Okami: Initial Thoughts

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I am not so much interested in picking apart the pros and cons of Okami, because it would make this post redundant in light of all the press the game has garnered. Instead, I would like to bring your attention to the elements which make this game brilliant and innovative as both a video game and as a work of art.

I believe that partly due to modern technology our world has come to suffer. I hope that you will appreciate the irony of that statement. I assure you, however, that I'm serious. I don't mean that in some anti-technologically stereotypical way, nor do I mean it in the superficially trite way that you might expect. My understanding of the detriments of technology lies in a long tradition of philosophy expounded by such individuals as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Albert Borgmann, Martin Buber, and David Strong just to name a select few.

As such, it is not often that people find a way to use technology in a non-technological manner and to further non-technological ideas. I find that Okami has done just that thanks to the dedication of Clover. As the humanities often take a backseat in modern culture, with governments reducing the support for artistic endeavors in education as well as extra-curricular venues, I tend to favor most things that try and bring art back up on the priority list.

Okami demonstrates to us with its unique visual presentation that art is a vital part of our lives. Not stopping there, the game also emphasizes the importance of stories, of nature, and positive action in a world where karma holds sway. This comes as little surprise to those familiar with Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto traditions, particularly because of Okami's Japanese heritage. With this game's strong statements, I think that we have more reason to hope for the video game industry's success in overcoming its stagnant practices. As such, I will try to explore some of Okami's statements here in an effort to further its cause, even if only a little.

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