When Nomado Studio held an exclusive preview for ‘Gris’ earlier this month, the event was more art exhibition than video game reveal. Set in the Foley art gallery in New York City, guests were treated to a visual array of beautiful paintings before realising that these were screenshots for a video game. After weeks of waiting, the Barcelona-based studio finally released to the public, a reveal trailer for their debut project yesterday, sending entertainment websites abuzz with delight. It was clear that the desire here had been to create something that transcended the barrier between art and games with jaw-dropping watercolour visuals and almost poetic movements in illustration.

“We’re really seeing video games as a form of art,” Roger Mendoza, co-founder of the studio, said in an interview with Polygon. “We don’t think there are so many differences between movies and art. The same way that you see movies about everything, there should be games about everything.”

Video games are now generally accepted as platforms for wherein high art can be achieved. The industry received its stamp of approval when, in 2012, the Museum of Modern Art in New York purchased 14 games to be exhibited in its permanent collection, including Pac Man and Sim City. Indeed, the hunger for immersive and rich storylines has led many mainstream developers to hire award-winning screenwriters to flesh out their content, as well as star-studded casts to voice act their characters.

However, without the enormous budgets or infinite industry resources, independent game developers must seek to implement pioneering creative and technical skills to make their products stand apart from the rest. For this reason, indie games are usually the ones that offer the most emotional and artistic experiences. We take a look at some of the best indie games created and why they deserve to be called works of art.