By cynicalmonkey 1 Comments
I was asked recently by my girlfriend what would I rather give up movies or video games. She had no intention of forcing my choice upon me and removing the sacrificial media from my life as it was just a harmless game of would you rather but none the less I paused for some considerable time while I pondered the options.
On one hand video games have yet to disappoint me to the depth that movies have but that itself is just down to the sheer saturation I have placed myself in with regards to the silver screen. I have been watching movies my entire life and not in the casual way. I love the medium and I love it done well and while 90% of the output is dismissed out of hand or viewed and then dismissed its that 10% that captivates me and keeps me coming back for more.
Video games I love also as a medium and I am far more forgiving of its faults than I am with movies, I can walk away from games I know are bad with memories of what I found enjoyable while movies I found enjoyable I often take nothing from but the things I know are bad. I am a critical person and while playing a game I will unleash that criticism through screams and shouts of infuriation but when the princess is saved and the day is won I can still find time to look back on what I loved about the game and take just that. Wet, Wanted, Dark Void, Brutal Legend are all so so games when all is said and done but each one has mechanics, or story ideas, or styles of game play, or level design I can see favor in.
Which is why the idea of choosing one medium over the other was like my very own Sophie's choice or Kobayashi Maru. Ultimately my choice was movies over video games for one very simple yet crucial reason. Most blockbuster kind of movies I would rather experience in game form, I would take Uncharted 2 or Modern Warfare 2 over the majority of the action flicks and I would take a Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead game over most horror. with games getting better written every iteration there is often as much comedy in a half decent game as I am likely to find in the 4-5 good scenes most film comedies average. I looked to some of my favorite films like Fight Club and the Godfather and in my head deconstructed them and remade them as video games and while not perfect reproductions I felt their narrative could be transferred to a video game format.
So why pick movies? I cast my mind back to the films I had enjoyed this year, Up In The Air, Away We Go or Rachel Getting Married. None of which would work in a video game format then I looked further back to Almost Famous, Jerry McGuire, High Fidelity and Brokeback Mountain or further yet to Singing In The Rain, Litle Shop of Horrors and other films of my youth. While games can equal the action, tension and comedy of movies there are still emotional experiences they cannot master, and more to the point I wouldn't want them to.
I don't want to play as Kim quicktime eventing my way through an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I don't want to explain to Penny Lane she was traded for a case of beer via a dialogue tree and I don't want to point and click my way through airports as I try and reach 6 million air miles.
Thankfully I don't have to choose as both coexist quite peacefully but I do wonder if games will ever turn the tide and what they would have to do to make me willing to sacrifice the emotional climax of a great movie.