Thursday, 1 December 2011

Films of Games and Games of Films

I find it somewhat difficult to start this blog without simply raging at the pile of useless video games of films. But I shall endeavour to keep the raging to a minimum.

Lets begin with video games that get turned into films. Its an interesting concept and one that hasn't been shied away from in recent years. I think the film industry can be somewhat stale at times with little innovation and the constant regurgitation of the same story formats, so the fact they are branching into other areas to get ideas for films isn't a surprising. Films based on books can and have done extremely well, but I have slightly different opinion on films based on games. I think the difference between books and games is the fact that games are already a visual experience, an interactive one at that. Books are storeys that you just follow, creating an experience in your mind but you don't get to control your character or the story you are just living it through the words. Films are a visual representation of this and if done correctly can be fantastic, like Lord of the Rings for an example.

Video games are different however, they are already a visual experience with added interactivity, you get to play through a story. Games done well can feel like a cinematic experience in themselves, with games like Heavy Rain and Alan Wake being great examples. It feels somewhat pointless to me to then reduce this back into a simpler form of visual entertainment like a film. However I can see the draw of seeing games and their stories in an interesting new way.

I think that's the main point to be made however. The difference between the games and their cinematic counterparts. You aren't watching a film of someone else playing the game and you aren't watching a film that just duplicates the games main story line, that would be pointless. Your watching a new interpretation of that game's world, characters and plot. In this respect I think its best to count them as completely different things, or I tend to just get irritated. Some films manage this much better than others and are received very differently by different people. The Resident Evil films are a good example. The films themselves are horribly inaccurate compared to the games and this annoys alot of Resident Evil fans, however they seem to do quite well with the general public because they aren't horribly bad films. So your better off just not linking the two.

Films such as Silent Hill, Hitman and Doom are also based on games which I personally enjoy. The films themselves aren't always accurate to the games but are enjoyable. So the quality of the film and how much they chew up the games original story is important to how its received. The fact alot of games are turned into films simply for the money is very annoying for us, the people who enjoy the games, who don't want to see our beloved games turned into cinematic rubbish. The potential for merging films and games is awesome and if more films were made of games because the people making them have a real passion to the game they could be so much better.


So talking about money generating rubbish, we move into the world of video games made from films and I can't recall a good one. If a film does well and has the potential, its probably going to be turned into a 'game of the film'. They are made for making money and thats it. The games aren't properly thought through or made well, they tend to play poorly and look like crap. But the companies don't seem to care, they just want to churn it out, take advantage of people, especially kids, and just produce them. I struggle to even consider them games. They aren't made like proper games, they don't feel like proper games and they don't play like proper games. I don't think I'm ever going to enjoy them unless something changes with them. There is potential in the idea of converting a films story line into an enjoyable game. With the right amount of effort it could be a great new way of experiencing and expanding worlds and ideas. But until that happens games of films are still going to be abit rubbish in my opinion.

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