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Why Are Video Game Movies So Awful? 385

An article at CNN discusses why big screen interpretations of video games, even successful ones, often fail to succeed at the box office. Quoting: "The problem with successfully adapting video games into hit Hollywood spin-offs may lie in the way in which stories for both mediums are designed and implemented. Game makers chasing the dream of playing George Lucas or Steven Spielberg will always strive to coax human emotion and convincing drama from increasingly photorealistic virtual elements. The Hollywood machine, in its endless chase for big bucks, can't help but exploit the latest hit interactive outing, often failing to realize it's often a specific gameplay mechanic, psychological meme or technical feature that makes the title so compelling. Both sides may very well continue to look down in disdain on the work that the opposite is doing, which can doom any collaborative efforts. But where the two roads truly diverge is in the way stories are fundamentally told. Films offer a single, linear tale that's open to individual interpretation, whereas games are meant to be experienced differently and in a multitude of ways by every player." On a related note, reader OrangeMonkey11 points out that an 8-minute short has showed up online that appears part of a pitch for a potential Mortal Kombat reboot movie. Hit the link below to take a look.

Comment technology and talent (Score 1) 378

People are inherently musical. While people may be inherently storytellers, a movie isn't like storytelling in the same way that recorded music is about "playing music" (otherwise we'd be seeing Lake Wobegon XVII: Garrison Stands Up And Tells Another Story (This Time It's Personal)). The music industry formed because of a distribution problem that today is basically gone. Movie studios formed because of a talent and production resource issue that is still an issue today and will be as long as humans are involved.

Movies are also harder to make well, both from a talent perspective and a technological perspective. People can make records at home now that rival the best production available in studios, but that's not really true for movies. Even when the technology is there so that VFX made at home stand up to Lucasfilm, etc., there's still the problem that good movies require writing a good script, which (as a musician), I have to say is a lot harder than writing a song or an album. What's more, playing music is easier than acting, and as a result there are millions more great musicians than there are great actors.Most people are not inherently believable actors, and they don't practice acting in their spare time. And that's a multiplicative factor, since a great record can be recorded by one person, but how many times can you watch Castaway?

The business model and distribution for movies may have some tough times, but I think there will always be a market.

Comment Re:Wait, astroids? (Score 1) 194

Yeah, I mean, Asteroids has no NARRATIVE. Asteroids makes DOOM look like John Steinbeck's "East of Eden!" If we're talking 30 year old video games begging to be made into movies, Space Invaders would make more sense. Now THERE'S drama. Armies of aliens advancing, wave after wave, your fortifications getting blown to bits, your weapon's ability to only have one projectile in the air at a time, it'd make a great sci-fi horror movie.

Actually, a Space Invaders flim would kind of be like Night of the Living Dead, except, instead of a farmhouse, it would be that little area at the bottom of the screen where your gun moves back and forth. This could be a double feature along with Missile Command: The Motion Picture.

Comment Re:in meatspace, the law wants land to be used! (Score 1) 800

You misunderstand squatters rights.

The squatter has to be there for seven (or whatever) years with the owners knowledge and without the owner doing anything about them for squatters rights to kick in.

If someone 'squats' for seven years but the owner has no knowledge the squatter has no right to the property.

In some places 'private' streets are closed one day a year to keep squatters rights from taking over.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the owner does not need to know you are there as long as you aren't trying to conceal your presence. I think the language is actually that you must be "open and notorious" -- but they don't need to know. If they know and say you can stay, it's no longer adverse. If they know and try to evict you, I think that becomes trespassing. I believe this is part of why land owners must "walk their land" occasionally; it is about having a basic knowledge of what's happening on the property.

In fact, the whole "closing the streets once a year" example seems to me like a procedural way to make sure there are no adverse possessors. If they didn't close the streets, it's possible that someone would adversely possess property without anyone knowing. But by regularly closing the streets, they both make themselves aware of what's happening and also make it plain to any potential adverse possessors that they are not welcome.

Comment in meatspace, the law wants land to be used! (Score 3, Interesting) 800

Domains aren't land. There are some analogous aspects, but it's not the same thing, so we shouldn't expect to treat them exactly the same way as real property.

But as long as we're doing it, lets stretch the analogy a little bit. The law (IANAL) protects the property owners rights, but the law is also vested in seeing that land is actually *used*. This is why there are "adverse possession" laws. Also known as "squatters rights". In essence, the domain resellers are the property "owners" and people who want to use that land are the "squatters". Squatters (people who want unused land) in the real world actually have rights, unlike in cyberspace.

Squatters rights typically work like this: if you can squat on a persons land for a certain amount of time (say, 7 years) without them kicking you off it, YOU OWN THE LAND, because you were actually using it. Part of this law means that owners actually need to "regularly" walk their property to make sure that it's secure, etc., that nobody is squatting on it. And if you can use and occupy the land, and the other owner wasn't using it, you get to keep it and they lose.

The point here is that good use of limited resources (such as domains and land) is of value to society and thus to the law.

But adverse possession law doesn't work in cyberspace, for at least two reasons. First, the domain "property" owner can "walk" his property 3 billion times a second, even if he's not actually using it, because it doesn't occupy any physical space. Instead, its "size" is more a function of how useful it is within cyberspace. "" is the Louisiana Purchase compared to "", which is like the one-room "garden" apartment you rent. So this unfairly supports domain resellers because they can be everywhere at once.

Secondly, there's no (legal) way to adversely possess a domain. Even if the reseller isn't using the domain to serve ads, you can't go and squat on it (to prove that you'll use it even though the owner isn't), because you'd have to hack his gibsons to do it.

Even overlooking the impossibility of adversely possessing a domain from a reseller, the issue is complicated by the fact that it's difficult to determine what legitimate use *is* in cyberspace. For example, just because there's no website doesn't mean it's not serving email. But what about ad sites or search portals? Is that a legitimate use? In the real world, you might buy property to put up a billboard, or more likely, you lease space from an owner to put up a billboard. (The owner uses the land, and you pay the owner for the right to place an advertisement there. Like *normal* Internet advertising.)

But a great domain doing nothing but serving ads might be analogous to buying Nebraska in order to paint the whole thing as a billboard for transcontinental flights. The owner of Nebraska probably makes money off it, and in some sense is "using it," but not really in the way that we understand land is meant to be used, and not in the way that is most obvious or suitable for the land in question.

So what does all this mean? Speculation can be appropriate, but it only works if it is practically limited by how long you expect to sit on the property, and by how much property you can speculate on. Instead, all domains cost basically the same no matter how good they are -- this is completely unlike real property where the initial and continuing costs (such as taxes, insurance, etc.) to the owner are based on some preexisting market cost. We also need to be able to define what it means to actually use property in cyberspace if we want to design a system that supports good use of cyberproperty.

Unfortunately, as things stand, we treat domain resellers as property owners, with all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages. They have all of the leverage, so the system naturally breaks.


Submission + - Masters or not? 2

mx12 writes: With the semester finishing up, I have been thinking about my education future. I am currently an undergrad in computer engineering and I am thinking about getting my masters. I have a year left in school, and most of my professors seem to think that getting a masters is a great idea, but I wanted to hear from people out in the working world. If I could get my masters paid for by the lab I work in, is a masters in computer engineering better than two years of experience at a company?

Thanks everyone!

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