Are games art? Sure they are. They’re a juvenile art that (like finger-painting) we don’t generally tend to spontaneously think of as art, if we were pressed to name categories. That’s actually our fault as a society and as gamers.
Horror. It’s difficult to actually even define what it actually is, and it overlaps into so many other spheres that it isn’t really easy to define what it is not. I’ve talked about a few horror-themed games, and I’ll be talking about some more later, so now is as good a time as any to talk a bit about it.
Many of the masters of horror have managed solid efforts, without shocks, scares, or blood. When I think of horror, I think of it not as something that frightens us, but something that unsettles us.
As you’re probably aware, Australia doesn’t have an 18+ rating for video games (though it does for other types of media such as films and publications). It’s not a stretch to see why. At the time the legislation was applied to video games, such games were the province of the young, and it is only recently that they’ve grown up, right?
From their inception, video games (particularly computer games) were played by all ages.
Destructoid makes a few observations on the death-toll of video-games (murders, suicides and so forth) [thanks for the link, Tigro].
I’m going to add a couple extra data points here.
I’ve got a bit of a history with Ghostbusters, the film by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray.
I was working in film marketing and PR at the time, wrestling a startup towards commercial viability. The cinema-release was staggered across some months, in various Australian locations, and I must have sat down and seen the film, in the cinemas, at least 60 or 70 times as a result.
The 1980s were a pretty good era for films that didn’t take themselves too seriously, and the film resonated rather strongly with audiences of the time. Off a 30 million dollar budget in 1984, the film raked in an easy 290 million dollars in cinemas, and another 132 million in rentals, never mind network syndication later on, DVD sales and all of that. The second film, Ghostbusters II, while considered by some to be something of a disappointment, still managed to do almost as well.
After more than 20 years, there’s talk of a third film – a changing-of-the-guard piece, with strong hopes of landing Eliza Dushku (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse/etc) in a major role – but in the meantime, Aykroyd and Ramis have put together a new part to the story, in the form of a video game, developed in conjunction with Terminal Reality.
On 5 February 2009, Bethesda Softworks LLC applied for the Fallout trademark for “Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program” (s/n 77663853) and for “motion picture films about a post-nuclear apocalyptic world” (s/n 77663852). Obviously they already own all the other US trademarks to do with this game property at present.
Fallout, the film. Or the TV series. Hmm. Interesting notion.