What's The Best Painting Inside A Video Game?

Some people think video games qualify as works of art. People like the Supreme Court. Like other great forms of cultural production, video games can hold references to and reproductions of other creations. A NeoGAF thread homes in one on this metacontextual aspect, focusing specifically on great paintings hanging on the walls of various virtual worlds. I myself am partial to the portraits of Cave Johnson that adorned the decrepit laboratory levels in Portal 2 for the way they told a side story about the Aperture Science founder.

NeoGaf user revolverjgw opens up discussion with this:

GAF, I have a strange fetish. I love paintings and portraits on walls, and I can't resist stopping for a moment to carefully examine them. Whether it's a famous real-world piece or something done up just for the game by the concept artists, I love the ambiance of being able to stop and enjoy a good painting in the middle of a 3D world.

Just last night, I beat Mafia 2. The climax takes place in an observatory, and between slaughtering waves of wiseguys, I took some time out to peruse the photographs of planets and galaxies on the walls. They weren't very high-res, but it was nice to spend a moment contemplating the eerie awesomeness of a neutron star, I was kind of burnt out on killing people by that point.

Another thing I like is portraits of people on walls or desks. I guess most of them are mugshots of developers or their relatives, and sometimes that's annoying when I'm playing a game set in the Victorian era and there's some damn hipster in the picture. I like it when there's vintage portraits of real people. I often feel sad knowing that they're long dead, and never got to play this particular FPS. :-(

Anyway, yeah, it can be a nice mood-setting detail, naw mean? It's something I always appreciate. I'll watch other people play games, running through them and not even acknowledging this shit. Barbarians.

For such a specific interest, it's hard to find examples, but I found a couple of memorable paintings. There were tons of cool paintings all over the mansion in Clive Barker's Undying-

And of course, Silent Hill 2.

Ask NeoGAF is a republished thread from popular gaming forum NeoGAF reprinted with express permission from the site. NeoGAF started as the forum for video game news site Gaming-Age, but in 2006 became a stand-alone site. It is home to a vibrant and well-versed community of game players, makers and journalists. Hop on over and check it out sometime.


    I loved the Undying paintings, how you could reveal their
    true nature by holding that green gem against them

    It has to be the paintings from Super Mario 64. I mean come on, they were like the canvas versions of Narnia - 15 of them!

    Not really a painting, but I liked all the butterfly, hand print murals in BioShock 2.

    I'm going to say best use I've seen is El Shaddai ;)

    Oblivion, when you are inside the painting

    I usually notice the artworks and appreciate them, but I promptly forget them.

    Vampire the Masqurade had a quest where you had to attack paintings. I liked those ones.

    the sims 2, I'd woo-hoo with sims, after, when they were dreaming of me, I'd jump out of bed & paint them & these conquests would be on display downstairs to sho off to the new sim's I'd seduce. I'd be chuffed when they would "admire" my "works o art"

    Amnesia has cool painting that change depending on you sanity...

    Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2: Special Edition. The entire game is a painting.

    Speaking of 'inside the painting'-type awesomeness - Psychonauts for sure. That level where the whole thing's like a flouro velvet painting and there's this bull going round and round - man that game was strange and great.

    Oblivion's "A Brush With Death" quest, which had you running around inside a Van Gogh styled oil painting, armed with turpentine.

    pure awsomage

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