Artwork is not scrutinized from a logical mindset. Nobody looks at a Picasso or a Van Gogh searching for perfect hand-made straight lines or circles, or for the flawless mixture of colors; Ancient Greek sculptures were anatomically perfect in a sense, but their beauty standard has changed lots for the past two millenia (the muses would be very skinny nowadays). In the same way, logical black holes can be pointed out in any master philosopher's ideas, be it Socrates… or Sartre.
And so are videogames, an infant, ever rapidly evolving art medium. Imitating life, as in sports, racing, in all kinds of simulators; extrapolating it, as in space adventures, monsters, robots, ghosts, all kinds of gods; to the epitome of any art, that is touching the feelings. Making the player laugh. Cry. But above all this, questioning, denying, or reaffirming life itself. Making the player think. A lot.
As any form of art, there's a painstakingly hard proccess of maturation. Giving birth to an artwork inevitably comes with the desire to share attached. To make the world feel it.
Graphics. Combat. Variety. Hooks are needed to capture the player's attention. There's a lot of white noise, too. Business. Reviews. Internet nowadays.
Then what makes one specific videogame a masterpiece? Its playability? Its variety? Its looks? Its replayability? Its countless hours of mindless fun? Its challenge? Unforgettable moments? Those make great games. Defying death in Demon's Souls. Walking for countless hours fetching side quests in Tamriel or Hyrule. Halting for minutes only to marvel at Horizon: Zero Dawn sunrise, or dusk. Wasting eight hours a day as Tracer or Lúcio. Finding out that you are the villain, as in Braid. Chrono dying. Link entering a dark place alone. The first Hadouken.
What makes a game an epitome of art is the plot building, up to its surreal climaxes, but most of all, the ability to mesmerize. A game with Psycho Mantis and The Wolf. A camp of white roses turns red with the blood of your beloved master, who you've just killed. Ellie and Joel. DeWitt and Elizabeth. And when we play Nier: Automata through its three routes, unveiling different odysseys from peculiarly different points of view, caged inside an irony ridden context, we feel the bitterness, the hope, the despair. Sadness. Cliffhanger. Then, nihilism. Finally, altruism.
It's made to feel and to think. What do graphics, open-worldness, playability, fun, account for, when confronted against such subjective, inductive and melancholic complexity?
We beg you, players, to speak with your hearts, and tell: what did you feel? What made you speechless?