen as not for them just as in the same idea that not everyone enjoys a painting or see’s the artist meaning within them. This is why for my conclusion is the the most important concept learned in the course through the words of Roland Barthes concept of

“The Death of the Author,” as the art should be interpreted by the player/observer.” 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. The entire game itself is a piece of art with how each of its mechanic’s work with more art within for the graphic design’s aesthetics. It is all finally enjoyed through the Call of Duty community by simply playing games from the series or through machinima on the series. In the end, to the true gamers through their experience of the aesthetics created it truly is art which is what’s most important.

The important people that made this argument possible!:

  • Howard Becker. (1982). “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” in Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press: pp. 1-39.
  • Hunicke et al. (2004). “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research”
  • Ng, Jenna, and Larrisa Hjorth. Understanding Machinima. New York: Bloomsburry, 2013. Print.
  • Roland Barthes. (1977 [1967]). “The Death of the Author.” In Image, Music, Text. New York:Hill and Wang.
  • Simon Niedenthal. (2009). “What We Talk About When We Talk About Game Aesthetics.” InDiGRA 2009: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory.
  • “Art.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2011.
    Web. 8 May 2011.
Advertisements

What’s better than fighting dragons?

sky 2

Why?
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.

gif 2

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.

skrim

Art?
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.

Game?
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.

gif 1

Conclusion:
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.

Sources:
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 [1967]). “The Death of the Author.” In Image, Music, Text. New York:Hill and Wang.

The Artist(s) Within

siege 1

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a First person tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. Ubisoft is a French multinational video game publisher with their headquarters in Rennes, France. It was founded by 5 Guillemot brothers and has created a variety of games including The Tom Clancy’s series (Ghost Recon, Rainbow 6, Splinter Cell), Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, Rayman, and Watch Dogs.

siege 3

What is Siege? 

Siege puts heavy emphasis on environmental destruction and cooperation between players. Unlike previous entries in the series, the title has no campaign and only offers an online mode.Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a first person tactical shooter where players take control of an operator from the Rainbow team, a counter-terrorist unit. Different operators have different nationalities, weapons, and gadgets. The game features an asymmetrical structure whereby the teams are not always balanced in their ability choices. This is one of the main games I find myself playing due to the competitive ranking system. You can either play casual or ranked. I mainly play ranked. You pick your spawn point and character on attack to find the objective with little drone while the defenders are fortifying wall and getting ready for the attack. It is a sort of search and destroy objective with players dying and not being allowed to spawn in until the next round.

siege 2

Accounting for the Artist

So who would we have to consider the artist of this game? The infamous Ubisoft perhapse? Although Ubisoft are the original founders of this series I would have to give the “artist” term to the actually developer team of Ubisoft Montreal. This can further be explained with the quote by Howard Becker that states “Artists are some sub-group of the world’s participants who, by common agree-ment, possess a special gift, therefore make a unique and indispensable contribution to the work, and thereby make it art” (35). Basically stating that the entire team that works on making the final end product whether it’s the Developers, directors, producers, designers, programmers, and even the actual artist for the game each one contributed to the game with their own skill set and is in fact the artist of the game.

Each individual contribution made by everyone to make the game is what makes it art. What if you played a game missing something such as background music or in the case of rainbow six siege perhaps all the normal sound effects you hear by the characters such as gun shots and walking? Without each contribution it wouldn’t be the great game we know and love today. This can further be explained with the quote byHunicke 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). Making it that the artist within the game the creates the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the game with each individual contribution. This is all important with understanding who’s is the artist of the game because it makes us really understand the work and effort a group of people can put into a game. Each individual person adds a piece in their field of work for how they want you to experience it. In the end when you appreciate their work and continue to play their game it gives them a sense of comfort that artist feel with their art is interpreted and understood.

References:

Howard Becker. (1982). “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” in Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press: pp. 1-39.

Hunicke et al. (2004). “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research”

 

 

 

The Beautiful Art of GTA

For this weeks blog I chose to play the game I was most familiar with, being Grand Theft Auto ( V to be exact) by Rockstar Games (rockstargames.com). Grand Theft Auto is an open-world action game, where players assume the role of a criminal character a complete missions or objectives. Its not so much as a role playing game, but you assume a new life within the virtual world. Its overall pretty fun, you buy your own house, your own clothes, cars, feed your character, and you can even kill other people in the virtual world! Total irrelevant but I was even playing mini golf within the game. The real questions is to see if everything within the game is really art.

blog-3-1

To truly dissect and determine if Grand Theft Auto is truly art, we must first discuss what are is exactly.

Art, according to google, is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. We can examine the words of Howard Becker on how collective and social activity that lead to the division of labor that it takes to make art exist in traditional forms of art such as paintings, sculptures, and modern forms such as movies. The game itself it created by a team of people. It all started with one idea for a game (David Jones and Mike Dailly) and expanded into what it is today. The argument is, who would be the artist for the game? The creators, designers, editors, or publishers?

blog 3 2.jpg

I believe the game itself is art, with its graphics, characters, and multiple variations of colors. The entire game itself is a piece of art with how each of its mechanic’s work with more art within for the graphic designs. Each character, building, and plant took someone time and effort to create making it their contribution of art for the final masterpiece. Again the game itself is art, and the artist is the entire Rockstar team for each of their contributions to the final product. This ties in with Roland Barthes concept of” the death of the author.” This can further be explained with 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. This is indubitably I would consider Grand Theft Auto art.

blog-3-3Grand theft auto does not lie far for the game Pac-Man where you are given a level with boundaries and you have an objective with multiple obstacles to imped your way, whether its police or colorful ghosts. It is like from what we learned in lecture 4 about Structuralist game design where we design games based on a previous game just by changing some simple elements, like in the evolution of the 2-D Shooter. Pac-Man is included in the Museum of Modern Arts what’s to say Grand Theft Auto can’t be, with its similar but not so different concepts?

One thing that I had to include from my experience of playing this game is the concept we’ve learned previously in this class of The Hegemony of Play. This game is the reason why this concept exists and fits in it perfectly. Although the game is very fun and appealing, it depicts what this concept is about. A game to appeal the audience demand. The power of dominance for these type of games that seem to be the some of the most popular at the moment.

Your Very own Hollywood Life!

blog-2

For this week I choose to play the horrendous game by Glu Games, Kim Kardashian Hollywood and to focus on the if it can really be considered a “Game”. Despite my hate for the Kardashians and how we can’t go a day in the media without hearing about them I put our differences aside to evaluate this so called game. This game was available for IOS which made it easy for me to access it wherever and whenever. This game seemed interesting because I remember when it first came out all the “hype” about it. Everyone was playing so why not see what its about for this assignment. This game was quite different compared to my last week’s choice but all in all I would still have to consider it a game. To begin the game you are required to create an account in order to save progress. Upon creating a account you are also given the option to create an avatar, which can be personalize to look like you or simple just random. This avatar is a representation of yourself as you maneuver throughout the came. The controls are quite simple; I was only required to swipe or tap my screen which made it all easier.

The concept of the game is quite simple. You are trying to level up your character by doing certain tasks. In certain situations, you are given choices on what you can respond to other characters or what your own character will do in order to progress in the game. This is why I believe the Kardashian game can really be considered a “Game.” This can better be explained from the words of Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman,” A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.” (Salen and Zimmerman 2003) One choice can affect you either in a good or bad way or one might have simply been the better option to increase you rate of progression. 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 on how to live your character’s life affect your further outcome in the game. For example, I was first given the choice to either let someone into the store I worked at, tell them we’re closed, or just walk away. Choosing to let them in gave me more money and points to level up vs the other choices.juul
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a “game” as ties into what we learned about the Hegemony of play production aspect, which is,” The production process and environment for the creation of digital games.” (Lucida 2007, p. 1, my emphasis) The game is based off of Kim Kardashian’s life and is influenced by how her life in Hollywood is like. Overall even though there were times when I was bored at the beginning, in the end I found myself pulled into the game. I wouldn’t say something has to be “fun” exactly to be a game but when there is a ranking system involved which in this case is your level it brings out the competitiveness in people that makes them want to continue to play. I found myself interested in how far I would be able to make it and if there would ever be an ending and this so of curiosity for the game I believe can be considered fun, Making it a game.

Group 2: Art

Christian Sanroman, Zain Subedar, Roberto Briones, Maya Gonzales

1) The original general meaning of art, to refer to any kind of skill. There is a difference between fine art and useful arts setting the standard for who is considered an artist or artisan.
2) Art produced by artists is looked at as beautiful while art which is produced by artisans is not considered beautiful. Games are art produced by artisans. This may be a reason why there is a debate on why video games are debated as art or not. They may not be beautiful like a Van Goh but does that make them art?
3) It relates back to the whole argument we’ve been learning in lecture that is a videogame really art? We see the difference between artist and artisan making it difficult to really give a name to the artist of a game.
4) We’ve seen it within the game itself. The images, graphics and multiple colors depicted in each game can be seen as art even down to each individual character’s design.

That Fun Yellow Dot

pac-man

Pac-man, one of the most iconic games played throughout generations. I chose to play Pac-Man because it was the first one that stood out to me from that list of games that I remembered playing from my childhood. Pac-man has had such an impact in the gaming industry that it was one of the first handful of games that were incorporated into The Museum of Modern Arts. Pac-Man was first released in 1980 and is still being played today on various platforms. With its simple 2D design and its black background with its variation of colors it is no mistake that anyone shouldn’t be able to recognize and quickly shout out “Pac-Man”! Using your little yellow character, you maneuver through the map collecting dots while being chased by ghost. Along with this there are power up that you are able to collect to allow you to beat the level. Along with a catchy tune as you game it sets the perfect tone for a fun time. The controls are quite simple you can maneuver by either going up, down, left, or right!

Pac-Man originated as an arcade game requiring players to spend money to be allowed to play. The game also keeps track of your total point giving people motivation to be the top player gaining the highest score. That tied with the level of difficult of the game for a beginner could be the motivation to want to learn new tricks to earn mastery of the game. This brings in what we have learned from the words of Roger Caillous in his classification of games. With Pac-Man’s simple design meaning quick mastery of the game combined with its point rankings. This falls under Caillous AGON category. Pac-Man creates a sense of competition for players to want to do better every time and gain a higher score.

To me fun is anything challenging, given the ability to experience new place to gain a further understanding of a game. From personal experience of the game and constant repetition of playing the game I found myself creating my own strategy to collection the balls as quickly as possible while gaining the highest score. At first I was a bit shaky, it took me 2 lives to complete the full level. I then found myself sucked into the game, as if it were a drug, to want to beat the game without using any lives and continuing to do so while increasing my score. This can better be explained with the quote,” Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that make games fun. In other words, with games, learning is the drug.” (Koster, p. 40) I can say I was having fun playing the game, and continued to play throughout the week in order to try and beat my latest score. I then found myself in what I believe we learned in lecture know as the Csikzentmihalyi’s “optimal experience,” of flow. From mastery of the game I achieved a high skill that gave me that flow felling. One downside was that it wasn’t something that I could play for long periods of time each day. Although there was a sense of competition with playing multiple times and gaining mastery it began to get old. One day I made my own competition with my little brother to see who could achieve a higher score and it brought the fun back to life.