Following on from his holiday article telling us why Christmas games suck, contributor Timlah is back – and this time he’s digging into movies based on video games.
|Contributor overview||Website:||GeekOut South-West|
|Description:||Some men just want to watch the world burn – but that quote certainly doesn’t fit the eccentric Timlah. Geek culture has completely consumed this chilled-out cosplaying conundrum. Regularly smiling and keeping it geeky, he’s hugely fond of indie games and alternative gaming systems.|
Have you ever taken the moment to sit back and watch a good flick? In the eyes of us gamers, we’re so used to being immersed in whatever world we’re in that we don’t really have the time for some movies. So what happens when a film comes out that’s about a world we’re already hugely fond of? I can only be talking about a video game movie – and let me tell you: they suck!
Let me cast your mind to a couple of films that are actually nicely adapted to being on the big screen. I’ve got two examples that are truly phenomenal, which also make video games look rather good. One is Wreck-It Ralph – a movie about video games as the entire world takes place inside of arcade machines – and the other is The King of Kong, a documentary looking at the competitive side of the high-score tables of the classic Donkey Kong.
But if you hadn’t noticed, there’s something a little… ‘amiss’ with these titles. They’re both phenomenally great to watch but at their core, they don’t seem to take an existing franchise and build upon it through stories. On the one hand, we have an animated title to entertain the masses by addressing another animated medium in our beloved video game scene; whereas on the other hand, we have a documentary about what made people so impassioned and so competitive for their favourite video games in the first place.
So what gives? Why hasn’t Hollywood produced that video game movie yet? You know what I mean: the movie that makes us as gamers feel proud to have not only been there to have seen the film, but to celebrate our fandom in a pure expression. Has the media made us feel somewhat bad as gamers to even be called such or is there more afoot? I have a theory and a lot of it comes down to Hollywood adapting video games to fit their relatively ‘cookie-cutter’ mould.
As an example, I’m going to use the Doom movie which I actually look at with a slight fondness – even though it is pretty bad. I remember cringing throughout watching it. However, one thing it did rather well was the actual ‘in-game’ moment. It was stylish and very comparable to the games themselves, which made it incredibly interesting to watch; but the rest of the film was cringe-worthy.
This wasn’t the only film that was cringe-inducing – wow about some that Hitman: Agent 47 movie that came out only last year? It was pretty much panned by critics, as well as a lot of the audience who decided to give it the time of day too. It’s a shame as Agent 47 is a well-known and loved character in video games; so why is it that even when Hollywood is given such a known and story-rich character, they can’t do anything of value with the product? It’s all written for them already, right?
Why aren’t our beloved game developers an integral part of developing stories for video game movies?
Notice then that the issue is less with video games being a feature or even the centre of a film, so long as they are allowed to be that. Don’t build a brand new story around the franchise; embrace the stories that already exist. Intriguingly, I was reading around and a lot of people who are in-the-know seem to suggest the same things, along with the most important question: why aren’t our beloved game developers an integral part of developing stories for video game movies?
As we look to the future, we have a few key video game films coming up. First and foremost, I’d like to point you to the Warcraft movie coming up. If Blizzard are heavily involved in the development of this movie, you can safely guarantee that this will be a brilliant production with meticulous attention to detail. The trailer seems to suggest we’ll be able to expect something of rich quality and it makes me truly excited to see, as I’m a fan of Warcraft lore.
Say what you will of video game movies but I know that, especially up until this point, they have been crap. There have been just a few exceptions and in those cases, it’s where the games are the focus. Draw upon what already exists within them; don’t make your own stories around existing video games. Wreck-It Ralph may have been a surprise hit in that respect but trust me: for title like this there’s a hundred Pixels.
Do you agree with me on this or do you think I’m missing some key, brilliant video game movies? Have I reminded you of some truly terrible films, or do you think that video games have their own special place in cinematography? Let us know in the comments below!