Why must something be or proceed like something else; especially when the two discussed subjects are fundamentally different in their approach of narrative delivery?Mareon said:If 1972's 'Pong' is to Video Games what 1898's 'Arrival of a Train' is to Movies then we should be doing Video Games 'Gone With the Wind', 'Citizen Kane' and 'Casablanca' by now. So where are they?
Video games don't need their "Citizen Kane" or even the tacit approval of classic movie critics. As much as it would flatter most gamers' egoes to see their preferred pastime vindicated on the cultural spectrum, the fact is there's no vindication that even needs to take place.
Even if I were to give credence to the idea that the "Great American Interactive Software" is right around the corner, you'd have to consider a few things:
1. visual art has developed over the course of human civilization as we know it - over hundreds of thousands of years.
2. the written word has been around for only two thousand or so years. We've had time enough to produce epics and sagas that are still reprinted to this day. Head to any bookstore and you can find an English-language version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the exact same state the Babylonians themselves structured their religious lives around.
3. movies have existed for just over a century. Compared to prose or paint, the medium isn't even out of its infancy - and that's even while considering how far we've come between Melies' "Journey to the Moon" and the latest Avengers blockbusters, on purely technical concerns. We can do things today Chaplin and Keaton could only dream of, but that pales in comparison to what prose can put together.
4. video games are anywhere between thirty to sixty years old at the most, depending on where you choose to start counting. Start with the post-crash climate that saw Atari sink and Nintendo rise or with "Tennis for Two" - in any case, you end up with the youngest of the mediums.
A lot of hopefuls call video games the "Eight Art" and call for classic epics to surface on consoles or gaming PCs, but that forgets the fact that we're barely starting to need to face the need for archival solutions, to find ways to preserve games that are incompatible with modern hardware. Chronologically, it means we haven't even solved the problem of transmitting our best works to future generations yet - and that's something all forms of art have to tackle.
We'll have our Citizen Kane, if that ever arises, on the day someone in the distant future rediscovers an old gaming system and any particularly worthy software - and only if that person manages to form something like a social commentary or a higher observation based on their gameplay. We do have games that tackle serious subjects, but we don't have the distance you'd expect, say, a literary researcher to have while digging through translated Greek theatre pieces. A game comes out that we're immediately trying to go Structuralist on its ass.
Look at Dark Souls III. It's barely come out that the YouTube lorekeepers are picking it apart. That's not a problem in and of itself - but you have to wonder how Dark Souls III will resonate with people some thirty, fifty or hundred years down the line.
Or, and this is more disheartening and I know it - will it even mean something to someone? It could be that we'll shift to something else as a mass-marketed form of entertainment after a few generations, something that'll make historians look at Hidetaka Miyazaki's discourse on the ruthlessness of life and the inevitability of death and just shrug it off.
"Eh, it's just one of those tepid 2016 Japanese art-house projects; it's barely worth a side-note in the history books."