Extra Lives: Let’s talk about movies

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Nick Booth, JagWire copy editor

Movies and video games have had a complicated relationship throughout almost the entire span of time that both of them have been in existence. Game developers have tried to make games based on movies, and moviemakers have done the opposite, each with very little success.

But why is this the case? After all, stories seem to have much less trouble translating across other mediums: “Les Miserables” made an excellent transition from the page to the stage, and comic books like “The Avengers” have turned into excellent movies. In fact, some of the very best movies, such as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “A Few Good Men,” were adapted from books.

The main challenge that arises when making a movie into a game (or vice versa) is the interactivity involved with a game. Because of this interactivity, games require a level of player engagement that isn’t needed for more traditional storytelling methods. It’s much harder for a game to give a guided, preset story than it is for a movie or a TV show.

This is also what makes it so hard for movies to base themselves on games; taking a story that was previously defined by player choice and making it a preset affair doesn’t really turn out so well.

Examples of the incompatibility between these two mediums are everywhere. “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” is one of the best family movies of all time, but the 1983 video game version for the Atari is one of the worst games of all time. Likewise, the Resident Evil franchise has produced some of the best games in the business, but the movies based on those games are just awful.

Maybe movies and games just won’t ever get along. While there are some exceptions to the apparent incompatibility of the mediums, such as the latest Mad Max game or “Star Wars: Battlefront,” it seems to be the rule that they just don’t go together. Maybe it’s time for developers to realize that. Games can’t be movies, and movies can’t be games. Trying to force one to be more like the other does not work, has never worked and will not work in the future. If game developers move away from trying to recreate other mediums and instead focus on games themselves, then games as a whole can move forward.

Senior Nick Booth has played games since he was a young child. He is still an avid PC gamer to this day, spending a large portion of his time playing with a keyboard and mouse.

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