Through The Lens: Best Games Based Around Photography

By Ural Garrett , Updated May 18, 2013 08:57 AM EDT
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Photography is more than owning an expensive Cannon or how well someone uses an Instagram filter but about capturing that special moment and making it last a lifetime. Throughout the years, video games have used the visual art as an additional game feature or the main gameplay mechanic. With that in mind, we run down some of gaming's best usage of the camera. 

Pokémon Snap: N64 - 1999

There wasn't a franchise that captured the hearts and minds of elementary (and geeky teenagers alike) like Nintendo's Pokémon in the late 90s - early 2000s. The franchise spawned a hit television show and card game outside of the mega popular Game Boy release that started the craze.  While portable gaming fans were satisfied, many craved a home console equivalent to the RPG. Nintendo did something completely different and pretty much created a subgenre through Pokémon Snap. This bold entry had players assume the role of Todd Snap, a photographer summoned by Professor Oak to take pictures of Pokémon. 

Fatal Frame: Playstation 2 - 2002

Apparently, Temco based Fatal Frame's story on an urban legend about the Humuro Mansion. Lore allegedly says that the mansion was the home one of the most gruesome murders in Japanese history. Anyway, sounds like the perfect premise for a Japanese style survival horror game. Though there have been multiple sequels, nothing beats the first time watching Miku Hinasaki's search for her brother as she uses the Camera Obscura to capture the images of spirits. That's right, ghost are defeated with a camera. 

Dead Rising: Xbox360 - 2006

Dead Rising was a free roaming survival horror game with a huge emphasis on action. One of Dead Rising's biggest gameplay features was its experience system based on Prestige Points. Outside of doing actions like killing zombies and saving survivors, main character Frank West earned the most PP by taking photographs because he's a photojournalist. Scores are based on five different styles including outtakes, erotica, horror and drama. Many just enjoyed plopping a MegaMan helmets on zombies and taking funny photos as they moved wildly. Recking havoc in a Colorado shopping mall has never been sweeter.

Sleeping Dogs: Playstation 3/Xbox 360/PC - 2012

Sleeping Dogs started as a sequel to Activsion's True Crime: Hong Kong before being sold off to Square Enix and the game turned out the better for it. Though the game comes off as an above average open-world action title set in Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs used photography in a more practical way as players took control of undercover cop Wei Shen. As players infiltrate the Triad organization, one of the biggest tools is Shen's camera phone. Whether he's taking pictures of drug transactions, recording surveillance or just taking pictures of his current love interest, it fits well and isn't intrusive.  

Beyond Good and Evil: Playstation 2/Xbox/Gamecube/PC - 2003

It's quite interesting how well Michel Ancel drew inspiration from modern politics and the news media when he created Beyond Good & Evil. Jade is gaming's most bad-ass investigative journalist. She can really can fight well with that combat staff and still manage to take good photos. Though Jade's camera work is used to push the story of a planet wide alien invasion forward, it's essential for collecting currency.

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