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Why Game Movies Stink 264

Posted by Zonk
from the casting-writing-and-plot-are-some-of-the-reasons dept.
Via Cathode Tan (who has some commentary of his own on the subject), a Guardian article attempting to ascertain who is at fault for crappy game movies. From the article: "Because, unlike cinema, computer gaming is a medium which requires the player to make things up for themselves. An individual game may be laden with 'plot points' but its narrative is always up for grabs. It is a format of scenarios rather than stories, elements which can be bolted together in differing orders with varying outcomes. Cinema, on the other hand, is designed for people who like to watch and listen, and who expect the film-maker to get their story straight before the movie reaches the theatres. Viewing a film based on a computer game is like hanging around in an amusement arcade, peering over the shoulders of other people playing video games. It has less to do with story-telling than conceptual shelf-stacking. And it is symptomatic of the painful death of the art of narrative cinema."
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Why Game Movies Stink

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  • by johnfink (810028) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:17AM (#15196332)
    If they have Angelina Jolie or Milla Jovovich.
  • Yeah (Score:3, Funny)

    by SlayerDave (555409) <elddm1@gmaiBOHRl.com minus physicist> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:19AM (#15196337) Homepage
    It has less to do with story-telling than conceptual shelf-stacking. And it is symptomatic of the painful death of the art of narrative cinema.

    Yeah, that and Uwe Boll.

  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:19AM (#15196342) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be cool to have a 1st person movie (similar to a 1st person shooter)? Meaning, for like Resident Evil, Doom, etc. all we see is the gun in hand, the shots fired, and the blood splattering? That would make a great movie!
  • Uh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:20AM (#15196348)
    Because:

    most games stink
    most movies stink

    It's basic algebra/logic/common sense...
  • Poppycock! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:21AM (#15196351)
    So, the movie will never be the same experince as playing the game. That's obvious.

    It is still possible to write a good movie based on the plot points of a game. "Tomb Raider" comes to mind, as does "Mortal Kombat". Neither is all-time great cinema, but they are both perfectly good movies. They took the plot points of the video games and built a good story around them.

    If you can't make a good movie from a video game that's a failing of the writers you are using, not of the concept itself. Given the quality of plots coming out of Hollywood in general, it should be obvious that good writing is in seriously short supply.
    • Re:Poppycock! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:55AM (#15196696)
      Ah, where are my mod points when I need them?

      The parent is absolutely correct. Most game-movies fail because they aren't like the games at all. For example...

      Super Mario Bros. should have been a pipe-and-koopa-filled Mario and Luigi adventure to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Instead, we got some bizarre sci-fi thing involving parallel universes and evolved dinosaurs(?)
      Doom should have been like the games - an intense survival-horror flick where the main character blasts his way through demons (and even Hell itself) to save the world. But, nope.
      Street Fighter... don't even get me started. How they adapted a fighting game into this piece of motion-picture crap, I'll never guess.

      Either way, the success of movies like Advent Children proves that people want movies based off of the actual games themselves, rather than some contrived movie plot written by someone who has obviously never played the original games in question.

      • Re:Poppycock! (Score:3, Interesting)

        Another issue is medium transfer. For example, taking an animated series and converting to real-picture movies. The problem is that some characterization depends on the medium with which it is portrayed. I think 'Advent Children' works because is keeping to the same medium (digital animation), even if has gone from a game to a movie. Mario-Bros would have been better off being converted to a cartoon than a real-picture movie, IMO. The way I see it, is that a game that looks animated should use a correspondi
        • True, except for those games that exactly fit a movie genre - Duke Nukem just wants to be an action movie (for some reason I think Kurt Russell might make for a decent Duke). River City Ransom would work equally good as an anime and an action movie parody (maybe even as a deliberate trash movie). The same gos for Metal Gear or X-COM.

          One problem arises when you take something from one medium to another and try to keep the presentation the same. Look at Casshern: They took an anime series into a live action
    • Re:Poppycock! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iainl (136759) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:59AM (#15196742)
      If you think Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat are perfectly good examples of the cinematic art, then Mark Kermode isn't really speaking to you. The whole subtext to his discussion both here and elsewhere on the issue is that the failure of many blockbusters to aspire to anything greater than a series of explosions linked by some car chases is directly connected to the games-as-films phenomenon.
      • Re:Poppycock! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by joshsisk (161347)
        the failure of many blockbusters to aspire to anything greater than a series of explosions linked by some car chases is directly connected to the games-as-films phenomenon

        Except that it's poppycock, since films like that have been made for quite a long time. Take a glance at Burt Reynolds' early 80s filmography, for example, and you will see many examples of films that aspire to be nothing more than just some car chases and things blowing up... and this was well before the video game-movie phenomenon.

        In tru
    • by faust13 (535994)
      "Mortal Kombat... good movie"

      I'm so glad there was a period between those two statements.

      Instead of a period, I could suggest:
      -Was not a
      -Far from
      -No where near
    • Re:Poppycock! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:02PM (#15197946) Homepage
      The entire article uses faulty logic, and applying Occam's Razor, there is a much more obvious and likely reason why game movies (and any other film based on an IP) suck ...

      Because they don't take it seriously, and think that the IP can stand on it's own.

      Take a look at Batman. The good movies were the ones where they took the time to craft a plot, work on character development, and generally respect the material. The bad ones were the ones where they assumed that because of the strength of the IP and the established characters, you didn't need to do any of the things that you normally need to do when building a movie script.

      Writing a movie script is a process, one which I only scratched the surface of in my screenwriting class. But it was enough to show me that the bad movies are the ones that diverge from the standard process that people use to develop a screenplay. I'd say that has far more to do with it than the lack of interactivity.
      • Re:Poppycock! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nelsonal (549144)
        I'd say it's related to that, say you have a given budget for a film that can be allocated to script, director, actors, story (IP). If you pay more than 0 for the right to use the characters then your script, director, and actors must be less well compensated to offset. Not that pay always goes with talent (Randy Quaid as a recently noted example generally works cheap for low budget art house films).
    • I think the key is "tasteful" translation of the elements that make the game fun (Or scary or whatever else the game attempts to be) into elements that make the movie fun. The movie also needs the same elements that give any other movie, book, or play merit: engaging plot, character development, etc. It helps if those are drawn from the game and explored more fully in the movie, as opposed to the House of the Dead movie which basically had nothing in common with the games except zombies and guns.
  • simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:25AM (#15196376)
    Because most games have very simplistic plots. Sure, they seem fairly intricate when you spend 20-40 hours running around performing tasks to get the next part of the story to be revealed. But when you sit back and look at it again afterwards, you can usually distill the story down to a one or two paragraph summary that still contains the more intricate plot points.
    • Re:simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Haeleth (414428)
      And? Romeo and Juliet can be distilled down to a one-or-two-paragraph summary that still contains the more intricate plot points, too. This has not led to people saying "most plays have very simplistic plots", and it appears to have been completely irrelevant to the quality of movies made based on it, some of which have been good and others bad.
      • But Romeo and Juilet doesn't require the audience to spend 2/3 or more of their time leveling up by battling random encounters.
    • Re:simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      The part of the story that makes it interesting isn't the main points, you can take any great story and sum it up in a couple of paragraphs that contain the more intricate plot points. What makes a story great is how it happens and unfolds, this includes the little details. Would you call the original Half Life a good game if all you did was find out that aliens showed up, you went to their world then you fought the boss of the soldiers attacking you and finished up with killing the large Alien at the end?
    • Re:simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thos_thom (723520)

      Yes, but, I can distil the story of any major hollywood film down into two paragraphs but you try and convey the understanding one gets from reading two hundred or so snippets of chozo lore (metroid prime) or the ever increasing pain of finding the diaries of people who have killed themselves and left behind their last thoughts for you to find in a mansion full of terror (resident evil 1) in a two hour film. A game film that tries to express the 15 hours of emotion evoked from a massive involving plot most

    • Re:simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038)
      No, it's because games aren't taken seriously enough to warrant making a decent film out of them. Most of them just intend to cash in on the name, using the cheapest staff they can get. There are games that could have been made into decent films but weren't. For example imagine that Mortal Kombat had been made by Tarantino, or that Doom had been made by Spielburg. Same original material but they might actually be watchable.
      • I actually didn't mind Mortal Kombat: sure it was a B-movie, but it was a well-done B-movie. Some of the fight scenes were top notch stuff, and the plot/acting/direction was reasonably entertaining.

        Now the sequel, there's another story. Wow, was that awful! I believe that "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" is on IMDB's bottom 100 list, and deservedly so.
  • by rob1980 (941751) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:27AM (#15196402)
    The Wizard was a piece of theatrical mastery in every sense of the word.
    • The red-head girl, Jenny Lewis, is a total hottie now with a kick-ass band called Rilo Kiley. That said, the Wizard was the best game movie/marketing scheme ever!
  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steveo777 (183629) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:27AM (#15196405) Homepage Journal
    From TFA "Without the luxury of a joystick in our hands, the viewer has no chance to make the incoherent on-screen antics any better - or worse. We just sit ... and stare."

    Okay, walking into a movie theatre, sitting down on the couch with a DVD, or even catching a game at the bar, we all experience Television or Movies in the same way. We can't control anything. People who go to a movie go there to see a story unfold. They don't go there to make things happen. When people go to see a movie based on a video game, they expect the same level of excitment the videogame delivers. This can never happen.

    Silent Hill was probably one of the best videogame movies I've seen. The game doesn't concentrate on combat, but on storey and making you piss your pants. The movie keeps your heart unsure whether or not it's worth each heart beat. Just like the game. The movie has very little combat. The game does not focus on combat. The game has a deep story that takes forever to discover and understand. The movie uses the time you're in the theatre to deliver enough story to understand what's going on. The only problem is that if you haven't played Silent Hill 1,2, and 3, you may not understand the movie's symbolism, and thereby, believe that it's just wonton violence.

    Silent Hill was good. Not the best, but good. Compare it to any other video game movie, and we're darn near a 10, at least a 9. TFA goes on to campare it to Street Fighter and Mario Bros (THE worst video game movie EVER). Not really a fair analysis. Street Fighter the game doesn't really have a plot. And Mario Bros the movie didn't have a plot. Not really a fair comparison there.

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kisrael (134664)
      From TFA "Without the luxury of a joystick in our hands, the viewer has no chance to make the incoherent on-screen antics any better - or worse. We just sit ... and stare."

      Okay, walking into a movie theatre, sitting down on the couch with a DVD, or even catching a game at the bar, we all experience Television or Movies in the same way. We can't control anything. People who go to a movie go there to see a story unfold.


      That's an interesting quote from TFA. The thing about "the luxury of a joystick" is that a
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Informative)

      by iainl (136759)
      Mark Kermode is one of the UK's leading experts on horror films, so he's not even particularly averse to a bit of violence for its own sake. He just found the narrative to be decidedly lacking.

      Also, I'd argue that if the game can't be understood without having played the games then that's just as much a failing as if an adaptation assumes you've read the novel.
      • Also, I'd argue that if the game can't be understood without having played the games then that's just as much a failing as if an adaptation assumes you've read the novel.

        I don't disagree with that. Like I said, though. The movie can be understood without playing the game. The symbolism, however is a look into the human psyche from someone else's point of view. Which really doesn't translate well across rooms or across the seas.

        A friend of mine has already tried an experiment. He has played all the gam

    • Silent Hill was probably one of the best videogame movies I've seen. Yes. I have not played the video game, but the movie makes me want to. I found the storyline to be intriguing and, most of all, complete. Don't give me crap about the differences between the movie and the game - rarely can any cross-medium productions be exactly how they were in their original medium. Silent Hill stands on its own two feet and is a testament to the greatness that all future video game movies should look up to and even
  • by Flaming Babies (904475) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:28AM (#15196409)
    ...but movie games are far worse.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:28AM (#15196417)
    the painful death of the art of narrative cinema.

    No, the problem isn't the "painful death of the art of narrative cinema" its the "painful dearth of art in popular video games."

    Let's face it, most video games have a very simple storyline (if any storyline at all). Most of that storyline concerns itself, not with introducing interesting and complex characters and plot points, but in setting up cheap excuses to get you into some predictible gaming sequence. The focus of "Doom 3" isn't charcter and plot, that's all just there to set up a fairly predictable FPS.

    Decent movies; on the other hand; rely on good writing, plot, and character development pretty much EXCLUSIVELY. That often means that a video game adaptation movie either has to reduce itself to being just as mindless as the video game, without even the benefit of any interaction (what the article complains about) or make HUGE alterations and additions to the original videogame storyline just to "flesh out" some interesting characters and plot developments (something which makes the studio and fans howl).

    I mean, ask yourself, how exactly would YOU make an interesting movie out of Halo, whose "star" is a faceless, anonymous, killing machine with virtually no backstory (and working under the studio requirement that he has to occupy most of the screen time, with a large number of pure mindless action scenes)?

    -Eric

    • No, the problem isn't the "painful death of the art of narrative cinema" its the "painful dearth of art in popular video games."

      I'll agree with you for the most part, but there have been some exceptions.

      The Marathon Trilogy easily comes to mind. The original was a 2.5D first person shooter, but it had an interesting story, and if you were a thinking player, it made you face the question of just who or what your onscreen counterpart really is. Are/were you human? Are you the missing Mjolnir cyborg? That ques
    • Decent movies; on the other hand; rely on good writing, plot, and character development pretty much EXCLUSIVELY. That often means that a video game adaptation movie either has to reduce itself to being just as mindless as the video game, without even the benefit of any interaction (what the article complains about) or make HUGE alterations and additions to the original videogame storyline just to "flesh out" some interesting characters and plot developments (something which makes the studio and fans howl).

    • Decent movies; on the other hand; rely on good writing, plot, and character development pretty much EXCLUSIVELY


      I disagree. The script might rely on those things exclusively, but a good film is brought to life by a host of elements almost entirely divorced from the writing or plot. The language of film is primarily visual and great films find their voice through their cinemtography and direction as much as they do through their story.

  • My theory... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BMonger (68213) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:31AM (#15196437)
    I've always though game movies stunk because they either fall into two areas:

    1) They are the same plot as the game. You already played the game, why do you want to watch the same thing in cinematic form?

    2) They are too far away from the plot. The fans already know the plot line and you've thrown something completely different at them and they cry about how it's not true to the game.

    I prefer the latter personally.

    Oh wait...

    3) Uwe Boll
  • by daranz (914716)
    One major reason why game movies suck is that some games have very simple plots, that cannot be expanded eaisly. Take something like Doom 3 - yes, there is a background story, but good 80% of the game is shooting stuff... walk somewhere while shooting, hit a button, walk back... now, that works for games, but is too monotonous for movies...

    Game-based movies would be better if they were based on games with better plot. When you start out with a shootfest where your main hero doesn't even speak, you're gonn
    • Amen. Tetris or Lumines would probably never make a great video game. FPS? Not much chance. Survival horror? There is a possibility of making one into a decent game. I've heard things for and against the Resident Evil movies, etc. But to get a good movie, it would probably have to be based on a plot/character based movie with some sense of internal conflict. In the right hands, Prince of Persia: Two Thrones could translate into a decent movie. Myst under the direction of someone like David Lynch wo
  • Piracy! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ghislain_leblanc (450723) <[ghisleb] [at] [me.com]> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:33AM (#15196463)
    No doubt about it, there is no other possible explanation, it just HAS to be piracy!
  • Umm, no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:34AM (#15196476)
    What a bunch of pretentious crap. Game movies have been bad because there is currently little to no incentive for the studios to do anything worthwhile with the license. Why go to all the trouble to make sure the script is solid and the directors vision is good, when you have this huge built-in audience who is going to see the movie regardless of any bad buzz or reviews?
    • Re:Umm, no (Score:2, Interesting)

      by n6kuy (172098)
      Interesting observation (sorry, no mod points for me today). We're so addicted to bread and circuses that we'll take whatever stale crumb is offered. There is no competition for audiences.
  • Most games these days try really hard to be like movies, and provide "cinematic experiences." As Game developers believe this is a route to respect for this new art form. They are, of course, wrong (in my opinion at least). And fail because for true success in an art form you have to eventually abandon the traits of older more established ones.

    So making a film based on a flawed attempt at making a film is two steps away from making a film. And that is a Bad Idea.

  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:35AM (#15196483)
    Disagree 100%. I get the feeling that after watching these things that the scriptwriters and director(s) simply read the summary on the back of the box, maybe read the manual and pulled the rest from their nether regions. Thus, they don't understand the *feel* of the game. I firmly believe many games made into movies had something going for them, other than German tax breaks. Doom? Oddly, yes. Alien worked. Course, that deveated so far from the original it barely deserves the name. Tomb Raider? Indiana Jones worked. What'd they do wrong? Hmm, oh yea, made it NOT like IJ and more like one of the last two Bond films...(gag). They would manage to screw up Half-Life, and that one practically gives you the script as you play it. Still seems to me the best one made so far is Mortal Kombat. It didn't take itself seriously, at all. Decent action, music, enough of a plot to move along... and it was short.
  • Then Madonna must have starred in a shitload of video games.
  • It's because you don't make a game movie because you have a great story to tell. You make a game movie for cash. The story is an afterthought.

    Movie games stink for the same reason. You don't have a great idea for a game. You have a set of characters and you need to find something for them to do.

    Storytelling and fun are afterthoughts in these projects.

    I would have thought that was obvious.
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:50AM (#15196640)
    Twenty years ago, no one thought comic book movies were going to be any good. Then Batman came out. If any project is paired with a director who has a specific artistic vision and is familiar and passionate about the work, more often than not a good movie will result. My favorite movie of this year so far happens to be based on a graphic novel.

    I don't see any interesting video game works in the horizon save for Halo: Fall of Reach which at least has been rumored to be attached to pretty good directors (Ridley Scott, Guillermo del Toro). Just give it time. It may take another two or three years for a good video game movie to be made, or longer, but it will eventually happen.

    Now, if they could only get licensed games to be good...
    • I 99% agree with your post entirely. I agree that all it will take it is decent script and a competant director to make a wonderful game (I truly believe that with the correct script, actor and director, and as long as it is made at least 5 years from now, thus far away from LOTR, The Legend of Zelda movie has at least the *potential* to be an absolutely beautiful flick).

      The 1% I totally disagree with you is that serious comic-book movies started with 1989's Batman. You're about 10 years and 3 words off:

      S

  • I like to think of the problem as something attributed to GIGO [google.com]
  • For calling off so-called game movies is a bit reckless.

    Two points:

    1. You will theorise as to the reasons why it doesn't work *until* there comes a "game movie" that's truly great. And then you will revise your theories..

    2. The gaming media and cinema are new art forms, especially compared to other arts like painting or literature or music. To write any one of them off is premature not to mention an attempted fusion of the two.

    I think instead of blasting the combination of the two, the important questio

  • When they only made bad games from average movies..

    (Actually, I've seen the RE movies, and thought they were reasonably entertaining. It's all about the mindset - I wasn't expecting Kubrick or Herzog, and recieved neither. As for adhering to the plot of the game, it's a chick shooting zombies - close enough.)

  • Cop-out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sc0ttyb (833038) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:58AM (#15196730)
    I'm sorry, but this whole thing gets on my nerves.

    The reason videogame movies blow isn't because of the source material (usually). It's because the writers/directors/studio bigwigs/what-have-you take too many damn liberties with the mythos.

    Okay, let's take Silent Hill for a start.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a Silent Hill fanatic.

    The makers of this film had an interesting, unique mythos to work with. They had interesting characters, bizarre environments, crazy monsters, excellent music, etc. So instead of using that as it was presented, they decided to pick and choose what they wanted and slapped it all together. Granted, they nailed the visual aspect of the game, but nothing else.

    For a start, let's talk about Pyramid Head (er, sorry - the Red Pyramid). He shouldn't have been in this movie at all because he's totally pointless outside his original context. Pyramid Head was only relevant to Silent Hill 2 because he a manifestation of both James Sunderland's sexual frustrations and his guilt. Including him in the movie just smacked of "hey, this guy's a cool villain, let's use him!"

    And don't even get me started on the whole plot/character deviation from the first game. You know, things like the lead character being Harry Mason and not this Rose person, his daughter being Cheryl and not Sharon, etc. Harry Mason's presence in the original Silent Hill game is very important, as it plays a rather significant part in Silent Hill 3, where it wraps up some of the first games loose ends.

    I could go on and on, but I won't. The fact of the matter is that they take too many liberties with the games. Don't change things that don't need changing. For the parts that can only be experienced with a controller, use your head and try and think of a way to convey that experience to the audience. Play the game through and take note of your emotions/feelings as you play a particular part, then use that to transfer it to the big screen.

    I think bad game movies are more a lack of effort and adherence to canon as opposed to having nothing to work with.
    • Silent Film's shitness was nothing to do with adherence to the 'canon'. The people complaining about it weren't the hardcore fanboys, it was the people who had never played the game. If the film was made well it wouldn't matter how loyal it was to the game.

      LOTR took liberties with the book but was still good, only the minority of fanboys complained.
  • Viewing a film based on a computer game is like hanging around in an amusement arcade, peering over the shoulders of other people playing video games.

    This line alone is an utter crock of shit. If a movie on based on a video game, it's like hanging around in an arcade? What the f**k is the person who penned this smoking and why isn't he sharing it with the rest of us, because that's some strong stuff!

    The source material is completely irrelevant whether it's based on a true story, a classic piece of
  • by clambake (37702) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:00AM (#15196748) Homepage
    I always just assumed that the lazy, talentless hacks who spend all of 15 minutes throwing together a script full of plot holes, boring dialog, nonsensical character motivations, no character development whatsoever and cliched plot elements that have to be grafted over the originally interesting game-storyline (to make the movie "marketable", of course), while blowing the entire budget on dime-a-dozen pure-CGI special effects that were only really believable ten years ago while ironically being less visually interesting than those in the actual game itself were the source of the problem...

    Now I read, they are only a symptom?

    No, the real problem is, quite simply, Hollywood can NOT make a movie where the story is already written for them and the market for that story is pre-built-in. They can't HELP but change it based on market testing, on director's "creative" whims and seniour executive's cocaine fueled brain farts... Only to discover after the fact that the original story that sold so well as a game was, in fact, quite good and was the primary reason why the franchise was so popular in the first place, and that changing it to make it more saleable actually made it less appealing to everyone.

  • IMHO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:02AM (#15196767) Homepage Journal
    I think game movies suck mainly because the people making them think "We have a built in audience that will pay to see this movie no matter how good/bad it is, so who gives a rats ass how much effort we put into the film". I mean, honestly: how much effort is someone going to put into a film to make it appeal to a large demographic when they think there's already a set demographic ready to hand over their money just because someone made a movie out of their favorite game.

    "Viewing a film based on a computer game is like hanging around in an amusement arcade, peering over the shoulders of other people playing video games. It has less to do with story-telling than conceptual shelf-stacking."

    What an asinine thing to say. This article is nothing but a worthless attempt at shifting the blame for crappy movies which are based on the same story that some video game was based on away from the people who deserve it. Just because a video game was made of a story does not mean a movie made of the same story can't be great.

    Today it's virtually impossible to turn on the television without being told to 'press the red button for more options', or to phone an 0870 number and vote for your favourite contestant.

    What the hell are you talking about?!!

    What do you think?

    I think you should put down the crack pipe.

    • by NekoXP (67564)
      Did you wonder what he meant by red buttons and 0870, or just the randomness of the

      For those not following digital TV in Europe, there is a lot of interactivity these days, almost too much and most of it is DOG'd into the screen with a "press the red button now" - you press it and get to follow on with WWTBAM or Idol and so on using your remote control.

      I'm fairly sure US digital TV is much the same but I haven't seen so much of this "HEY YOU INTERACT NOW!!!" hyped as it is in Europe.

      0870 is a premium rate p
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:03AM (#15196788) Homepage Journal
    And movies in general suck. Seriously. I see movie previews and they're just god-awful. The only stuff I like to see any more are kid's movies, they have the most mature and sophisticated humor of almost anything that's out there. You find more clever wit in a 90 minute animated Pixar film than every action movie or romantic comedy of the last 5 years combined.

    So, take the same vapid cadre of writers who produce the piles of drek and schlock out there and sick them on material that's already (in general) not good (game plots), and why is anybody shocked that they make crappy movies out of it?

  • Nope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kratei (924454)

    "A cursory glance at the list of cinematic stinkers which have taken their lead from PCs, Xboxes and PlayStations reveals that there has never been a half-decent movie based on a computer game."

    I rather thought Final Fantasy was at very least a half-decent movie. I know some people didn't think much of it, but it was better than a ton of non-game-movies I've seen. In any case there have been so few movies based on computer games that it isn't right to write off the genre yet. Just because there has yet to

  • by Programmer_In_Traini (566499) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:24AM (#15197007)
    These guys thinks too much. We've read it before, we've seen that before.... movies based on games are, more often than not, crappy.

    Not because the producer fails to grasp the concept of game or because it lacks the player involvement or any sense of reality.

    Let me break the hard truth on you : budget.

    There are 2 scenarios :
    1. A small producer trying to get some movies under his name because it fits nice on a resume. Its like acculumating hours of flights for a pilot. He'll take a quick project, small budget movie just to get experience

    2. Big producer accepting the project for a big budget movie, but he'll use only a fraction of that budget because people tend to except low quality anyway. He'll use the remaining budget to fund a big movie that will catter to a much bigger audience, rewarding him with more money.

    Its all about the money really.

    Well, anyway, that's my 2c :)
  • What makes a game good is gameplay. What makes a film good is plot. The two have nothing to do with one another. Hence running around hitting your head on blocks, avoiding turtles and eating magic mushrooms makes a very fun game [everything2.com], but a lousy film. Conversely, many films have been licensed to make bad games (such as ET on the Atari 2600).

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:08AM (#15197435)
    Most games offer, as has been said numerous times, rather shallow story and plot. Most writers simply take that and run with it. The net effect is a movie with a shallow story and plot.

    Why does it matter in the movie while it doesn't in the game?

    Because the player of a game is more involved than the watcher of a movie. He's part of the experience, he is "in" the game, not "looking at it".

    Quite the same reason why Game-TV isn't really getting off the ground. Play a few hours of a shooter and then watch others do it. You'll understand the difference.

    If they want to make GOOD movies based on games, they should take the general idea and write a plot around it. Not try to copy the "feel" of the game. Can you imagine what Indiana Jones and the last Cruisade would've been like if the game had been out before the movie? Can you envision the movie? And how bad it would've been? Just imagine the movie would have been watching Indy do what you make him do in the game...
  • Video-game based movies suck for the same reason that most fan fiction sucks.

    Consider: If I have a great deal of creativity and imagination, I am going to write my own damn story!. I am not going to set my story in some video game I played, or some TV show I watched - I am going to make up my own world.

    So almost by definition any screenwriter who is basing his story on a video game lacks imagination.

    Now, if I am a director who is *good*, am I going to pick a screenplay by some hack who was inspired by some
  • 1: Size. Many of the games with the good plots, you know, the Bioware games, Starcraft, some of the Japanese RPG's, and such, are really long. REALLY long. Games can reach 40 hours of length and while not all of that is taken up by the main plot, it still makes things difficult as hell to translate to a script. So either this limits the games that can be used (action-heavy games like Doom) or the plots are cut up and shrunk down to be "faithful" but still not that good.

    2: Genre choice. Only one RPG has gott
    • (Final Fantasy) didn't actually use any of the games' plots

      It did use many of the basic themes, though. Bizarre, world-ending threat. Creatures that seem alien and magical at the same time. The world as a living being.

      And, hey, there was a character named Cid. :)

  • Why do game movies stink? Because Uwe Boll made them! ba-dum-dum...thanks folks, I'll be here all week.

  • that you PLAY a game (an interactive activity) while you just WATCH a movie (a passive activity.)

    As much as Hollywood might wish it other, people will ALWAYS think that watching a game made into a movie sucks BECAUSE IT DOES!!!

    Without the interactivity, most games, from chess to Quake Arena, don't have enough plot to offer to make it worth watching.

    By the same token a script good and tightly scripted enough to make into a movie would suck as a game.

    There is NO WAY to reconcile these two modes. You CAN'T be
  • Or you could be playing "Dreamfall" which as far as I can tell is a new genre of "Movie Game". Or maybe "Pseudo Interactive Fiction".

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see it made into a movie. It's the best story I've seen in a game since the prequel "The Longest Journey" from 1999.
  • I think all here would agree, Hollywood hasn't always been the most imaginative, innovative part o' the globe. Hellfire, when they fall to making things like "The Brady Bunch Reunion", "Return to Gilligan's Island", multiple Star Trek spinoffs (although these were surprising good, IMHO) - that's a blatant admission that they don't care about providing quality for pay, only about providing exposed film for pay.

    Can't find a new story to tell? Retell the old stories; for our younger viewers, slap on the hac

  • I have high hopes for the upcoming Halo movie. I know I may be dissapointed, but in Halo I see a genuinely immersive storyline, not just with great plot elements, but decent personalities around which to build well rounded characters (of course in the games, we get little or no indication of MC's character, but that could be something the movie fills in).
  • ..especially the last fight scene. ..What more could you expect. I love to see new blockbuster scifi movies no matter how much they suck ..because at least they spur my imagination.
  • The same has been said about movies from books. They are just simply different mediums. Different artforms.

    Next try making a sculpture into a video game and tell us that it did not work. Or use a oneliner an d turn that into a movie. Well, that last part happend with B-movies where they first came up with a title and then made a movie around it.

    Now at the movies:
    Slashdot.
    News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.
    With Nathalie Portman, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, ...
  • My point was that the kind of plot that makes for an entertaining and engaging interactive environment is exactly the kind of plot that does not translate to a non-interactive environment.

    Ok so rewrite the plot for the movie? Great idea... but the plot devices THEMSELVES are also problems.

    Basically any movie thats going to be at all faithful to a video game is almost doomed from inception.

    Let's assume that any movie that is not faithful (to some degree) to the video game it is created from is a failure fro
  • House of the Dead

    Bad acting, bad special effects, mind numbing dialog, stupid plot, clips of the actual video game spliced into the movie. This wasn't even campy fun.

    And apparently they've made a sequal.
  • The source material has little to do with the final product. If you throw a good writer at an adaptation, they understand the limits of the mediums and adjust. That's a big if.

    Studios are a business, and the're adapting video games because they see cash. Before they greenlight a project, they calculate its minimum audience, and an adaptation gives you the audience from the original. If a studio can produce, distribute, and market a film for less than the money it will make, it will be made. I have a friend

  • Movies in general stink because of the way they are made...

    1. Hot-shot producer wannabe sees something popular--a game, a TV show, a toy--and decides to capitalize on the item's popularity by making a movie.
    2. Producer picthes the idea to the major studios, who will only back it if it follows a 'proven forumla'--in other words, has all major thematic elements identical to every B-movie that did more than break even in the last two years.
    3. Producer signs a deal with a studio, who hires their 'proven' product
  • Games are really vapid fair. I wouldn't even go so far as to say their are a series of scripted scenarios. Most games center around one singular plot point. Doom, go to mars and find out why everybody died. Tomb Raider, get a busty brunette spelunking through a cave with a couple of large caliber guns. Then your expected to make a movie out of? Even in a supposedly well scripted game like a D&D RPG, what are you ending up doing repeatedly? Find the object and give it to this person to get a the
  • A big part of it is the fact that test audiences are now used. Most of the comments here miss that. A movie should be made by a director on its own merits, as opposed to being slapped together by committee and then scissored up after a bunch of random yahoos comment on what they liked and didn't like. Keep in mind that the MPAA takes the film under the door and it comes back X and they edit it and submit it (they don't find out why) comes back - X, so on and so forth, if they simply said "listen we object t

The first version always gets thrown away.

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