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Everyone Can Paint Beautifully In Video Games

19/04/2021

Author: Jo Robertson


I’m a creative person but I am terrible at drawing and painting, if someone suggested doing a fun art activity, I’d say - 'ummm no thanks!' But if that art activity was based around a video game, I would be much more tempted to give it a go. Not that I’m a big video game player but that the idea of doing art within the parameters of a game makes it feel much more doable.

Imagine the same scenario for a child that finds creativity difficult and drawing even harder but loves video games. Isn’t this the perfect opportunity for them to be creative within a genre that is familiar to them? Unlike the real world of painting, in video games, anyone can create a masterpiece.

It could be as simple as Pictionary style Scribble It, or something more evocative like Concrete Genie where you create beautiful graffiti on walls. In this game, I appreciated that it helped me create something that I would never be able to paint myself. What’s more, my creation came to life and grew as I painted it.

On a wider level video games draw lots of parallels with art and paintings. Designers and artists spend years crafting game worlds that invite us to interact with realistic or stylised brushstrokes. Art in games lets us progress at our own pace and at our own skill level.

For young players, like the interesting absorbing space created by art galleries and museums, video games are a chance to see the world differently. They offer space and time to see the world through a different lens and think about our place in it.

As Jeanette Winterson is quoted saying in the Taming Gaming book, ‘There is a constant exchange of emotion between us...the artist I need never meet, the painting in its own right and me the one who loves it.’ This is what games do. Like a painting, they create space to meditate and think deeply about what we are seeing.

Along with games that let us paint ourselves, there are loads of experiences where we co-create with the makers of the game. Sometimes this is just to control the camera to frame their creation in games like Tearaway. Sometimes it’s to bring colour and life to a dry valley in a game like Flower. Either way, it’s exhilarating to get in on this creativity. Particularly if we usually find ourselves excluded from more traditional forms of art.

So if it’s some fun easy art, splatting your opponents in paint, or something more evocative and meaningful, there are loads of ideas in the Family Video Game Database:

Here are other sorts of games that can spark creativity in different ways:

You can also search the database for painting games. For example, we searched on the Get Children Painting genre for single player games with an PEGI 12+ age rating:
Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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