I really like crossovers of various expression media. Alliance of Video Games and other forms of Art should be encouraged.
I propose a continously updated list of titles that take suggestions from other artistic expressions such as painting, dancing, drawing, literature, comics, etc.
In 2016 it was released a PS4 game that mixes dance and abstraction, full of colors and sounds: Bound
Okami (2006) is an old PS2 title. It’s full of color, visual and light effects, its style is inspired by Japanese illustration. The protagonist is a wolf who has the power to draw on the game screen with a huge brush to create bridges, swords, generate Sun and wind, etc. A hymn to the art of drawing!
Equally amazing is The Unfinished Swan (2012), PS3/4 exclusive. A swan escape from a painting and a child, your avatar, chases him among the white pages of a book! The view is in first person and at the begininng of the adventure you see only a white screen! You have to spray ink droplets everywhere, so that walls, floors and furnitures could appear! Gorgeous! Pure genius! A masterpiece from the same creator of What Remains of Edith Finch (2017).
There is also a game that lets you wander around in a finely illustrated pop-up book: Tengami (2014).
It’s worth of a mention the upcoming title Gorogoa.
Thinking about the past, I remeber Max Payne (2001), psychological action-noir that introduced the “bullet time”, in which the narrative interludes between the game sessions are in the form of a comic book, with lots of baloons!
Another game known for the unusual mixing with comics style is Comix Zone (1995), an old beat-’em-up of Sega Mega Drive.
It’s worth to talk about Framed, a mobile production. You have to dispose comics frames in order to build the right storyboard and create the proper animated sequence! A crossover of comics, cartoons and videogames! Framed 2 has been recently released, it’s a prequel, and better than the original.
There are some titles that are able to express the magic and the mystery behind some architectures and sculptures: cursed houses, ancient palaces, cathedrals or castles that hide secret rooms, enigmatic monuments as pyramids, obelisks, etc. I was impressed by the architecture of the gothic mansion in Resident Evil (1996), the first episode of the series, and also by its décor and furnitures, with suggestive paintings and statues. Obviously you can better appreciate them in the recent remastered edition.
Another suggestive title is the very well known but never too praised Assassin’s Creed II (2009), where for example you can explore St Mark’s Basilica in Venice , revealing its secret passages.
Even the sequel, Brotherhood (2010), is intriguing for exploration of Renaissance Rome.
The Gigoia Studios developed small mobile games that allow for entering inside famous paintings, like the metaphysical ones by De Chirico or the impressionist ones by Monet.
In 2015 Borrowed Light Studios developed a VR exploration of Van Gogh paintings!
Layers of Fear (2016) is a gothic horror full of atmosphere; the protagonist is a painter in crisis whose goal is to complete his last cursed masterpiece. On the brink of madness, he wanders in a continuously transforming Victorian mansion, whose walls are drenched with black paint, as it was drawn by a capricious demonic brush! You have the impression you are moving inside one of the gruesome pictures that fill the walls of the rooms!
Give a look at this upcoming game, FRESCO.
Impossible not to mention Alan Wake (2010). Developed by the same software house of Max Payne, Remedy Entertainment, it is a beautiful metaphor about the power of writing, reminiscent of Stephen King’s book; at the heart of the story there is a manuscript that seems to anticipate the future …. or it is all imagination and you are the character of that novel?
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (2014) is a rare case of crossover of game and literature, a metaphor about writing, where reality mixes with fiction. It is a nostalgic tribute to the fantastic storytelling of old pulp magazines, such as Weird Tales or Amazing Stories, with a strong Lovecraftian touch; more generally it’s a tribute to the power of imagination and writing.