The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, September 25, 2021


The influence of art history on video games



The debate about video games or its derivates like sports betting games as a form of artistic expression is a recurring theme among lovers of this form of entertainment. However, it is not so often talked about how the history of art itself influences the design of its worlds and mechanics.

The human being's concern for artistic expression has been part of his nature since prehistoric times. Throughout these thousands of years, it has evolved, adopting different media depending on the historical-social context in which the artists grew up, as well as the influences of the past themselves.

At present, art can be found in many forms, some of them far from the classical image that society may have of what art is or is not. Among them, videogames are a clear example, since they combine supports and/or forms of expression that in other aspects are considered art in the popular imagination, such as theater, music or literature - or, of course, cinema, which is often used as a reference.

None of these elements is outside the influences, either to generate them or to receive them. Video games have integrated many types of languages to complete the experiences that they then transmit to their players. The influences, recognized or not by their creators, can be found in multiple aspects, especially in graphic design, which is the one that concerns us today, and which is sometimes relegated to the background to praise other elements such as the script or the soundtrack.

When it comes to endowing the video game with a style that fits with the vision of the creators, it is sometimes more appropriate and enriching to look outside the circles of the sector to find the inspiration that gives the creation its own personality.

Team ICO and especially its most prominent figure, Fumito Ueda, are known for having developed Ico (2001), the game that gives them their name, as well as Shadow of the Colossus (2005) and The Last Guardian (2016). The importance of Chirico in the surrealist movement is clear and undeniable, given that what was called metaphysical painting is a precedent for this artistic style. And outside of the classical conception of "History of Art", he was also a fundamental influence for Ueda.

As he explained, especially when talking about the cover of the game, he felt inspired by this artist and his work Nostalgia de lo infinito, because "the surrealist world of Chirico fit in with the allegorical world of Ico." When looking at the main art used for the cover of the game, it is impossible not to see Chirico's personality in it, in the strokes, colors, and shadows, or the two silhouettes without details outlined in the lower part of the illustration and the painting. Even an observer with little knowledge of the works of this author, or of the video game industry, might believe that his authorship is the creator of the "metaphysical painting" rather than Fumito Ueda.










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