Making Videogames Review: A Luxurious Treatise On Game Development

In its opening pages, Making Videogames states that it's not by chance that Super Mario 64 "characterized its virtual camera as a videographer flying on a cloud." Games are made up of shots and angles, each item and backdrop painstakingly chosen to make the player feel like they're really a part of the scene, or at least to make the gameplay as effective as possible. Duncan Harris and Alex Wiltshire, the creators of Making Videogames, become Lakitu, floating around 12 games and snapping the best shots – picking the prettiest, the most emotive, and the most demanding to produce. Ripped from the context of gameplay, with no sound cues or interactivity to accompany them, Making Videogames recontextualises these stills as art, before analysing them through different lenses to understand what went into creating them and what makes them tick.

But this isn't just a photography book. Making Videogames scrutinises the designs of 12 games, from Disco Elysium's impressionist painterly style to Grid's realism. It tries to understand why artistic decisions were made from as much a gameplay standpoint as an aesthetic one, and the developers also offer their insight into why they made the artistic decisions they did, and how the results were achieved.

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