Everything, the whimsical and philosophical indie game, became the first video game eligible for an Academy Award after it won the Jury Prize for Animation at the Vienna Shorts Festival. The game’s creator, David OReilly, tweeted about the award, marking a monumental opportunity for video games and interactive experiences to gain more prominence as works of art.
Everything came out in early 2017 as a quirky indie game that let players see things from the perspective of almost everything as they explore the universe, jumping between controlling subatomic particles, animals, mountains, galaxies, and everything between. All the while, players are faced with existential questions and thoughts from things they encounter and occasional soundbites.
Cool: Everything just qualified for an Academy Award, making it the first time this has happened to a game/interactive project pic.twitter.com/5SQVD9s960
— David OReilly (@davidoreilly) June 7, 2017
David OReilly was surprised to see his game win the award and doesn’t have high hopes for it at the Oscars, as it competes in the Animated Short Film category — there is no category for video games. Nonetheless, it is a major first for the video game medium even if it never reaches the stage of showing up as a nominee when 2018 Oscars happen next March.
Video games have long been criticized, considered mindless, and even been accused of increasing violent behavior in gamers. Everything landing among the contenders for the Academy Awards’ Animated Short Film category, though, gives video games a new position in the world of art.
Hideo Kojima kicked things off years ago with Metal Gear Solid by adding loads of cinematic flair to the game, and in the years since, games have become increasingly movie-like and story driven. Indie games like Everything have also been exploring video games as an art, and now Everything is giving the medium a chance to show a wide audience, beyond just those who play games, what video games are able to do.
It is still unlikely that we will see a surge of video games showing up in the Academy Awards in the years to come. Plenty of other games offer film-like and short film-like experiences, and it’s only now that one is eligible for the Oscars, and perhaps what sets Everything apart from many other games is that its gameplay is very simple, making it feel almost like a viewing experience instead of a gameplay experience — a point which may have been what gained it entry into the Vienna Shorts Festival in the first place.
Win or lose, Everything’s win is a big step toward wider acknowledgment of video games as art.
Everything is available on PC and PS4
Source: David OReilly – Twitter