The Inspiration of Video Games

Video games are not always just about shooting and looting. Many games are narratives, designed to be stories you can participate in. They might have mysteries to solve, people to meet, puzzles to unlock, or tales to uncover. My favorites have always been the ones you can wander around in, usually alone, exploring to your heart's content. That lone explorer vibe is one I try to recreate in my work to this day.

When I was a teen, video games were in their infancy. I started out playing text based games like Zork and others. Imaginative and so funny, Zork let me not just read the story but become part of it. My choices in the game had consequences. I had to figure out solutions and make maps and keep notes. From that time I saw video games go from text, to monochrome graphics, to color. I played anything I could get my hands on.

In 1993, I played the first game I had ever seen that was rendered using 3d modeling, Myst. Myst was created by a company called Cyan. The visuals in that game blew me away, and if you're familiar with my artwork you can see the major influence Myst had on me. The places in that game spoke to me. It was escapism, it had challenging puzzles, and it put me in impossibly beautiful worlds. I still play it (and all the sequels) every so often and I get just as swept up in Cyan's worlds now as I did then.

 

 

Flash forward to 2017, when Chuck Carter of Eagre Games approached me to have a couple of my images in a game he was developing in partnership with Cyan called Zed. Chuck had worked on the art for Myst and its sequels. The idea of having my work in a game produced by the company that inspired much of my aesthetic was so meaningful to me. I really felt things had come full circle.

Zed is a narrative, like I described earlier. It takes you through a dreamworld of surreal landscapes, discovering memories that tell a story of loss and redemption. Below you can see my images StoryWorld, and Regarding Desire, used in the early part of the game.

 

 

I think gaming will be a part of my life until I'm too old to work the controls. I love it as much as I love reading, or making art, or spending time outdoors. It feeds a part of my creativity, and helps to keep my imagination sharp and wild (just like I like it). The fact that the artwork I make is now a part of the gaming world that inspired it, well, I can't ask for much more than that.

Check out Myst from the Steam game platform store here
Check out Zed from the Steam game platform store here