In times of hardships and strife, art is what brings people together and there is no greater art form than video games, a culmination of all art forms. Find it hard to believe? Bob Morshidi has the story
Art is a never revolving door of ideas and inspirations. What could be seen as art now could be considered cliché in the future, and what is seen as cliché could come back in a big way (because suddenly every cis-gendered male is wearing hawaiian shirts again and yes, fashion too is art).
However, I argue that in this day and age, there is one medium that stands above the rest as the truest form of artistic expression, where its an amalgamation of visual arts, music, acting, storytelling and movie making: Video Games.
Video Games has for the past decade consistently become the highest earning form of media worldwide. I’m about to break down why a medium that touches our senses has come out king recently using a game that I consider one of the greatest games of the past 10 years: Dragon Quest 11.
Disclaimer: I will not be spoiling anything major in this article, except for one side mission that left me almost close to tears as it truly broke my heart.
Watch the video of just the opening cinematic for Dragon Quest 11.
Say what you want about the composer of the Dragon Quest video game series, Koichi Sugiyama, who is infamous for denying Japanese War Crimes, the man knows how to excite his audience. The use of the orchestra cymbals, mixed with the horns, brings out the sense of adventure that this game promises. After I heard this theme for the first time I couldn’t help humming it days later, which is the reason I decided to actually play this game.
Those big eyes, almost perfect yet badly styled male hair, almost ridiculously perfect female bodice, bright colours and ridiculously fun looking monsters set the Dragon Quest series apart from any other Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) series. This is all because Yuji Horii, the creator of the Dragon Quest, made the brilliant and bold move of hiring someone outside of video games to design the characters and the world for him. Enter, Akira Toriyama. Toriyama-san had already made a name for himself as the creator of the worldwide hit Dragon Ball and 11 games on, his style is still being used in Dragon Quest. In fact when I first booted the game I was wondering why the opening cinematic above made me feel so nostalgic, and I only realised why once I saw Toriyama’s name in the opening credits. He has perfected an art form that attracts both adults like me and younger players who want a good time fighting evil.
For the next two sections, sit down, grab a cup of coffee and some snacks, and watch this amazing and heart-breaking side mission from the game. Prepare tissues for tears.
Quick summary: You, the hero, meet a mermaid. She asks that you go find her lover, Kai at his village. When you get to the village you find that Kai has long died, and his grandson is there.
The grandson tells a story of how one night, as Kai was ready to leave the village to return to the mermaid, he saw a woman holding her baby and jumping off a cliff to avoid suicide (the womans husband had died recently and she was in grief and heartbroken). Kai swam out to the sea to save them, only to save the baby as the woman drowned. Having felt a sense of responsibility for not saving the woman, Kai decided to stay in the village and take care of the baby. Thus he is unable to return to the mermaid (mermaids live longer than humans and thus it did not cross her mind that Kai might have died of old age).
You finally tell the mermaid what happened and she has decided to end her life. You could choose to lie to her as well and she’d spend the rest of her living life waiting for Kai who would never return.
Storytelling & Voice Acting
Your decisions in the game, just like in real life, have consequences. In this side-quest, the mermaid decides to end her life and you have a part to play in that, regardless how noble your intentions are. No other medium makes you the focal point of the story, and makes you responsible for the life and death of people. Yuji Horii has not just become a master of video games, but also a master of Storytelling as well as a master of using the players expectations both for and against them.
It also helps that the voice acting in this game is top notch, and that even though the cartoonist visuals can put off some players, the sadness in the voice of Michelle as she decides to say goodbye to the land of the living draws everyone back in.
I implore you one thing dear reader. Next time you were to play a game, look at how artistic it is. The music, visuals, storytelling, how it made you feel, and appreciate the hundreds of designers, actors, musicians and countless artists who have brought these wonderful games to life. – New Malaysia Herald