Why Do Movie Games Fail?

Is it because of unalterable deadlines? Is it because the best companies don't take these kinds of contracts? Is it because truly good movies don't get licensed to game publishers? Maybe. However, I tend to think the real answer is far more complicated.

At one point or another every person has heard or thought the following: "It's OK, but not anywhere near as good as the original". Despite the "matter of factness" presented by this commonplace critique, no amount of factual information presented can rule out an individual's bias. Even celebrated critics fall prey to what is undeniably human nature. So let's take a moment to analyze what this quote truly means.

What I believe (insert my own bias) is that no matter how well an adaptation is executed, there are things that fans of the original medium will dislike simply because nothing can be as good as one's own imagination. The way we perceive the world is entirely dependent on past experiences. For example, if I read a book, imagine what all the characters look like, envision all their epic struggles, and then see a film adapted from the book I read, some things are bound to not match up. When we are given the power to fill in the gaps, we do it in such a way that is most appealing to us. This of course is dependent on on things such as our likes, dislikes, and personality.

With this insight in mind, think about the shift in medium from film to video game. The first thing to note is that the medium of interaction is completely different. In games, it's important that players have some level of control over the progression of the story and how evens unfold. This is not true in film. So in order to satisfy this need for influence on environment or plot, certain aspects of the original become skewed or transformed into something that the original author hadn't intended. The more this happens, the farther and farther away from the "true message" one is likely to get. In a way, in order to satisfy one's needs while playing the game, they betray the original experience that they value so dearly by flipping the script.

So why do movie games fail? Because in the words of Kirk Lazarous, action Jackson can't cry, so our personal bias steers us to a comparison before we even get a chance to enjoy a new experience.

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