Video Games as Literature

The last couple of YouTubers I talked about produced a lot about video games. But the reason I highlighted them was down to their non-video game content. Today I want to recommend a YouTuber based on his actual video game content.

When I was younger I got into reading a lot of ancient poetry and philosophy. I was a teenager trying to work out the world. Nietzsche was a big thing for me, of course, but I eventually found myself drawn to Eastern philosophy, in particular Chinese philosophy. What I liked about it was that it didn’t waste time asking pointless questions like “Does God exist or is He even alive?”. It focused on what (in my opinion) actually mattered, and helped me create a structure I’d eventually base my way of life around

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, as video games were rising in popularity. Initially a niche hobby played by geeks and nerds, I watched as video games became more powerful and more popular. Nowadays video games are ubiquitous, played by most people on the planet. Growing up, people in the industry, including myself, would spend a lot of time debating a question: “Are video games art?”.

Jacob Geller doesn’t waste time asking this pointless question. Of course video games are art, how could they not be? It’s with this approach he creates his videos. He doesn’t analyse video games to discuss whether they are art or not. He just applies literary analysis to them assuming they are, in fact, art.

His content is about more than just video games, however. He talks about things from executions, to hoarding, to the origin of the golem myth. His videos are often dark and unsettling, yet they grip you as he deals with these topics in a way that is almost hypnotic. He creates an interesting narrative as he covers an idea, weaving in art, philosophy, history, movies, music, video games, and whatever else helps him to express what he is talking about.

I find it hard to recommend any specific videos by Jacob Geller, since every one I have watched has been so good. He won a Good Games writing award for his video on Final Fantasy VII, and I can understand why, but he could have been awarded this for most of his videos. I’d say that even if you aren’t a gamer you should still watch a few of his videos. It may not make you want to play games, but it might make you appreciate them more.

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