Over the weekend, I’ve been dabbling a bit in a couple of newly release titles. One is, obviously, StarCraft 2, but the other is Limbo, newly up for purchase as part of X-Box LIVE’s Summer of Arcade. I didn’t really follow the story of Limbo that closely, but I knew it was a side-scrolling platformer with a unique look. I tried the demo and immediately bought the full game, mostly because of how much the art style appeal to me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Limbo, check out the trailer. Among other cliched terms, I’d call it hauntingly beautiful and very atmospheric. In addition to looking as gorgeous as a game that dark can it also features some slick puzzles and grotesque punishments for failure (seriously, you get messed up).
The game’s visual presentation got me thinking, though. The farther into the future we get with game consoles, the closer to life everyone seems to want their graphics. While some big-budget titles stretch the limit of what is acceptable by our real-life standards (Gears of War’s improbably bulky protagonists come to mind), video games are getting closer and closer to emulating what we perceive through our own two eyes. Games like Limbo, Braid and many similar titles show us that we don’t have to constrain everything to an Earth-bound package. Perhaps one of the barriers to the “games as art” argument is that this visual medium doesn’t add anything that movies have already done in this respect. That’s probably why Braid got tossed around a lot when this issue got brought up the first time; it looks like a painting come to life, much like Limbo. So I ask you guys this: do you want more games to stretch the graphical barrier and start using different ways to interpret what we see? Or do you think that sort of experimentation is confined to downloadable titles? Fire away!