Video Games vs. Other Entertainment Mediums- Part 1

For countless years now it seems that people have had an obsession with comparing video games to other entertainment mediums. How well video games hold up in comparison to other forms of entertainment has often been taken to be a measurement of how well video games are doing as a medium, but these kind of comparisons often come about with a myriad of problems behind them. So let’s take a look at where the video games vs. other entertainment mediums analyses too often fall apart.

Why Always Movies?

Far too often we end up only comparing video games to one other medium.

When video games do get compared to other entertainment mediums it seems that movies are the top candidate. In fact, unless we’re talking about the common games as art debates, it seems that almost every time, the entertainment medium which video games get compared to is movies. In one way it’s not that surprising to see this kind of comparison going on, after all they’re two of the world’s biggest entertainment industries, but it’s interesting just how rare it is to see video games compared to mediums apart from movies in the average discussion space.

People often pick movies as the material for their comparisons not just because movies are very popular, but also because it’s the easiest comparison to make; both games and movies use visuals, incorporate music, and often tell stories in at least a somewhat similar fashion, especially now that we’re increasingly seeing developers and publishers making the effort to make video games more like movies. The similarity between the two mediums is also only exacerbated for people who have a limited understanding of game mechanics.

This focus on comparing games against one other entertainment medium instead of all entertainment mediums is a very narrow-sighted way of trying to determine the relative success of video games, but this narrow-sightedness reflects the bigger problem of why many people make this kind of comparison to begin with. If you’ve seen games vs. movies debates on the internet before then you’re no doubt familiar with the fact that a lot of these debates are fuelled by people who just want to see their own opinion on which is the greatest entertainment medium validated by society as a whole. The logic is that if video games are the biggest medium or most popular medium, this means they’re the best medium.

Duelling Sales Figures

Financial comparisons between these two things are often unfortunately misled.

One common tactic to try and prove that video games come out on top in terms of entertainment, has been comparing profits or units/tickets sold of movies against those of games; however this usually leads to lots of misleading figures being presented. Sometimes when weighing the two up people will directly compare total money made from box office sales of a movie with the total money made from sales of a game. It must first be remembered in these instances that game prices can range from those of a simple iPhone game right up to those of AAA blockbusters. Of course in these comparisons AAA blockbusters are usually used, but this is far from fair when the price of a big-name game these days is many times that of a movie ticket. Comparing profits of movies against profits of games is also not a sensible means of comparison, as it is not only carries the flaw that looking at the total money made through sales does, but carries the extra glitch that it’s dependent on how much it cost to make the game or movie in the first place.

Even if you’re just talking about the number of tickets sold vs. the number of games sold the comparison still isn’t entirely apt though, as this does not account for sales of Blu-Rays, DVDs, or the streaming of movies. Even if you did include these figures, there’d be no telling how many people who bought the movie on-disc or streamed it were seeing it for the first time and how many had already seen it in cinemas. Add in the confusion that used sales, renting, and similar things bring to the mix and it becomes obvious that it’s a bit of a nightmare to actually work out which video games and which movies are doing better than each other financially.

Of course even if we can prove that video game sales measure up well against the competition, that’s far from the end of the story. Ignoring the ridiculous idea that if lots of people like video games that means they’re good (I think we can all agree that there’s a lot of popular things out there with a serious lack of quality), even if video games are collectively selling well that doesn’t tell us much about how the public perceive them, how much time they’re putting into their games or what kinds of games are selling. Obviously the reality of the situation is that video games have neither the status nor the audience that other big entertainment mediums have right now, and staring at sales figures has little to do with judging the general perception of video games.

Getting All Artsy

It's pretty for sure, but does it really represent games?

Sales figures or no sales figures, another big problem when it comes to these debates has been that people seem to gravitate towards taking one video game or a handful of games and one or a few works from another entertainment medium, and claiming that they are all representative of the mediums that they come from. In fact back during the whole Roger Ebert “games as art” debate many were holding up games like Braid and Flower, and saying “This is why games are art”. In reality that particular debate was never about whether games are art to begin with, it was about whether games can be art, but if you are going after an argument that treats the medium as a whole you can’t just focus on your Braids and your Flowers, you also have to work out where games like Gears of War and Dead or Alive fit into the mix (not that there’s anything wrong with Gears of War or Dead or Alive), just like if movies are art, movie buffs have to figure out how films like Jackass and Troll 2 are to be treated (not that there’s anything wrong with Jackass). There is no one or two works in any medium which can be taken to represent the medium as a whole.

Not that I want to go too far down this rabbit hole but while I’m on the subject of games as art, one thing that seems to repeatedly go wrong in these discussions is people using the word “art” without ever explaining what they mean by it. Back when Ebert made his original post on the matter he rightfully wrote that a big hurdle in this discussion is finding an agreeable definition of the word art to begin with, and yet I’ve seen people arguing until they’re blue in the face about whether games are art, all the while never making it quite clear what they think art is.

Duder, It’s Over

Once again, thank you for reading, part 2 is coming next week and I look forward to reading your comments.

-Gamer_152

34 Comments
35 Comments
Posted by Gamer_152

For countless years now it seems that people have had an obsession with comparing video games to other entertainment mediums. How well video games hold up in comparison to other forms of entertainment has often been taken to be a measurement of how well video games are doing as a medium, but these kind of comparisons often come about with a myriad of problems behind them. So let’s take a look at where the video games vs. other entertainment mediums analyses too often fall apart.

Why Always Movies?

Far too often we end up only comparing video games to one other medium.

When video games do get compared to other entertainment mediums it seems that movies are the top candidate. In fact, unless we’re talking about the common games as art debates, it seems that almost every time, the entertainment medium which video games get compared to is movies. In one way it’s not that surprising to see this kind of comparison going on, after all they’re two of the world’s biggest entertainment industries, but it’s interesting just how rare it is to see video games compared to mediums apart from movies in the average discussion space.

People often pick movies as the material for their comparisons not just because movies are very popular, but also because it’s the easiest comparison to make; both games and movies use visuals, incorporate music, and often tell stories in at least a somewhat similar fashion, especially now that we’re increasingly seeing developers and publishers making the effort to make video games more like movies. The similarity between the two mediums is also only exacerbated for people who have a limited understanding of game mechanics.

This focus on comparing games against one other entertainment medium instead of all entertainment mediums is a very narrow-sighted way of trying to determine the relative success of video games, but this narrow-sightedness reflects the bigger problem of why many people make this kind of comparison to begin with. If you’ve seen games vs. movies debates on the internet before then you’re no doubt familiar with the fact that a lot of these debates are fuelled by people who just want to see their own opinion on which is the greatest entertainment medium validated by society as a whole. The logic is that if video games are the biggest medium or most popular medium, this means they’re the best medium.

Duelling Sales Figures

Financial comparisons between these two things are often unfortunately misled.

One common tactic to try and prove that video games come out on top in terms of entertainment, has been comparing profits or units/tickets sold of movies against those of games; however this usually leads to lots of misleading figures being presented. Sometimes when weighing the two up people will directly compare total money made from box office sales of a movie with the total money made from sales of a game. It must first be remembered in these instances that game prices can range from those of a simple iPhone game right up to those of AAA blockbusters. Of course in these comparisons AAA blockbusters are usually used, but this is far from fair when the price of a big-name game these days is many times that of a movie ticket. Comparing profits of movies against profits of games is also not a sensible means of comparison, as it is not only carries the flaw that looking at the total money made through sales does, but carries the extra glitch that it’s dependent on how much it cost to make the game or movie in the first place.

Even if you’re just talking about the number of tickets sold vs. the number of games sold the comparison still isn’t entirely apt though, as this does not account for sales of Blu-Rays, DVDs, or the streaming of movies. Even if you did include these figures, there’d be no telling how many people who bought the movie on-disc or streamed it were seeing it for the first time and how many had already seen it in cinemas. Add in the confusion that used sales, renting, and similar things bring to the mix and it becomes obvious that it’s a bit of a nightmare to actually work out which video games and which movies are doing better than each other financially.

Of course even if we can prove that video game sales measure up well against the competition, that’s far from the end of the story. Ignoring the ridiculous idea that if lots of people like video games that means they’re good (I think we can all agree that there’s a lot of popular things out there with a serious lack of quality), even if video games are collectively selling well that doesn’t tell us much about how the public perceive them, how much time they’re putting into their games or what kinds of games are selling. Obviously the reality of the situation is that video games have neither the status nor the audience that other big entertainment mediums have right now, and staring at sales figures has little to do with judging the general perception of video games.

Getting All Artsy

It's pretty for sure, but does it really represent games?

Sales figures or no sales figures, another big problem when it comes to these debates has been that people seem to gravitate towards taking one video game or a handful of games and one or a few works from another entertainment medium, and claiming that they are all representative of the mediums that they come from. In fact back during the whole Roger Ebert “games as art” debate many were holding up games like Braid and Flower, and saying “This is why games are art”. In reality that particular debate was never about whether games are art to begin with, it was about whether games can be art, but if you are going after an argument that treats the medium as a whole you can’t just focus on your Braids and your Flowers, you also have to work out where games like Gears of War and Dead or Alive fit into the mix (not that there’s anything wrong with Gears of War or Dead or Alive), just like if movies are art, movie buffs have to figure out how films like Jackass and Troll 2 are to be treated (not that there’s anything wrong with Jackass). There is no one or two works in any medium which can be taken to represent the medium as a whole.

Not that I want to go too far down this rabbit hole but while I’m on the subject of games as art, one thing that seems to repeatedly go wrong in these discussions is people using the word “art” without ever explaining what they mean by it. Back when Ebert made his original post on the matter he rightfully wrote that a big hurdle in this discussion is finding an agreeable definition of the word art to begin with, and yet I’ve seen people arguing until they’re blue in the face about whether games are art, all the while never making it quite clear what they think art is.

Duder, It’s Over

Once again, thank you for reading, part 2 is coming next week and I look forward to reading your comments.

-Gamer_152

Moderator
Posted by Ravenlight

@Gamer_152 said:

movie buffs have to figure out how films like Jackass and Troll 2 are to be treated (not that there’s anything wrong with Jackass)

I see what you did there ;)

Posted by Video_Game_King

Yea, going into what art is does seem to be going a bit into the rabbit hole. I can provide examples of what art isn't (even when we think that it is art), but I can't pin down what exactly comprises art. Perhaps being made for its own sake? That may be getting part of it, but not the whole.

Posted by Commisar123

I'm an art history and history major so I have some amount of experience ascribing to things the term art and questioning what art is. Everything from video games, to drawings by a five year old, and Monet are all art. Art is simply something somebody has created for you to experience. It doesn’t have to convey a message or be pretty or anything like that. I think video games are art without a doubt, but whether or not they are good art is entirely up to the individual experiencing them.

Edited by Dagbiker

The Fun To Boring ratio is, with video games, at least a 6 to 11CaM (or Six to eleven clowns a minute) movies are 3 to 7CaM, Books are 0.2 to 1CaM and Just for reference a Clown is 1 to 2CaM.

Posted by h0lgr

Fuck other entertainment.

Posted by Gamer_152

@Ravenlight: Gamer_152, layin' down sick burns!

@Video_Game_King: I'm not attempting to define art here, I'm just getting into the sort of mistakes people often make when entering the whole "games as art" debate. Personally I don't think saying what isn't art while failing to define art is really the way to go about it though. If we try to do this we're assessing things by vague thoughts and feelings as opposed to logical criteria and we end up with self-contradictory judgements and bad decisions.

@Commisar123: That's one definition, of course there are many others, but personally I prefer a similar definition to that one and find others largely unproductive to discussion.

@Dagbiker: I like.

@h0lgr: Also, the police.

Moderator
Posted by Soundwave123

I think the main issue with the Video Games vs. other entertainment is that Vs. It is not a case of who is the best, who is the winner. They all in many cases complement each other. I never hear anyone comparing a game to an album. Why? Because music complements a game, Just as pictures complement words in a comic. I don't know one person who has decided that games are the winner then goes on to only play games. We all read, play, look and read. Why can't we all just get along!

Posted by Insectecutor

Perhaps I live in a strange world and know strange people, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone compare a game to a movie unless they were trying to explain a game's atmosphere to someone. I always explain games to people from the player's perspective, ("you can do this/that") and maybe once or twice reach for some movie character to get the play style across, but I don't think I or any of my friends have ever literally compared game X to movie Y.

I'd hazard that the only people who actually do this seriously are analysts and marketing people, and their opinions are worth shit all to me. As you say in the article they compare the budgets and earnings of both media, but never the content.

Posted by badunov
@Gamer_152 said:

@Video_Game_King: I'm not attempting to define art here, I'm just getting into the sort of mistakes people often make when entering the whole "games as art" debate. Personally I don't think saying what isn't art while failing to define art is really the way to go about it though. If we try to do this we're assessing things by vague thoughts and feelings as opposed to logical criteria and we end up with self-contradictory judgements and bad decisions.

Art
noun
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
 
Since, as defined, art is based on aesthetic principles and aesthetic principles are subjective it does really come down to the thoughts and feelings a person has while experiencing the piece in question.
 
I do no mean to be an asshole when I drop a definition since most people that do are, however if we wish to lock down the strictest idea of what something is or isn't, the current applied meaning is what should be referenced.
 
My personal opinion is that some games are art and some aren't. Some have moved me to various levels of feeling and others elicited little more than a state of uncaring. Quite like when one walks in to a gallery and looks at a post-modern abstract expressionist piece such as something by Jackson Pollock versus a self portrait Renaissance piece by da Vinci.
 
How you feel when you walk out of the gallery in response to a certain piece determines whether or not you might consider something art.
 
At any rate, that's my humble opinion.  I look forward to part two.
Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

Interesting blog, and a topic that is fairly close to my heart.

I'm actually co-writing an article with a mate of mine (publisher pending) on the merit (or lack thereof) of games from a narrative perspective when compared to other mediums, which I think ties into the main thing people discuss in the games as art debate.

My friend is a literary author with a focus on the experimental, avant-garde fiction. I am more of a genre, pulpy writer. Both of us are gamers, although I'm definitely the more experienced in that field.

Anyway, while discussing writing this article and the way we'll put it together, the topic of interactivity as a story telling device came up.

Now my experience in the games as art debate is that many critics use the interactivity element as a criticism of the medium, with the argument that the player can interfere or subvert the original intention of the 'artist', rendering the scene pointless due to the main character teabagging the corpse of their dead wife (or whatever).

My argument was that that interactivity, in its own way, adds a substantial amount of artistic merit to something that, in an equivalent movie for example, would have next to no punch.

The example I used while we debated this point was No Russian from Modern Warfare 2. This game was dumb, about as lacking in narrative merit as the menu at McDonalds. This particular scene has been done to death (no pun intended) in countless movies (and books).

However, by putting the horrific act squarely into the hands of the player (especially with the end result) adds a level of (at least potential) punch to a scene that would otherwise be a farce in the context of what is the equivalent to a 1980s Chuck Norris movie. It certainly made me uncomfortable, and I was interested in my own attempts to laugh the scene off due to how wrong it felt to be gunning down innocent people in that context.

It made me think in a game that is the antithesis of thinking. That is something, to my mind, that no other artistic medium does in quite the same way.

Anyway I'm waffling, don't even know if this all made sense as I am typing on my phone instead of doing my work.

Look forward to reading more.

Posted by Gamer_152

Thanks guys, this last lot of feedback has been very interesting.

@Soundwave123: I agree that it shouldn't be a case of who is "the winner". The people who like to trumpet video games over other entertainment mediums never seem to really decide to only play video games and not consume other entertainment, but they're usually people who personally consider video games the best medium, consume video games far more than other entertainment, and wish to have their opinion validated on a grand scale. I disagree that the reason we don't see some entertainment mediums compared is because they compliment each other though, I think it's because it's hard to make certain comparisons. Like I said here movies and video games get commonly compared and elements of movies compliment those of video games very well. I mean cutscenes are movies in video games. When you look at music though, people find it hard to draw similarities between music and games, as they're largely different entertainment mediums, and so refrain from comparing them.

@Insectecutor: I wasn't really talking about financial people here, it goes without saying that they're only interested in figures. Although you may not have encountered it among friends there have been and still are a lot of video game fans and entertainment critics comparing games to movies.

@badunov: Yeah, I retract some of what I said there, you can totally assess some things through feelings, my point really though was that we still need criteria for assessment. It's no good staring at a painting and going "this is art" when you don't have any definition for art, it makes you assessment meaningless. Even if we are assessing something subjectively though we can say "This is art because it feels beautiful and refined enough to me" or "This is art because it speaks to me strongly on an emotional level".

@Tim_the_Corsair: I absolutely agree with your points, in fact what was so shocking to people about No Russian was the player involvement. Yeah, the naysayers of video games will argue that games have a fundamental weakness in that they give power to the player to ruin the experience for themselves, but you can also argue that other mediums have a weakness in their linearity and lack of audience inclusion.

Moderator
Posted by Doctorchimp

Yeah I also don't understand the comparisons between the actual industries.

What does sort of grind me though, and is an apt comparison in my opinion, is when you start talking about game stories compared to movies and books. After all a good story is a good story.

Video games really just don't have it yet. Yet I keep seeing people say "MOST AMAZING STORY" when talking about certain games, I just can't give credence to games about that.

That also has the effect that a very narrative driven game usually gets skipped over by me because more often than not I won't like it, and if I do play it then I'm stuck with a shitty story.

Alan Wake is a shining example of this.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy game stories sometimes. I find Mass Effect's universe just as much enthralling as Star Wars, Demon's Souls atmosphere is still amazing, Red Dead Redemption still had an amazing ending and The Elder Scrolls lore is still a bit of a head trip. Hell Half-Life 2 and Bioshock are two of my favorite games because they put the game structure to good use to tell a story.

But these games don't make the plot shoulder the entire burden of entertaining you.

Posted by Jay444111

Ehh.. don't try and put video games even near movies, video games are far too good to even be seen around the movie industry anymore... espicially judging by current standards of movies and video games. Movies have ALOT of growing up to do just to try and reach video games anymore. Hell, playing through FF7 yesterday a bit, That game is still a damn classic, watching avatar, a barely 1 year movie and I can't stand it. (although Dawn of the Dead by george remero is still awesome, but that was when he actually had talent.)

Over all, in my opinion, and just the sheer amount of great video games that NEED to come out compared to the movies industries crappy movies that WANT to come out. At least video games take hard work to actually make and produce unlike movies, with video games, you gotta be certain you are making and ACE video game due to how review run our industry is. unlike movies where even the smurfs movie can get back all of its money in a day no matter reviews.

This creates compitition and thus creates great quality driven entertainment other then wanting to do it, they HAVE to.

Video games are easily better then movies in terms of nearly everything they do nowadays. Great time to play video games.

Posted by badunov

@Gamer_152: I do agree that definitions for art are specious. I guess it is a philosophical debate that may not have a correct answer, at least as long as humans are dictating what the meaning is.

@Doctorchimp said:

Yeah I also don't understand the comparisons between the actual industries.

What does sort of grind me though, and is an apt comparison in my opinion, is when you start talking about game stories compared to movies and books. After all a good story is a good story.

Video games really just don't have it yet. Yet I keep seeing people say "MOST AMAZING STORY" when talking about certain games, I just can't give credence to games about that.

That also has the effect that a very narrative driven game usually gets skipped over by me because more often than not I won't like it, and if I do play it then I'm stuck with a shitty story.

Alan Wake is a shining example of this.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy game stories sometimes. I find Mass Effect's universe just as much enthralling as Star Wars, Demon's Souls atmosphere is still amazing, Red Dead Redemption still had an amazing ending and The Elder Scrolls lore is still a bit of a head trip. Hell Half-Life 2 and Bioshock are two of my favorite games because they put the game structure to good use to tell a story.

But these games don't make the plot shoulder the entire burden of entertaining you.

I agree with you on essentially all points. I think a big reason people are apt to oversell the merit of a story is simply growing up with the quality of entertainment being put out nowadays. I would argue that it is significantly poorer, at least for the most part. There are still fantastic storytellers out there you just don't see their work being peddled or supported. (That may be changing with the, at one time, frowned upon self-publishing boom we are seeing through avenues like CreateSpace).

I think people are just more accustomed to an instant gratification mentality that results in a lack of patience and even taste.

Posted by iam3green

people can't really compare the two type of stuff. they are kind of different in entertainment because of one you watch and the other one you use your mind. 
 
on a different note, video games are entertaining and distracting at times. one time friends were making plans to go see a movie. we played video games all night and like two hours later realize that we missed the movie. we ending up laughing and still played the video game.

Posted by Doctorchimp

@Jay444111 said:

Ehh.. don't try and put video games even near movies, video games are far too good to even be seen around the movie industry anymore... espicially judging by current standards of movies and video games. Movies have ALOT of growing up to do just to try and reach video games anymore. Hell, playing through FF7 yesterday a bit, That game is still a damn classic, watching avatar, a barely 1 year movie and I can't stand it. (although Dawn of the Dead by george remero is still awesome, but that was when he actually had talent.)

Over all, in my opinion, and just the sheer amount of great video games that NEED to come out compared to the movies industries crappy movies that WANT to come out. At least video games take hard work to actually make and produce unlike movies, with video games, you gotta be certain you are making and ACE video game due to how review run our industry is. unlike movies where even the smurfs movie can get back all of its money in a day no matter reviews.

This creates compitition and thus creates great quality driven entertainment other then wanting to do it, they HAVE to.

Video games are easily better then movies in terms of nearly everything they do nowadays. Great time to play video games.

Case in point.

What was the last movie you saw? Do you go to the theater?

Or did you just watch Transformers and go "LOL Hollywood.

Edited by Jay444111

@Doctorchimp said:

@Jay444111 said:

Ehh.. don't try and put video games even near movies, video games are far too good to even be seen around the movie industry anymore... espicially judging by current standards of movies and video games. Movies have ALOT of growing up to do just to try and reach video games anymore. Hell, playing through FF7 yesterday a bit, That game is still a damn classic, watching avatar, a barely 1 year movie and I can't stand it. (although Dawn of the Dead by george remero is still awesome, but that was when he actually had talent.)

Over all, in my opinion, and just the sheer amount of great video games that NEED to come out compared to the movies industries crappy movies that WANT to come out. At least video games take hard work to actually make and produce unlike movies, with video games, you gotta be certain you are making and ACE video game due to how review run our industry is. unlike movies where even the smurfs movie can get back all of its money in a day no matter reviews.

This creates compitition and thus creates great quality driven entertainment other then wanting to do it, they HAVE to.

Video games are easily better then movies in terms of nearly everything they do nowadays. Great time to play video games.

Case in point.

What was the last movie you saw? Do you go to the theater?

Or did you just watch Transformers and go "LOL Hollywood.

Alot of movies actually, my favorite being last years Inception. To be quite honest however, I hate going to the movie theater, not because it isn't awesome, which it can be, but because I would rather spend that 30 extra buckss (compared to a 10 dollar ticket+food) on netflix when the movie comes out on it the next month. Oh, and the certian fact that I can also spend it and very high quality video games, having better story, and overall just worth my damn time really.

I USED to care about the movie industry, but after raping every single thing they touch for the past 10 years, I am done defending them. they deserve to crash and burn and never come back up. They fucked up WWZ. they deserve what they sow.

Also, are you the same doctorchimp on gamefaqs, if so, that would explain alot...

Posted by Gamer_152

@Doctorchimp: I'll be getting more into narrative in games in part 2 but I think people often rate video game stories far above what they deserve as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these guys who's constantly treating games as the target of their rage because I don't think the stories are up to scratch, and there are a lot of narrative-driven games I love, I just think that on the whole they have a fair way to go before they can measure up to mediums like books and movies in terms of narrative.

@Jay444111: This is exactly the kind of elitism which makes gamers look bad. If you really think the movie industry is that much worse than games then okay, and while it's a very bold statement if you think movies generally have worse stories than video games then fine, but don't make ridiculous statements like "video games take hard work to actually make and produce unlike movies". I'm not sure quite what you mean by certain movies "wanting" to come out and certain games "needing" to come out, but I can assure you that the games industry is not dominated by how well games review. For one thing there have been games that have reviewed extremely well but only received a niche audience, and games that have reviewed not that well but sold surprisingly well, but for another thing you really think every gamer out there is keeping that close an eye on reviews?

Out of all the people who bought a Wii mini-game collection, continue to buy Halo and CoD, or picked up Angry Birds on their iPhone I doubt a huge majority of them read the reviews, sales of games like these are undoubtedly impacted through good marketing, word of mouth and people being comfortable with familiar things, and while the movie industry may have more of a problem of sloppy sequels and being steeped in its own business-centric nonsense, you cannot deny that this is something that is having a big effect on games as well. The thing that really troubles me though is that you say that because you personally don't like the movies being made right now, the entire industry should crash and burn, do you really believe that?

@badunov: I see it more as a semantic debate. Really, I don't think we'll find a single answer to the question of "what is art?", I just think it's important to make it clear in individual interactions that our definitions are.

@iam3green: I'm afraid I don't quite agree. In the case of both movies and games you're engaging your brain and watching something, the similarities and differences between the two are more detailed than that. I think there's definitely room for a lot of comparison between the two though. Additionally, while games can be distracting, so can anything you enjoy.

Moderator
Posted by Brendan

This blog is all those little things I've thought about, wrapped up in a well worded blog. Nice work :)

Posted by Jay444111

@Gamer_152 said:

@Doctorchimp: I'll be getting more into narrative in games in part 2 but I think people often rate video game stories far above what they deserve as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these guys who's constantly treating games as the target of their rage because I don't think the stories are up to scratch, and there are a lot of narrative-driven games I love, I just think that on the whole they have a fair way to go before they can measure up to mediums like books and movies in terms of narrative.

@Jay444111: This is exactly the kind of elitism which makes gamers look bad. If you really think the movie industry is that much worse than games then okay, and while it's a very bold statement if you think movies generally have worse stories than video games then fine, but don't make ridiculous statements like "video games take hard work to actually make and produce unlike movies". I'm not sure quite what you mean by certain movies "wanting" to come out and certain games "needing" to come out, but I can assure you that the games industry is not dominated by how well games review. For one thing there have been games that have reviewed extremely well but only received a niche audience, and games that have reviewed not that well but sold surprisingly well, but for another thing you really think every gamer out there is keeping that close an eye on reviews?

Out of all the people who bought a Wii mini-game collection, continue to buy Halo and CoD, or picked up Angry Birds on their iPhone I doubt a huge majority of them read the reviews, sales of games like these are undoubtedly impacted through good marketing, word of mouth and people being comfortable with familiar things, and while the movie industry may have more of a problem of sloppy sequels and being steeped in its own business-centric nonsense, you cannot deny that this is something that is having a big effect on games as well. The thing that really troubles me though is that you say that because you personally don't like the movies being made right now, the entire industry should crash and burn, do you really believe that?

@badunov: I see it more as a semantic debate. Really, I don't think we'll find a single answer to the question of "what is art?", I just think it's important to make it clear in individual interactions that our definitions are.

@iam3green: I'm afraid I don't quite agree. In the case of both movies and games you're engaging your brain and watching something, the similarities and differences between the two are more detailed than that. I think there's definitely room for a lot of comparison between the two though. Additionally, while games can be distracting, so can anything you enjoy.

First off, Doctorchimp is a very big pessimist, and honestly, saying video games aren't a good medium as movies or books is just immature and foolish in this day and age, hell, no movie has ever made me cry, NONE, but the video game RDR did THREE TIMES that I REPLAYED IT! Honestly, other mediums should be catching up to us.

Also, What I meant about the movie industry not taking any hard work, I truly do mean this, just looking at the video game industry work ethics and honestly, people who say making movies is hard has not seen what the work ethic is to make video games. It also REQUIRES actual talent to get into videogame as a industry, just looking at any documentory just shows you this.

Also, all you have to do in order to make a movie is by wanting it to be made, whether it is good or not is decided when it comes out to the masses who then get dissapointed due to the huge amount of crap movies always coming out. While with video games, it is basically necassary to make it good from the get go, or fix it so it is. Most movie makers don't care about fixing previous mistakes and will not admit to them, video game makers do all the time and admit when something isn't good.

oh, and it takes 1 to 2 years at most to make a movie. of any quality, it takes 4 to 5 for video games. Thus it is NEEDED to be a good for the company to survive.

Besides, video games are pretty much run on reviews and word of mouth. Game sites are bigger then you make them out to be, hell, gamefaqs is HUGE in terms of users and viewcounts. Not just to gamers. The FAQs and the user reviews are seen from everyone. Same with sources like IGN and game informer. Saying it isn't a quality driven medium is just denying the fact that it truly is.

Also, no hell in human way is video games even near the level of business crap that movies are anymore. I would rather play COD22 then watch another movie off of a old cartoon series most kids don't even know about anymore. At least COD series has a consistently average to good story, and a good 95% of video game sequals are actually just as or better then the first, something unheard of in the movie industry.

Also, it should crash and burn, they have literally destroyed my childhood one by one, raped indiana jones, destroyed actual emotion within their own films. I gotta be honest, they deserve to crash and burn for all the crap they do without learning. It's like a drug user, make an example of one the others will learn.

Posted by Gamer_152

@Brendan: Thank you very much.

@Jay444111:

"First off, Doctorchimp is a very big pessimist"

I don't think that word really applies in this context. A pessimist is someone who expects bad things to happen in the future, DoctorChimp was saying that video games are generally lacking in story.

"saying video games aren't a good medium as movies or books is just immature and foolish in this day and age"

So someone without your exact tastes is childish and dumb?

"no movie has ever made me cry, NONE, but the video game RDR did THREE TIMES that I REPLAYED IT!"

This kind of experience with movies and video games is rather rare but if that's how you feel then okay, although I feel we're once again edging dangerously close to the position of using one work to represent an entire medium.

"What I meant about the movie industry not taking any hard work, I truly do mean this, just looking at the video game industry work ethics and honestly, people who say making movies is hard has not seen what the work ethic is to make video games"

There are certainly some people in the movie industry who seem like they've just showed up to collect a paycheck but a lot of people working in movies today are passionate and put in a whole lot of effort when it comes to contributing to their craft. Huge, critically acclaimed films don't get made by people sitting around on their backsides all day. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean that people don't put a lot of work into it.

"It also REQUIRES actual talent to get into videogame as a industry"

And acting in, directing, producing, writing for, or doing any of the other jobs for a movie don't?

"all you have to do in order to make a movie is by wanting it to be made, whether it is good or not is decided when it comes out to the masses who then get dissapointed due to the huge amount of crap movies always coming out"

Movies get made because people fund them because they think they'll sell well. You can't will a movie into existence and there are plenty of independent film makers right now who would love to be able to put hard work and effort into making a film but just can't get funding because it wouldn't be mainstream enough. As for the masses being continually disappointed with films, not only does this seem to be far from the case with what I've read but if they are constantly disappointed, why do they keep paying for movies in such large numbers?

"Most movie makers don't care about fixing previous mistakes and will not admit to them, video game makers do all the time and admit when something isn't good."

Okay, this is a genuinely interesting point, you see people making games admitting to mistakes a lot more than people making movies but I think there's a reason for this that's specific to video games. When you're dealing with gameplay in sequels you often take the gameplay from your first game, make a new iteration and fix old problems, it is when game companies are showing off sequels that you will most often hear them talking about what went wrong and what they're fixing in their games. Movies don't work on this kind of iterative pattern, their crux is story and sequels aren't about creating new iterations of the original, they're about taking the world and characters of the original and making an entirely new plot and dialogue. I think this difference between what you hear coming from film makers and what you hear coming from game makers is less about the reality of the situation and more about good PR.

"oh, and it takes 1 to 2 years at most to make a movie. of any quality, it takes 4 to 5 for video games. Thus it is NEEDED to be a good for the company to survive."

Your numbers are off but the quality of a video game is not directly proportional to the money it makes. If it is then why is Persona 4 left as a niche title while Duke Nukem Forever actually sells? Why do indie games receive little mainstream recognition while developers are able to make crappy Wii mini-game collections which sell like hot cakes? Why did Enslaved sell poorly while Activision can make a new FIFA and Madden every year with only minor changes and they still sell very well? It must also be remembered that while many video games take longer to make than movies, they're also sold for a lot more than movies.

"Besides, video games are pretty much run on reviews and word of mouth. Game sites are bigger then you make them out to be, hell, gamefaqs is HUGE in terms of users and viewcounts. Not just to gamers. The FAQs and the user reviews are seen from everyone. Same with sources like IGN and game informer. Saying it isn't a quality driven medium is just denying the fact that it truly is."

If video games basically run on reviews and word of mouth why the million-pound marketing campaigns? I didn't actually say anything about how big games sites are, I just said that they didn't rule the industry as you suggested. I'm sort of repeating myself here but you really think that every casual gamer or the guy that buys the new CoD, Madden and maybe another game or two are glued to the review sites? Also, why on Earth would non-gamers visit game websites and what baring would it have on the quality of games if they're not buying them anyway? Overall though, I think most of this was covered in my last statement.

"Also, no hell in human way is video games even near the level of business crap that movies are anymore. I would rather play COD22 then watch another movie off of a old cartoon series most kids don't even know about anymore. At least COD series has a consistently average to good story, and a good 95% of video game sequals are actually just as or better then the first, something unheard of in the movie industry."

I'm not sure if the two subjects in this paragraph are supposed to be related but they're really different issues. I really can't agree with you that video games are that divorced from business. I will concede that video games have an inherent advantage over story-based mediums in that because of gameplay iteration sequels can be more easily match up too or be better than the original. As I said though, this is something inherent, and is not reflective of how much effort is being put in.

"Also, it should crash and burn, they have literally destroyed my childhood one by one, raped indiana jones, destroyed actual emotion within their own films. I gotta be honest, they deserve to crash and burn for all the crap they do without learning. It's like a drug user, make an example of one the others will learn."

This is hyperbole and you know it. They have not literally destroyed your childhood, they have not literally destroyed emotions and Indiana Jones has never been raped outside the fictional world of South Park. They provided you with an entertainment medium that you found disappointing, they didn't murder anyone, and however you may feel, that's you, there are masses of people out there who still enjoy movies and the movie industry thrives because they support it. As for the drug user analogy, I really don't think that works. Firstly, you don't help drug users by telling another drug user they deserve to die, secondly, you help drug users learn because it's the right thing to do. What  message is "making an example" of the movie industry supposed to send? That any industry which doesn't produce work that Jay444111 enjoys is supposed to fail?

Moderator
Posted by Doctorchimp

@Gamer_152: As much as you taking apart his argument line by line was entertaining, it was sort of apparent he didn't know what he was talking about when I asked what the last movie he saw was and he responded with "my favorite's Inception" and he hates going to the theater

Like that's fine, he's not a movie buff and he doesn't casually go to theaters. So everything he has to say about the movie industry can't be taken seriously. But there are just so many people that regularly go to the theaters (myself included) and see great films made by people who do in fact care.

The problem is when he doesn't know that, he doesn't watch that many movies and he mostly plays games as a hobby. That's when the measuring stick disappears and you can't really compare mediums if you don't know enough about the other one.

That's where your problem with the gamer comes right? They just spout off and they sound like lunatics.

Posted by Jay444111

@Doctorchimp: Having to reply to you like this for the fact that I personally don't like walls of text myself and don't want a huge wall of quotes. I will skip past the doctorchimp thing.

1st point, Video games have proven themselves, not just this gen, but even last gen, and even the gen before that with old PC games, about fucking time they get respect for the great stories they deviliver for once instead of being ignored.

2nd, Saddest I have ever felt about a movie is in saving private ryan and the scene where the guy got shot before they captured that one nazi guy. That is one of the few moments in movies I thought was sad, but not cry worthy, RDR's ending was one of them. Or, hell, Majora's mask is FILLED with moments like this. Honestly, how can people find a movie sad is my question? I mean, it is only a 2 hour movie where a video game can be spent for 50 damn hours and far more character development happens, it's like comparing a book to a movie, the book is always better.(AKA book being video game in this equation.)

3rd, Judging by the fact that most of the damn work in the movie industry is only worked in the CGI artist rooms anymore, anyone these days can make a movie without any skill and can get any studio to make them pay them money to make crap. happens all the damn time, sure there are a couple VERY RARE good movies a year, but it is getting so fewer with every year, that I am surprised people still go to movie theaters anymore. Why watch a newer crappy movie when you can play a high quality video game that is more worth your money.

4th point. Goerge lucas's sheer existence proves that writers don't get paid enough or have enough jobs in the movie industry. Acting is just pretending, all you gotta do to be good is not look at the camera and have a good voice and a good look... that is it.

5th, THEY ARE MAKING A BATTLESHIP MOVIE!!!! sorry for caps, but... they are not looking at the masses for good ideas, they are just buying the cheapest crap they can and hoping to make a return profit. Also the fact that most people who go to movie theaters anymore are the type of teenagers that are willing to stomach alvin and the chipmunks 3... there is no hope for the industry. None at all.

6th, Then those PR guys are smarter then the entirety of the movie industry then.

7th point, Duke nukem is pretty much a joke buy, and everyone who got it knew it, besides, atlus only releases a small number of copies to america and such, but it still sells extremely well even today on amazon. Also, enslaved didn't sell well because the ads were crap, same with anything other then COD when it comes to activision, all you have to have is marketing. THAT IS IT. Just that video games are insanely competitive and this tends to happen to a couple games a year. even to the triple AAA games such as alan wake. oh, and how many people own duke nukem right now? Not much, most people just sold the POS as soon as they beat it.

Also, to the main point, the sheer fact that video games can take a near decade to make just shows that the work hours every day must be intense, and if something goes wrong, it is very possible quite a bit of hours are lost. with todays video games, it takes over 200 people to make gears of war or even something like Deus Ex HR, Thus the more people work on it, the more polish there is. Along with the fact that video games are constantly tested just shows the certain fact that video games are just a plain more polished medium then movies. I wish movies were 1% as good as video games these days, they then may have been worth existing then.

8th, Seananners... search his youtube, if it wasn't for his youtube playthrough of Minecraft, there wouldn't have been such a huge word of mouth bonfire for the game, all it takes is ONE famous youtuber to create a word of mouth type thing for a video game... if you want more proof, look at deadly premonition... this site helped it's sales very easily. same with destructiod.

9th, okay, we won't talk abou the business stuff, but I do agree with the sequel stuff.

10th point, Go to Montana, there was a HUGE epidemic of meth users showing up and do you know how we stopped kids from trying it. we got one of the repeat offenders and made them an example. Showing how horrible a life it is on meth, the samn can be used for movies, they are diseased, anyone inside or outside the medium can see that, we should make an example of the movie industry for other mediums to NEVER follow. They have made so many mistakes, have literally destroyed the thought of making a good adaption from another medium and continues to reward no talent, if that is not diseased, I don't know what is. also the shear amount of low quality movies coming out anymore is just... sad. at least for garbage wii games, they were probably made with more intelligence then most movies out anymore. Hell, even a game like EDF2017 has a smarter plot then alot of movies anymore. Only way to fix such a crap industry is by purgin ALL OF IT and just begin again. Hoping that would fix things. Maybe it would, maybe it won't. But I do believe in second chances.

Also, I loved movies as a kid, cartoons, all that, but todays movies... they have failed completely, there still hasn't been a great animated filmt to beat Secret of NIMH yet. Which I do doubt will ever happen just for the fact that most kids movies are based on completely canceled and destroyed shows from the 80's to late 90's which are better then the movies they are making today. Also the fact that they are having to make a BATTLESHIP movie these days just shows they have run out of ideas completely. Such a sad medium, it won't be missed by history.

Posted by frondoni

@Jay444111: I think you might be drastically overstating the accomplishments of video game narratives due to person experience. You also seem to hate movies. A lot. Maybe movies killed your parents and kidnapped your sister, who knows.

Games remain a fairly niche medium because they are expensive and largely designed for young adult males. That's a bit reductive but its also true; in Red Dead Redemption, the game you say moved you to tears numerous times, the protagonist murders thousands of men. Thousands. The vast majority of the game, essentially every time the player gains control, is a primarily male power fantasy based around death and murder. Its no True Grit.

This flaw is endemic to the medium. Virtually every modern video game wishing to have some greater narrative significance is undone by its need to exaggerate the protagonist's combat abilities and subsequent deadliness. That's why Soap could slaughter armies of Russians until The Main Bad Man crashed his car. Then it hurt.

Its only a matter of time until games move on from this stage. But for now, claims like, "other mediums should be catching up to us" just don't have weight.

@Gamer_152: As for the article, I thought it was fairly well written. The first section struggled ton convince me; video games really don't have much in common with any other medium. Its not as much narrow-sighted as it is practical.

Posted by Gamer_152
@Doctorchimp: He did say that, but he also said that he's seen a lot of movies. I was giving Jay the benefit of the doubt and still am but if this continues to go the way it is, I might break off the conversation. I'm totally aware that lots of people do go to the cinema regularly and like what they see, and that lots of people who make movies are really passionate about what they do, that's exactly what I said to Jay, but unfortunately it seems to have been a little lost. I wouldn't say that spouting off about a bunch of stuff they don't really know about is my problem with gamers, I'd just say it's one of my problems with certain types of gamers.
 
@Jay444111: I'm assuming that last reply was meant to be directed at me and not Doctorchimp. As you didn't like the format of my last post I'll try and keep this one more to-the-point. 
 
  • I fear that Doctorchimp may be correct that your views come from a certain lack of experience with movies but as I said to him I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assume you know what you're talking about. None the less I'm a bit worried that we don't really seem to be making much headway in this debate, for one thing you seem to be cherry-picking which of my rebuttals you want to reply to and which you don't.
  • You hate the movie industry, I don't, I think we've pretty much got this part covered but again, most people don't hate the movie industry, I think you're projecting your own views onto others.
  • A game can be 50 hours but they very rarely are, that's usually multiple times the length of a game. Even so, the large majority of time in a game isn't concerned with character development or plot exposition, it's concerned with gameplay.
  • The idea that most of the work in the movie industry now is done by CGI artists is silly. Even if it was though it seems like that would take some serious degree of skill, wouldn't it? If it doesn't then why are movie CGI artists any less skilled or hard-working than modellers or artists on games? As established though, no movie studios are out there just throwing their money at whoever wants a film.
  • Writer's pay may be a viable point but what's the proposed solution to a lack of writing jobs? Let more people write movies for the sake of it?
  • I think your statement about acting is unbelievably ridiculous. Do you genuinely think if you had a new voice and new looks that you could match up the greatest actors of the film industry?
  • Again, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Battleships may look to be insufferable crap but you can't take these to represent the industry or be representative of what the majority want to see at cinemas.
  • Well I wasn't talking about PR guys, I was talking about devs but like I said, it's not a matter of one being smarter than the other, it's something you can do with games which you simply cannot do with movies.
  • I don't think there's really a whole lot of evidence for every DNF purchase being a joke buy.
  • You know why Atlus only released a small number of Persona 4 copies to the U.S? Because they knew they couldn't sell a ton of copies in the U.S. It may have sold surprisingly well on Amazon but I think "extremely well" is an exaggeration, that's still a niche game.
  • I've made my position clear on why I think games sell, but you've gone from saying that reviews rule the industry, to reviews and word of mouth rule the industry, to marketing ruling the industry, before going back to saying word of mouth has a massive impact. Which is it?
  • Movies are financially an enormous industry, I assure you that they're very competitive too.
  • People trade in a lot of bad games, the point was that people bought games like DNF in the first place.
  • It's not as simple as "more man hours go into video games so they're better". Video games inherently take much longer to make than movies. Films don't need programming or art assets to all be made from the ground up, or anything like that. Games may get more QA testing, but again this is due to their very nature as a medium rather than people being more concerned about their quality, a lot of movies do get test screenings though.
  • Seananners was not the sole creator of the Minecraft craze, he may have contributed to it's sales but that one man did not push 3 million units.
  • Deadly Premonition sold very poorly but overall I think it genuinely was quite a low quality game. Giant Bomb and Destructoid may have helped sales a little, but not to any degree that was hugely significant.
  • Okay, with the drug users analogy you appeared at first to be talking about making an example of one addict to cure other addicts, if we're talking about kids that's a little different, but to repeat myself there are a lot of people out there who love movies, they would be missed by history.
  • Let's be honest here, we all love stuff we saw/played as a kid but nostalgia isn't a great measuring tool for quality.
  • Again, I don't wish to insult but I also don't wish to lie, your responses are indicative of someone with a poor understanding of film as a medium, to some degree a poor understanding of video games as a medium, and a lack of knowledge about peoples beliefs on the two. Please prove me wrong. If you're just going to make ridiculous off-the-wall statements and ignore some of my points there's only so far this debate can go.
@frondoni: I disagree but thanks for the feedback.
Moderator
Posted by frondoni

@Gamer_152: You certainly have a lot of patience here in writing this point-by-point rebuttal to Jay, but I'm not sure a post filled with hyperbole and with such a loose grasp on the truth deserves the time.

Posted by MonetaryDread

OP. You want to know why games get compared to other mediums all the time? It probably has to do with how games present stories, or more fittingly, the only way games tend to tell a story is by stealing what they learned from other mediums. This is an extreme example, but I am reminded of Metal Gear Solid 4 and its ending. How long did that last? It had to be somewhere around ninety minutes of having my controller in my lap watching what are essentially actors being filmed with proper blocking and cinematography. That game is at least sixty percent, what I consider to be, film.

How about Bioshock? That's just a radio drama. How about other games like Braid, or Planescape Torment? Their story is told using walls of text that, although helping to create a greater tale, is essentially just reading a novel.

I'm sure people are screaming at my post now about games like Half-Life 2 (I made it through ep 1 and was indifferent enough that I haven't even bothered to install ep2 yet) epand how it revolutionized story in games but I disagree. Sure you have control of a character, but the story is almost always told by two people standing in a room and talking, in a situation where you have nothing to do but sit there and listen for a couple of minutes. The player has no real agency, so it always end up with me finding a good spot then taking my hands off the keyboard and mouse while these two dolts that I don't care about speak. Essentially I am just watching a regular old cut scene, the only difference between this game and Metal Gear is that I am stuck watching in first person.

Enough of my rambling though, basically games keep being compared to other entertainment because they keep falling back on another mediums storytelling methods instead of creating their own.

Edited by badunov

@Jay444111: A lot of vitriol for the movie industry there, I see.

Speaking as someone who has actually worked in the movie industry (both above the line and below) I can say for certain that simple desire to see your movie made will not guarantee a showing on the silver screen. Even a minor film festival, of virtually all amateurs with regards to the directors, screenwriters and sundry other above the line talent, that I worked on required dozens of individuals on each selected short. And each short was under ten minutes long.

Movies are not easy to make, even the ones which outsource essentially all of the visual effects to digital studios. As well, there is a large amount of overlap with special effects people who work on both movies and games.

Ask any of the folks with hundreds of thousands of subscribers who do recurring shorts on youtube if they just pick up a camera and shoot. Making even three to four minute long shorts, they garnered many times more minutes of footage than used in the final product. And that was just the production, not pre or post-production.

Hell, ask the guys here at GB how much time they spend working on even the "off-the-cuff" videos.

I will agree that quality of entertainment has suffered greatly over the past decade but that is not because there are not willing or able creative individuals. They simply aren't the people making the decision to approve a movie for production, lawyers and businessmen, almost always, are.

Posted by Gamer_152
@frondoni: Like I said to Jay, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he's just a bit misinformed. I generally like to give my commenters as much attention as they give me but if it looks like Jay can't be reasoned with I'll break off the conversation.
 
@MonetaryDread: I think games get compared to other entertainment mediums because some people who are into entertainment find it interesting, others want to prove video games are the greatest medium and others just want to learn more about what place video games have among other entertainment. I think to say that comparing video games to other mediums is all about storytelling is very reductionist. When video games do take storytelling methods or really anything from any other entertainment medium I wouldn't call it stealing, the way entertainment and just about all human works evolve is by borrowing from other mediums. I'm sure there was a time where you could have argued that film stole from books in some ways. That being said I still think video games have a way to go in figuring out how exactly they are to effectively tell stories.
 
Of course cutscenes in games are basically films but Bioshock isn't a radio drama and Braid isn't a book. The way these games use visuals, audience interaction and sound completely separates them from these other entertainment mediums. In fact a big part of why Braid is a notable game is because it used its story in a way that basically no game or other piece of entertainment before it did. It has those big text dumps between levels, but the mechanics in the levels themselves act as a metaphor for elements in the story, allowing the player to experience them very differently than they otherwise would.
 
With Half-Life 2 the whole point of the way it did story was that by not using cutscenes it managed to make the sections of story-exposition feel more real and more integrated into the rest of the game. With cutscenes, they usually use pre-rendered video or up-ressed models to do what they do or at very least insist on detaching the player from the protagonist so that they can take control of the camera. Half-Life 2 was able to provide less of a jarring transition between story and gameplay moments, and make those story moments feel more "real".
 
@badunov: Thank you. Good to see the input from someone who actually worked in the movie industry here.
Moderator
Posted by Insectecutor
@Gamer_152

Thanks guys, this last lot of feedback has been very interesting.

@Soundwave123: I agree that it shouldn't be a case of who is "the winner". The people who like to trumpet video games over other entertainment mediums never seem to really decide to only play video games and not consume other entertainment, but they're usually people who personally consider video games the best medium, consume video games far more than other entertainment, and wish to have their opinion validated on a grand scale. I disagree that the reason we don't see some entertainment mediums compared is because they compliment each other though, I think it's because it's hard to make certain comparisons. Like I said here movies and video games get commonly compared and elements of movies compliment those of video games very well. I mean cutscenes are movies in video games. When you look at music though, people find it hard to draw similarities between music and games, as they're largely different entertainment mediums, and so refrain from comparing them.

@Insectecutor: I wasn't really talking about financial people here, it goes without saying that they're only interested in figures. Although you may not have encountered it among friends there have been and still are a lot of video game fans and entertainment critics comparing games to movies.

@badunov: Yeah, I retract some of what I said there, you can totally assess some things through feelings, my point really though was that we still need criteria for assessment. It's no good staring at a painting and going "this is art" when you don't have any definition for art, it makes you assessment meaningless. Even if we are assessing something subjectively though we can say "This is art because it feels beautiful and refined enough to me" or "This is art because it speaks to me strongly on an emotional level".

@Tim_the_Corsair: I absolutely agree with your points, in fact what was so shocking to people about No Russian was the player involvement. Yeah, the naysayers of video games will argue that games have a fundamental weakness in that they give power to the player to ruin the experience for themselves, but you can also argue that other mediums have a weakness in their linearity and lack of audience inclusion.

Sorry for the megaquote but I'm using the mobile site and can't edit...

Have to disagree. The industries are frequently compared by pundits but the gaming press and people who play games know that comparing the content of both media is senseless. One is passive, the other active.

I don't agree that it's wrong to compare the game and movie industries, they're both entertainment industries with rapidly converging distribution methods and sizes, and I don't accept your assertion that people are constantly comparing the content of movies and games. If they are that sounds like an interesting read.
Posted by Gamer_152
@Insectecutor: Perhaps we've just had different online experiences. Firstly, I don't think comparing the two mediums is by default a mistake, I just think that the motivations behind these comparisons are often misguided and that people often go the wrong way about doing it. Secondly, I do not think comparing the content of video games and other entertainment mediums is by default senseless, I think it's interesting and there's genuinely a lot to learn from it, if we go about it in the right way. Lastly, I'm not saying everyone's constantly comparing mediums but I have seen a fair bit of discussion over the internet relating to games vs. other mediums, especially when centred around the "games as art" debate which as you'll know doubt remember exploded not too long ago with the whole Ebert fiasco.
Moderator
Posted by CptChiken

@Gamer_152: Just like to say that I am massively impressed with how interesting and thoughtful your blog was, I wish I could think of something worth while to write about and had skills required to be able to write a interesting and engaging blog as you have and as do a handful of other bloggers on this website.

Look forward to the next parts.

Posted by Gamer_152
@CptChiken: Thank you very much. If you want to get good at blogging yourself, believe me, if you just keep playing games and practising writing you'll get there eventually.
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Posted by Video_Game_King
@Gamer_152 said:
@CptChiken: Thank you very much. If you want to get good at blogging yourself, believe me, if you just keep playing games and practising writing you'll get there eventually.
It also helps if you post it to the forums, so people can point out the very specific ways in which you suck. That's one step that a lot of people tend to neglect, even though it's probably one of the more important steps.