I recently read an article about movies based on video games. It was a good read but I can’t remember if its argument was that Hollywood should give up the ghost or keep trying to create a classic.
Maybe it wasn’t such a good read after all.
Finish him quickly. Pay me my tribute.
The argument about turning games into movies isn’t a new one. It’s been around like a bad smell that follows flop after flop. Christ, it’s been around since movies started to be adapted from books.
I obviously wasn’t around when those arguments started to happen but I’m assuming they did?
I suppose my question would be – Why is Hollywood considered the pinnacle of modern day entertainment? Are we THAT lazy that we can’t be bothered to finish the book or the game? Do we actually need to have the story spoon fed to us in between mouthfuls of popcorn?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid cinema goer. I have a cinema card, I pre-book tickets and a large part of my daily discussions are based on movies. So I’m in no way anti-Hollywood. In fact, I embrace it like I would a family member or an old friend. Gaming movies can be a cruel mistress though.
This is where you fall down.
If you’ve read my articles before, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for storytelling in games. I see gaming as a valid medium that should take its rightful place alongside books and movies.
I understand why books have movie adaptations. When you’re reading something, technically, you’re just looking at black letters on a white page. As there are no borders, vast worlds, races and universes can be made up allowing you to form that world in your own imagination. It’s a wonderful feeling that can really capture you and create feelings based on characters that you’ve got to know page by page.
Movies, if they don’t deviate too much, help to give the world you’ve built context and with the amount of money floating around in Hollywood, can build the world itself. Look at Lord of the Rings as one example – it’s a thing of absolute beauty in both literary and cinematic senses.
You can look into my soul, but you don’t own it.
Games don’t need Hollywood to give their worlds’ context though. They don’t need the world to be built for them. They’ve done that for themselves.
For games that are strong in story, as much as I’ll be excited if The Last of Us or Metal Gear Solid makes it to the silver screen, I don’t think they really need to be made into a movie. The story’s already been told. We’ve already fallen in love with the characters, their voices and their mannerisms.
There are other games that I think, done right, could be brilliant. For instance, I’ve not seen a lot on the Assassin’s Creed movie but as the series isn’t based solely on one character or one story, a standalone movie, set in that world could really work – especially with Michael Fassbender on board.
Likewise, Mortal Kombat is probably my favourite adaptation from games. There’s no real story to the game itself so having it turned into an action movie really worked. You could argue that by watching it at such a young age, I was more easily pleased but who doesn’t still love a classic movie they watched as a kid?
Maybe that’s the point Hollywood’s missed. If you take gaming movies too seriously, you turn it into something that it doesn’t need to be and it kind of loses its validity.
I suppose the point I’ve come to naturally is that we need to find the right balance. Hollywood will always look at a game with a strong story and look to create a movie based on it. Naturally, fans will flock to see it, copious amounts of money will be made and we’ll wait with baited breath for the next one.
I’m saying that we don’t need to do that. For me, the best gaming movies were based on the games that had no real/progressing story. Your Mortal Kombats and Street Fighters (even Super Mario Bros wasn’t that bad was it?).
Let’s let the developers tell the stories they want to tell and if they fail, THEN let the Directors and Executive Producers do what our gaming developers couldn’t. No-one loses out that way.