Originally Posted by Bilgewater
My experience with Dark Souls was great, though I'm not sure how similarly it mirrors Demon's. The art direction of Dark was fantastic. It does not take long for you to realize the world you are in is a dark (har har,) cold, unforgiving place. As a thematic element, this played off the brutality of the combat and the bizarre, semi-psychotic NPCs. It made any level of achievement feel that much more powerful. You find the area boss, you figure out how to kill it, and you brave the treacherous terrain to get there. No one is looking out for you. The best you can hope for is that some lunatic will be more interested in killing things with you rather than just killing you. I'm not sure how much that reveals about humanity, other than to infer that there is no altruism (which I don't believe,) but I found it interesting and beautiful nonetheless.
I found Demon's Souls
to be a very different experience - it was such an oppressive atmosphere in that game that Dark seems light and airy in comparison! Certainly only a couple of areas in Dark touched on the sheer tension and dread that I had as my constant companion in Demon's. You could make some parallels between it and Kafka, or that terrible sense of suffering and hopelessness that you get from some Russian literature (I haven't read much of this, I generally can't get past the first 100 pages of most of them, for that reason). However as a game it has player agency, you can bend this to your will in the end.
Perhaps it is a mistake to focus the games-as-art debate on the traditional criteria (whatever they are), especially given the difficulties games have delivering narrative:
Game: introduces Very Important Character who is integral to the plot.
Gamer: I wonder what happens if I try and kick her off this cliff? Oooooo.
That said, Deadly Premonition
did a great job of delivering a plot and making you care about the characters. It sounds like you have an Xbox so you should check this out if you haven't already. Just set it to Easy and blast through the shooty bits.
So it's difficult, I think, to make cases for games having a meaningful impact on your life, apart from how much 'fun' you have with them, your admiration for their design or construction, and the amount of hours you spend playing them.
I liked this response by the creator of Boulderdash (interview here
)when asked if it was art:
I think it's more appropriate to think of Boulder Dash as a piece of design, where all the pieces mesh to create a compelling experience. If you want to go towards "art", I think words like "beauty" and "aesthetic" are more applicable because you can apply those words to a much wider class of things - popular songs, gadgets, mathematics, cars, etc.