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Video Games In Hollywood Essay

1276 words - 6 pages

Super Mario Bros, Doom, BloodRayne, and Mortal Kombat. These are all great, classic, or memorable video games in their own right, but their silver screen counterparts? Not so much. Why though? Why is it that video games can not translate into the same box office success that has been experienced by comic books and novels since the early 2000s? I have identified four crucial reasons why video games will never see the same commercial success as other mediums have: video games are not respected as an art form, Hollywood does not understand gaming, video games are difficult to translate from an interactive to non-interactive medium, and unqualified directors, who are unfamiliar with both video ...view middle of the document...

Since video games are not considered to be art in its broadest terms, Hollywood has also failed to understand it as a medium. Take the best-selling video game series Grand Theft Auto for example, most would refer to it as "that game that allows you to run over hookers?" rather than individual stories of ordinary people seeking the American Dream in a corrupt society. Far Cry 3 could be considered another run of the mill shooter in an otherwise over saturated genre, rather the story of a man seeking redemption in a hostile environment. The manner in which video game adaptations are produced in Hollywood, it would seem that video games are looked at in the same way that action movies are: actions drive the story. In reality however, action represents a gameplay mechanism that allows the player to function in the context of the environment, not drive the story. In a video game, every action may or may not serve a direct purpose, while in cinema every action serves the purpose to drive the narrative to the next scene.
Adapting from one medium to another only works when there is room for things to be expanded (this is not always true), especially when adapting from an interactive medium. The reason for this is that when you are adapting from an interactive medium to a non-interactive medium, you are essential flattening an open world, into a linear narrative. In a video game, the story is told through the players own choices and interactions within the game. By nature films are not interactive, thus, screenwriters are tasked with translating thousands of choices and options into one linear narrative, within a standard 90 minute run time. Take the 1993 science fiction comedy, “Super Mario Bros.” loosely based on the 1985 classic of the same name. Super Mario Bros. was the first video game turned movie to make it into American cinema, to an abysmal showing. While both stories follow the same general plot line, two plumbers go to save a princess, the similarities end there. A quote by Jamie Russell sums up the film adaption perfectly “it was weirdly adult, full of street walkers, and drug references , and mad max style desert death races, unlike Myamoto’s colorful games, it was set in a drab, parallel New York that was ruled by Dinosaurs that evolved into humanoids”. Does this sound like the Mario that a generation has come to know and love?
Resident Evil was finally released in March of 2002 after being greenlit three years earlier with renowned director George A. Romero originally signed on to spearhead the project. To better understand the source material before writing the screenplay, Romero had his secretary play...

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