Thoughts on Video Games: An Entertainment Medium

I think awhile back when I started posting on this blog in July of  2016, I was still gathering my thoughts about video games and what it meant to me.  Because I was raised by compassionate parents,  I was always conscious about the things I was exposed to.  I knew I would never harm a single animal or person in real life, and yet I enjoy violent games.  This prompted me to write about Dark Souls and its philosophy on what it meant to be human.  My ideas might be a bit archaic but the dark side of life is not so far.  If I’m not careful, I can lose my humanity too.  So that is why I prefer games that have human qualities which teach me something positive about life.

My belief that video games are beyond a pastime activity has been confirmed while  reading IGN interview with Swery, the creator of Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die.

[Video Games] are something greater than simply a means of generating money, or pieces of mere entertainment to be consumed. [Video Games]  are considered even a little bit as art or something eternal.

Like Swery, I believe some things in life is beyond human comprehension.  Video games are in fact just merely reflecting our human thoughts just like any other entertainment medium.   And yet video games, are often frowned upon as a waste of time by non-gamers.  They don’t understand that not all games are created equal as to not all books are educational.

I know that there is a lot of talk about video games becoming a mass consumption and the game industry is catering to a wider audience.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Seldomly, do I find modern games having the same aesthetic as classic or retro games. Some modern games are becoming longer and unimaginative.  Two bad combination for me.  I wonder is it even possible for developers to create games that appeal to the mass while continuing to take risk to innovate games?

I think you know by now why one of the best developers to me is FromSoftware.  They don’t chase after what is popular.  They create genuine games that are timeless to me.  So that’s why I’m always on the hunt for great games. They really are my treasures.

Kuon: An Enlightening Survival-Horror Video Game

Kuon, developed by FromSoftware, was one of the survival-horror video games I tried to squeeze in the month of October because of Halloween, but I ended up playing it into November.  It took me a month to complete  because I took my time and did not play every day. You can complete the game in 10 hours or less. Despite the short length of the game, Kuon is exceptionally great and is now on my top list of favorite games. Let me explain.

kuon-game

The art direction in this game is superb as it reveals a simple but strong plot. The  use of sound effects and music created an intense horrific and isolating atmosphere. There were a few times, I was startled.  And yet, at times, it was not all scary. The sound of nature (i.e footsteps, stream, wind) can be heard throughout the game, giving life to the atmosphere.

The placement of the sound effects ( monsters groaning, monk chanting in the temple, the twins singing) in the game were not overdone or overused. They all served a purpose and integrated really well to build suspense and tension. They also acted as subtle cue to steer me to the right direction, without acknowledging that I was playing the game. I was in the game.

Lastly, the three different protagonists (all females with unique personality)  which were played in three different phases, summarized the story so well that it left me feeling awe and sorrowfully happy.

Because of the game’s art direction, I was drawn to the game and understood the plot. This game is about the perversion of immortality. The father is so  driven to perfect the spells at the expense of his own daughter’s life and his disciples that he loses his humanity. The father, an authoritative figure, is evil and must be defeated by  the master exorcist, who is like a motherly figure. She rebukes the father and put things back in order.

This was the impression I got from the playing the game. Without the  art direction in this game, the story might have not been told well. It might have been another horror video game. But this one is special. It taught me something: We will die one day, why not enjoy the life we are given now in the present moment instead of tampering with something beyond our scope of reasoning?