Games are widely considered to be works of art in their own right, but the underlying interactive nuts and bolts are only made engaging and entertaining through the aesthetic additions dreamt up by skilled design teams.
If you have a passion for art and want to see some truly interesting artistic ideas expressed through the medium of online games, the following titles might tempt you to play.
Easy to get into but difficult to master, Hearthstone is a digital card game from Blizzard that uses characters from the Warcraft universe as inspiration. Each one of the hundreds of cards that have been created for the game’s various expansions so far have their own unique artwork, created by some of the most talented illustrators working today.
There is definitely a fantastical, almost cartoony element to a lot of the card art in Hearthstone, although this all ties in with the approachable, colourful aesthetic of the game as a whole. Looking at the best examples in isolation really shows how much detail and work goes into each and every illustration.
The Cleopatra slot game is one of the most intriguing from an artistic perspective, thanks to the clever way that the iconography of ancient Egyptian culture is integrated with the symbols that spin merrily on the reels.
As arguably the most famous female ruler in the history of the world, there are also many representations and interpretations of Cleopatra outside of the world of online gaming, so it is no surprise to see her adopted as a figurehead for a modern slots experience.
The art of the critically-acclaimed Destiny 2 is a lot more serious than Hearthstone, but the dour tone does not diminish how epic and appealing it makes the game seem to those who have yet to experience this.
The promotional illustrations used to give a taster of what the full game has to offer are fairly representative of the sci-fi action that this FPS has to offer. There is something intriguing about the mix of ultra-futuristic weaponry and armour crossed with certain design elements that hark back to the medieval period of chivalry that set this game apart.
Once you actually create a character and start playing, there is a wonderful sense of exploration and variety, with the differences between the environments and the level design working together to make the artistic choices of the team behind the game blend seamlessly with the experience of getting to grips with it at first hand.
From the sublime to the simplistic, Minecraft has been a mainstay of online gaming over the past decade, but while its contemporaries almost always go for super-realistic visuals, there is an immense amount of charm to its block-based graphical style.
Once again it is an example of art and gameplay becoming inescapably intertwined, not just through the standard textures that come with the game but also through the massive amounts of variety offered from texture packs created by modders. It is possible to completely overhaul the visuals of Minecraft, customising it according to your tastes. This is before you even take into account that this is one of the few online games to actively encourage creativity in players, with its core mechanics allowing for immense structures to be built by individuals or groups.
It would be impossible to talk about modern online games without mentioning Fortnite, the global phenomenon that has attracted over 250 million players. What gives it the edge over many other battle royale-style games which follow a similar pattern in terms of their mechanics is that it actually packs a huge amount of personality into its artwork.
In fact, it could be argued that it is aesthetics that keeps generating so much of the cash for the developers of this ostensibly free-to-play title. People can pay for purely aesthetic upgrades to their characters which do not always change the way that it plays, but give them their own individual flare to show off to friends and rivals.
The larger-than-life art of Fortnite has allowed it to rise to prominence in a short space of time and will continue to be important to its success going forwards.