What It Really Means to Be a "Prestige" Game

Games as an artform have had a complicated history with being taken seriously. The ways in which the industry and fans have sought out "legitimacy" ranges far and wide, from arguments of whether games are art at all to borrowing language from other mediums to attempt to bridge the gap from well known mediums to the relatively new form of video games. One example being the idea of "prestige" games that were aligning themselves with the idea of "prestige television," a subset of shows that were held up as being "serious" art in comparison to mass market programming that usually tackle gritty, violent, or explicit subject matter with aesthetic and structural decisions that aligned closer to films than other TV. Prestige games are held up in a similar manner, as the natural peak of games as an art form that can convey themes and tell stories deemed as "important" that other games can't tackle. We discuss this framing, how a game's intended reach might affect its structure, and more on this episode of Waypoint Radio. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.