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Why Game Movies Stink 264

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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  • Silent Hill (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Drakin030 ( 949484 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:19AM (#15196340)
    I personally thought Silent Hill the movie was great.
  • simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:25AM (#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:Umm, no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by n6kuy ( 172098 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:50AM (#15196634)
    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.
  • IMHO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:02AM (#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.

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

    by joshsisk ( 161347 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:40AM (#15197180)
    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 truth, there have always been movies without good plots... why? Because there is a segment of the audience that doesn't care and will see these movies anyway. That's not a story, though, so reporters have to claim it's a "new trend".

    Seriously, go look at a list of major hollywood films that were released in the past- you will see tons of brainless crap in every year. You will see some classics too, of course, but the thing is, we tend to ONLY remember the classics. You remember Chinatown from '74, but do you recall the original Gone In Sixty Seconds (which has even LESS plot than the original, and was advertised as having a 60-minute-long car chase)? No, you probably don't...

    Now, I'm not saying that there haven't been better times for American movies than today - there have. But there have ALWAYS been brainless movies.
  • Re:Poppycock! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:31PM (#15198233) Homepage Journal
    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 corresponding cartoon approach and a near real-looking game can use the real-picture approach.

    Of course, whatever solution is used the story is paramount. Often a great story can make up for the slight kinks in the presentation.

  • by spezz ( 150943 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @01:49PM (#15198438)
    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.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb