Joystick: Games and film converging?Published 3:07pm Friday, July 6, 2012
If you haven’t heard, Pixar is working on a new movie called “Wreck-it Ralph,” about a video game villain who dreams of becoming something more. The movie already features characters from classic games like “Street Fighter II,” further cementing games in popular culture.
What interests me about the movie is how it showcases how entrenched gaming is in our society. When I was small, I would play silly Super Nintendo games based off of popular kids movies, like “Toy Story” or “Aladdin” [Both games were pretty spectacular]. That was before games based on movies became so terrible, but I digress.
Fast forward 15 years, now we’ve got game tie-ins to popular movies that release the same week those films hit theaters. We’ve got movies influenced by gaming technology — I’m looking at you, “Doom” — and games so crisp they could be movies. Each AAA title feels like more of a cinematic experience, while smaller games appear to put just as much of an emphasis on cutscenes and CGI. We’ve even got games that resemble cinema more than anything, such as “Heavy Rain,” “Beyond: Two Souls” and too many “Metal Gear” games.
So what’s next? I’ve always been a proponent that games and movies will one day intersect, where there will eventually come games that put you in the middle of the action in a movie-like setting. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest this will eventually happen, from the old arcade games like the “Jurassic Park” and “House of the Dead” shooters to old anime episodes where people are stuck in virtual reality spaces and can’t “unplug” from a video game machine, as it were.
This sort of technology is a long way off, as the most recent “Steel Battalion” proved. That 360 game took a beating by critics for a variety of issues which took the player out of the game. Yet the fact remains sooner or later games will cross the uncanny valley divide into an almost true-to-life simulation. We’re only a few decades removed from that technology, as recent game engine demonstrations like “Kara” and “Agni’s Philosophy” prove.
With more gamers thinking like cinema buffs and more filmmakers taking cues from gaming, the intersection of the two mediums seems not so far off anymore.