Nicky Case is an artist that chose video games as a medium. In their own words: “They make interactive explanations, to help people understand the world, and interactive stories, to help people understand themselves.” Nicky Case created “Coming Out Simulator”, a short game, or virtual social experience, which tackled hard themes like public sexuality, religion, and mental illness.
Case impressed me on many levels, one way was in his understanding of the strengths of video games as a medium, which he explained during an interview about “Coming Out Simulator”: “One thing I do think games are particularly better at is getting across the sense of decision. Like, a heavy decision, a choice. Games are probably the best-suited medium for that. Like, the way text is best-suited for getting across abstract ideas; … You can get players to actually feel the weight of their decision-making.”
After Coming Out Simulator, they made “Parable of the Polygons” and “How a Terrorist is Made”. They asked themselves: “One: why do normal people do bad things, two: how can we make the world better, and three: where can a single person fit in all of this.” In all of these works, these incredibly complex problems involving social interaction, and social grouping/flocking/schisms were quickly dissolved with simple but eye-opening gamey interactive animations.
Nicky Case accomplished something that I often struggle with: making their audience, their players, understand and empathise with a complex issue or emotion through decisions and gameplay.
Coming Out Simulator: https://ncase.itch.io/coming-out-simulator-2014