People ask me all the time, “Joe, do you think video games are art?” My answer is always the same: Yes. If you play as many games as I do, you’d know that’s just not a good question. I’ve been playing games since I was a baby, and I’m going to continue playing games until I die despite the fact that it’s really taking a toll on my social life. Yet, still, follow me on twitter.
These five games are the games that have imprinted themselves on my mind. These are the five games that define gaming for me. If you’re wondering whether or not games are art, these are the games I recommend. By the time you’re done with them, you’ll either understand how they’re art, or gaming will be a lost cause on you forever.
This game deals with the intense moral dichotomy between keeping animals and experimenting on animals with the progression of human society. Dr. Cortex mutates Crash for the sake of science, and Crash has to live his life as something other than what he ever expected to be. He’s a monster, a bandicoot wearing only pants, and we’re enjoying his suffering. His only friends are a mask and some other mutant sexy bandicoot. All he has is the pursuit of his own freedom and a taste for apples.
Crash Bandicoot 3: WARPED
The evil Cortex was back in the third title of this trilogy for more here, but so was Crash Bandicoot, our valiant hero. This game has Crash struggle with the ethical qualms of existing in a world where time means nothing, where one can jump forwards and backwards with no consequence – and yet, with all the consequences. Crash Bandicoot: WARPED (or CB3 as some call it, Bandicoot’s Third to others) broke new ground in gaming, giving us players and historians something to latch onto in the tale of a mutant bandicoot wearing only pants.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Cortex Struck Back in a huge way, double-crossing and betraying our beloved Bandicoot in a way only he can. Crash Struck Back harder, though, going up to and through outer space to take down the villain who ruined his life and destroyed his sense of trust in anyone ever again. We joined Crash in the first game as a Bandicoot whose life had been destroyed by a scientist, and we watched his soul become just as damaged, though it manages to repair through the love of a sister and the hate of a man who hated him more. The title to this game is “Cortex Strikes Back”, but this piece is really about the unending strikes of Cortex’s upon Crash’s life and well-being, his mental health, and his sense of justice in a twisted world.
Undertale’s super cool, there’s like a sheep and you can kill her if you want but she gets sad if you do, and so does everyone else, so I had to restart after I did because I felt bad about it, eventually I played it all on another computer ’cause there’s like some weird magic that keeps people from forgetting. It’s fun though, you’re like a boy and he goes through some stuff and there are nice dogs and mean dogs but most people are nice.
After the destruction of the innocence of a Bandicoot through the first three Crash games, Crash Bash does what we never thought could really happen to the psyche of our fair Bandicoot: It makes his life into a literal game. All stakes, all hope for Crash, are dissipated when his life becomes a game show, competing for some monetary prizes in a four-player combative arena in the hopes that it might fill the unfillable hole that makes up the Bandicoot today. Do not pray for him, he’s as good as dead, and he’ll never know if he likes it or not because the concept of like and dislike was smashed through years of mutation, deception, time destruction, and bullshit mini-games. God save Crash Bandicoot.