Flame Prince Finn often plays video games in his spare time, with shooters appearing to be his main taste of games. He claims that this activity is undertaken primarily in the company of his compatriots, and has further claimed that often he does not even enjoy playing on his lonesome.

Nonetheless, he gives videogames a strong nod of approval.


Flame Prince Finn believes that videogames are probably one of the best things to ever happen to entertainment. Have you ever wanted to fly a plane? You can simulate that. Have you ever wanted to be a gladiator? You can simulate that. Have you ever wanted to save the world? You can simulate that in some ungodly number of different ways. Videogames allow people to get the chance to live out experiences that are either impossible or impractical in real life. Unlike books or movies, they create a sense of control for the character. Rather than simply being told a story, videogames tend to create the illusion that the story is your own. Naturally this is a false notion because you can only act within the boundaries of the game, but it's still a big step in the right direction. If you could absolutely truly create your own story - without boundaries - there would be no need for multiple videogames. That said, they can be massively time consuming. A lot of them even boil down to watching numbers rise. In his view, a game where capability is due only to player skill and difficulty level is much better than a game where capability is due to time playing.

For instance, Skyrim has a relatively good system there. When you are a novice lockpicker, you can still attempt to open master-level locks and be succesful if you're good enough. Nice job Bethesda, because it is darned stupid when it says "You can't do this. Your lockpicking level isn't high enough." For instance, consider Runescape. You can't weild certain weapons until your attack level is high enough. How does that work, exactly? "Oh yeah, I can hold that iron sword no problem. But that steel one? I don't know man. I just feel like it's wrong. Like my attack level isn't high enough or something." Pretty stupid notion. You should be able to wield any weapon, and your level in the skill should determine the damage you do. Naturally level restrictions do make sense in some occasions, but lets not completely abandon logic in order to impose those restrictions.

Speaking of which, levels as a way of determining skill only makes sense in-character. If you - your character - has a great deal of practice in a skill, then your level rises. This often means that time spent in game matters more than playing the game well. That is, to Flame Prince Finn, a bad idea. Now consider Minecraft - this game definitely takes a great deal of time to accomplish anything of significant worth. However, you start the game with the best abilities your player will ever have (particularly in creative mode). Instead of building your way up to actually having fun with the game, you get to learn at your own pace. Good job on that Mojang. Minecraft also has a lot of potential to be modded into different uses than just building, which makes it a very versatile game. It may lack in graphics (and be quite taxing on a computer despite that fact), but it has many good qualities.

Back to the topic of stupid restrictions, one thing that has always bothered Flame Prince Finn in adventuring games and first person shooters alike is that often, developers think it's okay to hold him to a fixed path. If there is a shopping cart in his way, he expects to be able to move past it. It's a damn shopping cart. He could jump over it, or push it out of the way, or even throw a grenade under it and blow it to smithereens, but nope. It's an unbreakable barrier for no particular reason. If we're talking about a huge granite wall he can understand it as a level boundary, but at least make the edges of a map look impassible. Necessarily that would make for a few complications in terms of realistically railroading gamers down the right path, but invisible barriers are extremely disappointing. It just screams at you that you are playing a videogame, and that is just no fun. 343 Industries had the lovely idea in Halo Reach that if you leave the battleground, you simply die after a fixed amount of time. He's not a big fan of that solution, but it's better than invisible borders. Related note - Call of Duty is pretty insistent on making sure that he doesn't jump on things. That's no fun at all, just saying.

So what is he getting at here? Video games are for interesting, unique explorations. Video games are for fantastic, impossible competitions. Video games are for exploring scary environments without getting killed. They have tremendous creative potential, and are perhaps the most interactive form of art available. Remember - what does a painter or sculptor seek to do? To create an aesthetically pleasing representation of something. Video games do that with their graphics. What does a storyteller seek to do? To compel your emotions and engage you in a fantasy. Video games do that with their campaigns. Flame Prince Finn believes that video games are essentially marketed collaborative artworks, geared for sale based on entertainment value. While this often puts them in the same grouping of "pretty pictures" in terms of depth, he believes it is entirely possible for them to rise above and beyond.

As if to drive the point home, some games are literally just "sandbox" games where you get to create the equivalent of works of art. Is doing a sculpture in real life so different from creating a statue of David in Minecraft? Obviously they aren't a perfect comparison, but the point is clear - analog art is not divine standing next to its digital relative. At the very least, Flame Prince Finn believes that giving video games no credit for artistic merit in the semi-rare instances that it is due is an arbitrary (and possibly irrational) judgment. After all, a great deal of real-world art is equally non-expressive beyond its value as a pretty picture. There are games meant purely to entertain, just as there are paintings meant purely to look pretty.

Videogames are currently the closest thing that humans have accomplished to creating realities. How can that not be artistic in some way? Food for thought.

Also Flame Prince Finn believes that Halo 3 is the best FPS ever and felt that it must be mentioned, so here it is.