A selection of videogames that attempt to incorporate photography (or better “photographing”) as game mechanics to a certain degree.
Polaroid Pete (Gekisha Boy Gekibo)
Gekibo: Gekisha Boy – screenshot of the 1992 PC game version
Gekibo: Gekisha Boy – screenshot from the 1992 PC game version
In this PC game from 1992 (ported to PS2 in 2002, and with a a sequel titled Gekisha Boy 2 released for PS2 in 2001), photography plays a big role in both story and game mechanics. This makingGekisha Boy one of the earliest examples of videogames to incorporate a camera and the act of taking pictures as core game mechanic. In each level the main character has to take snapshots of events happening around him, with points being assigned according to the player’s ability to catch the “decisive moment”.
In this series, the game takes inspiration from the Victorian born art of ‘Spirit Photography’. It lets the player capture images of spirits through a Camera Obscura, while exploring abandoned ruins and fend off hostile ghosts.
the main character of Dead Rising is a photo journalist, Frank West, who has to survive a zombie-infested environment while documenting the events with his camera. Shots taken with the in-game camera are evaluated (genre of the photos is analysed, e.g. brutality, drama, …) and rewarded through a point system.
Spiderman 3 lets you play as Peter Parker, and in some missions you are required to get pictures for the Daily Bugle. A basic camera interface allows you to zoom and frame an image before taking the shot. Pictures are given points (photo score).
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
in an easter egg within Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the player is transported to a white environment where it is possible to take pictures of the female character, posing as if in some sort of weird erotic photo shoot.
Grand Theft Auto V
in GTA V, there are a number of missions where you work with/for a paparazzi photographer and you have to take pictures with a DSLR or with your in-game smartphone camera.
Camera Sim 3D
Camera Sim 3D is a DSLR simulator, developed with the purpose of teaching the basics of photography and how to operate a DSLR camera. It is still in production at the time of writing, but a live demo is available online.
play a demo here: http://camerasim.com/apps/camerasim/
an early camera simulator demo from 2011 (this one uses video footage instead of in-game textures): http://camerasim.com/apps/camera-simulator/
more Photography Games covered in this previous post: https://ingamephotography.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/photography-games/
the original article included “Life Is Strange” as one of the games about photography, but it was not featured in our list because the mechanics for taking a picture in the game offer very little control or similarity with the act of photographing (no possibility of framing, zooming, focusing).