cool im looking forward to finding out how im wrong
none of the games you are referring to require me to play them in order to experience their artistic valuethat's super wrong in ways that i could write paragraphs about so i'll have to do that later
it's pretty simple
there's a way to make what you're saying perfectly reasonable by changing just one word: "experience"
So, obviously, what separates video games from other art forms is that they are interactive. You can't watch a movie and influence anything that happens, or be a part of its story in any way. You can pretty much only do that with games, which is what makes them special. Your input as a player will produce an output that is individual to your own personal run of the game, and as a result, your experience is going to be virtually unique from anyone else's. Even if any two runs of a particular game wound up being identical, you can bet that the emotional reactions that the two players experienced will not be.
Art forms are defined not only by the physical elements of the medium itself (print, marble, oil on canvas), but by the nature or method through which all the intentions of the artist can be channeled, expressed, and the art consumed. You view
a painting. You watch
a movie. You read
a book. You listen
to music. You play
a game. These are the ways in which these individual art forms must be experienced.
I can describe a painting to you in exquisite detail. I can describe every feature of the Mona Lisa vividly. Every color, every element, I can use words to describe it. I might even be able to relay to you what the painting does for me emotionally, having seen the real thing myself when I visited the Louvre almost five years ago. Keywords being "for me," however, because no matter how well I'm able to use the medium of language to describe this painting, you will never be able to say that you've "experienced" the Mona Lisa if you haven't seen
it for yourself. Painting is a visual medium that requires you to see it in order to experience it.
Likewise, I could do the same for a movie. I could throw together a 10 minute review of the first Godfather film where I succinctly describe everything that makes the film work and why it's one of the best and most important movies of all time. It could be the best review ever, but unless you've actually seen the movie yourself, you cannot say that you've "experienced" The Godfather, because The Godfather is a movie, and you watch
movies. That is how you experience film. That is the purpose of the art form.
I could try to paint something intended to be a visual representation of The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. This painting exhibits all of the attributes of the album, and you could say it's the perfect visual equivalent of the record. But no matter what, you cannot see this painting and say that you've experienced The Downward Spiral. It's an album that you listen to.
To argue that you don't need to play a game in order to EXPERIENCE the game is the same thing as saying you can listen to a painting or read an album.
By watching a Let's Play, for example, you are not experiencing the game, because you're not the one playing; you are only experiencing another person's experience of the game. It's a filtered and limited experience, similar to a movie review. Therefore, you're not having your own.
A better word to ameliorate your statement, I think, would be "appreciate."
none of the games you are referring to require me to play them in order to appreciate their artistic value
I can certainly listen to an in-depth movie review, without having seen the movie being discussed, and appreciate
all the things that are being discussed. I can go online and have someone explain to me the meaning behind a Pollock, and I can appreciate
his work, even if I've never seen a Pollock in person.
If you haven't played a game, but you've seen, heard, or read all about it, all you can do is appreciate it. You have not experienced it.
When it comes to must-play games, not only is it not a phrase meant to be taken literally (because you could extrapolate it to, "there's nothing that we 'must' do, which is just obnoxious nihilism for the sake of itself"), it's a phrase that simply means, "if you care about the art form at all, it would not make sense for you to avoid this game." We all want to have positive experiences on this shit planet. When people describe things as "musts," it is simply a good-faith attempt by the collective to offer the most positive experiences to those who are interested in having those (and why would you not).
Even then, I would argue that certain things must be experienced regardless of whether you'll wind up enjoying it or not. I would recommend people things that they'd utterly hate, in fact, if the thing in question was important enough. Because at that point, it's no longer important. It doesn't matter if you don't like gangster movies. You MUST watch The Godfather anyway, even if you hate it, because it's just that good
, regardless of what anybody thinks (including myself).
Regarding the specific examples I gave, Super Metroid is a game that is renowned
for its capacity to teach players how to perform obscure mechanics without outright telling them.
If you haven't played Super Metroid yet, I'm about to ruin a couple things about it for the sake of making my point.
There's a couple segments throughout the game where you'll fall into a pit, accompanied only by a strange animal, such as an alien ostrich-looking thing or a group of alien monkey-like things. The player may not have any idea how to get out of the pit, but if he pays attention to what the animals are doing to get themselves out, he'll eventually decide to mimic their actions. The monkeys use a wall jump technique to get themselves out, so the player might feel inclined to try this for themselves. It's intentionally awkward to perform so as to be not too
obvious, and though it may take practice, the player will eventually learn how to do it and be able to get themselves out. Or, they could utilize alternative methods such as bomb jumping, but that also requires some ingenuity on part of the player.
In any case, the game doesn't teach you through words, only visuals. You have to use your own brain to figure out the solution. When you do, the moment of epiphany is swiftly followed by an intense rush of catharsis that can ONLY be felt and understood if you're playing the game yourself, and not having watched someone else figure it out "for" you.
Beating an extremely tough boss will produce similar emotions. Watching a friend beat a tough boss might be a lot of fun, but nothing compares to the feeling you get when you do it yourself
If that's something you can't relate to, then I don't know what to say other than that I don't find your way of thinking reasonable. I still haven't played Symphony of the Night, for example, so even though I'm able to appreciate that it's a cool game, to say that I've experienced it just by watching playthroughs of it would be like watching Harry Potter and knowing what it's like to be a wizard or something. When no.
Therefore, there are certainly games out there that you "must" play if you're interested in the art form. Super Mario Bros. may not be a terribly difficult game to grasp, even if you've never played it before, but you play it not because it's fun, but because it's important. It's important to understand and respect the groundwork upon which the entire industry as we know it was built. You can love or hate the game itself all you want, that part is irrelevant.
Furthermore, having a "taste" is inherently closed-minded, and people should work towards not having one. Why would anybody want to put themselves in a box where they automatically never give certain things a try based solely off of preconceived bigotries and fragile sensibilities? It's just another one of those weird spook-like institutions that only makes less and less sense the more I think about it.
Like, I realize that in some way, our prejudices (which is what our "tastes" could honestly be described as) are ingrained within us and can't easily be changed, but that doesn't meant tey should be worn as badges, or things that are worth protecting.