Highbrow High Score

The Art of Gaming Intellectually

My Favorite Pieces

with one comment

Hello, thank you for joining me again!

As I mentioned last post, I’ll be discussing some of my favorite pieces of literature and gaming and hopefully, relay to you how these are choice pieces of art. As a forewarning, this post (and others in the future) may contain spoilers.

I would like to start with my favorite book. Though it may not be an epic piece by any means, the English translation of  Antoine De  Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince was the first book I fell in love with when I was in 6th grade.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a “children’s” book that follows a pilot whose plane has crashed in the Sahara desert. He meets a little boy who both frustrates him and helps him uncover a better understanding of himself.

This book is one that I have read time and time again and never cease to gain something new from it. We see, through the Prince’s eyes, what it’s like to be a child. Through the pilot’s, we see what of that is lost with age. It is a timeless story of fantasy with a deeper understanding of human nature than its target age group would suggest.

Without a doubt, The Little Prince is one of the most beloved pieces of children’s literature from the past 100 years because its messages are universal and its appeal does not fade with childhood.

While childhood innocence lost is a major theme of this book, my favorite video game’s message could be more difficult to pin down.

Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 is considered by many gamers to be one of the premiere examples of the “survival horror” genre for a myriad of reasons. Number one being it’s actually scary. The game manages to create an atmosphere of dense fog, darkness, and psychological horror quite unlike any other game of its time.

Throughout Silent Hill 2, James is confronted with very serious issues of guilt, taboo, and death and must face their physical manifestations in Silent Hill. We play as James, a widower who receives a letter from his long-since deceased wife Mary, claiming she is “waiting” for him in Silent Hill. Early in the game, James is introduced to Maria – a hyper-sexualized version of his Mary.

The atmosphere, story, and music of this game combine to make one of the most immersive gaming experiences I have yet to come across. I’ve played this game through several times and find myself noticing new aspects each time.

These two pieces have had quite an impact on my life and how I view art and literature in general. Both The Little Prince and Silent Hill 2 deal with startlingly core issues of human nature, albeit in very different ways. One might say that is one of the goals of art – to reflect our humanity back to us through fantasy.

Is this true? If so, would Silent Hill 2 or other video games be a part of that definition?

Please share your ideas, experiences, and thoughts on pieces of literature or video games that have challenged you in this way.

Also, thank you so much for all of your comments on my last post. It’s such a pleasure to see the ideas of my friends and peers! Keep ’em comin’!



Written by highbrowhighscore

September 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

One Response

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  1. How do you think third person vs. first person perspective in a game affects the ability of the player to empathize with the protagonist? To me, anything in third person immediately cuts down immersion. It puts you into a position of viewing your character from outside instead of through his own eyes. That doesn’t necessarily make the game bad or less fun, but part of the unique aspect of a game is it’s ability to let you interact with the story. Third person always feels a step removed for me like watching a movie. There are some types of games which are mechanically better as third person (Platformers, LoZ and the like) but I would have found Silent Hill scarier if it were first person.
    As a side note, I have never played a third person game where the camera angle didn’t become a hindrance at some point in the game.

    I’d say the theme of Silent Hill is struggle with inner demons. It’s an odd juxtaposition with The Little Prince. Though I’ve always been unsure how to take Little Prince. I’ve seen it as a man’s failure to deal with the darkest parts of humanity retreating into a false reality; almost the exact opposite of what James is doing, but it’s possible I’m reading too much into a children’s book.


    September 22, 2010 at 7:31 am

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