The Beauty of Videogames
I'm the type of person who takes photos of anything beautiful. I have a particular love of sunsets, but anything that inspires me—including forests, architecture, beaches, graffiti, the view from planes, galleries, aesthetically-pleasing roads, and people I love—will generally end up living in still images on my phone.
I'm not much different when I'm playing videogames. I'm currently watching my partner, Dakoda, play Final Fantasy XV and keep asking, 'Did you take a screenshot of that!' because I find videogame worlds so strikingly beautiful. This morning, I woke to David Rayfield's article about videogame aesthetics on my Twitter feed, and it made me realise that I had some simply beautiful experiences with videogames this year. Let me tell you about them.
Besides Final Fantasy XV, there were two 2016 videogame releases that I couldn't stop taking screenshots of: Firewatch and Oxenfree.
Firewatch had a striking impact on me when I first played it. As soon as I finished with the experience, I had to write about it. The game is beautiful—not just in terms of art style—and I enjoyed my time taking snaps of the landscape while experiencing a nuanced narrative.
I only recently played Oxenfree, but I'm so glad that I did. The game is haunting—the perfect amount of creepy for somebody who likes experiencing the creepy feeling of 'What is going on?' without jump scares or gore. The narrative is clever, with its use of reflections and cycles leaving it sitting in your mind long after you finish the narrative for the first time. I couldn't resist documenting my playthrough of Oxenfree on Twitter, to share my thoughts as much as to share my screenshots.
Other beautiful videogames
I played a lot of other beautiful games in 2016. As I mentioned earlier, Final Fantasy XV is stunning. I also love the beauty of Dishonored 2 (which I previewed at EB Expo 2016) but am yet to play the full version (although I do own it now!), so don't have screenshots of my own to share yet.
Earlier this year I posted a guided tour of a settlement that I built in Fallout 4, taking photos of the television screen because I didn't want to pay Xbox just to have evidence of its rustic charm.
I reviewed Block'hood, and thought it was stunning. I also only played 2015 release Tengami and 2014 release Elegy for a Dead World for the first time this year, but I think it's they're so beautiful that I had to include it in this summary.
Last year, I spent hundreds of hours taking screenshots of sunsets in The Witcher 3; this year, I explored forests, old towns, and space. There many more beautiful games on my 'to play' list that came out this year (or earlier), and I'm looking forward to sharing snaps from them with you all as well as we fly towards 2017.