The Art of Video Game Photography

Mario Galaxies

If you’re ever looking for some ammunition in the (admittedly tired) ongoing discussion about whether or not games can be counted as art, I’d suggest you load your gun with a number of bullets from Dead End Thrills. What is Dead End Thrills? Basically, it’s a site devoted almost completely to the idea of video game photography – applying real-world photography techniques to showcase the artistic nature of video games. It’s not just as simple as that, though.

Applying the principles of real world photography to the virtual worlds of games is just part of the solution. Hacking and tweaking games to remove player model, HUD and restrictions on the camera are others. The toughest, though, is rendering games from throughout the 3D era, from Deus Ex to Crysis 2, at truly uncompromising quality. There is a massive difference between running a game with top-of-the-line antialiasing and quality settings, and running it with those same settings at resolutions far in excess today’s norms, using offline resampling to achieve perfect results. Only recently, and after extensive research, have such methods become possible.

Technical stuff aside, the dude makes some pretty sweet pictures, including great desktops from Skyrim, Portal 2, Alice: The Madness Returns, Modern Warfare 2 and even an iPod/iPad collection. I highly recommend checking out his work and upgrading your desktop collection.

A little game for the comments: link your favorites. Go!

Dead End Thrills

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

6 thoughts on “The Art of Video Game Photography”

  1. There’s some nice stuff in here, and also some ugly stuff. I mean, as a video game, the scenes are gorgeous, but as photography?

    http://deadendthrills.com/2011/11/the-strokes/ (the inclusion of Okami in this collection made me wonder why there wasn’t any Ico or SotC, especially now with HD remakes)

    http://deadendthrills.com/2011/10/the-beginning-is-the-end-is-the-beginning/ (I’d like to see more of Xenoblade Chronicles in this collection, and although this is only the title screen, it makes me wonder just how great the game would have been on PS3 or Xbox 360. Also, I beat supernovaforce to the punch 🙂

    http://deadendthrills.com/2011/08/carried-away/ (never played this game, but still like the image.)

    Also, there’s way too much Bulletstorm, and they’re all kind of samey. He should get away from apocalyptic games because there’s too many of those images.

  2. @dp – Close but no prize 🙂 I have that picture on my rotation as well, but its not one of my favourites. But believe me, as soon as this guy starts a Xenoblade collection, I will be all over it. There’s some god-like potential for great shots in that game

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