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Why Video Game Movie Adaptations Need New Respect 283

An anonymous reader writes "Hollywood has yet to find any video game property it is willing to treat with the same respect as J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K.Rowling, arguably still following the principles that led to the appalling Super Mario Bros. movie in 1992: 'A game lacks the complexity that a movie requires.' Yet a modern gaming masterpiece such as Mass Effect has the depth and breadth to deserve better treatment in the proposed trilogy. Is Hollywood again going to disrespect fans who, in this case, have as much right to see a good plot respected as the readers of Lord Of The Rings? This article discusses why and how Hollywood should grow up regarding these adaptations."
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Why Video Game Movie Adaptations Need New Respect

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  • Re:What is the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c0mpliant ( 1516433 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:03AM (#34544060)
    Because right or wrong, there are a large amount of people who wont play a computer game because its too "nerd like". This is when marketing execs see golden opportunity. Not only will you get most of the fans of the game to see it at least once, you'll probably get the people who wouldn't have touched a game with a barge poll.

    In my mind respect is only one part of the equation worth exploring. Understanding of the game becomes another. Mass Effect may have been about shooting Geth, driving the Mako and using biotics but there was an underlying theme of good versus evil within the character. Perhaps not even versus, both Paragon and Renegade are a part of Shepard, problem is you can't introduce choice into a film and therefore can't communicate it as well as you can in a game. Another issue is whether you have Shepard as a man or a woman. Jennifer Hale was by far the better voice actor and I would find a real female lead a far more interesting story than another bland bloke. The fact that she was a woman wasn't exploited for sexual purposes in ME, it just so happened she was a woman. But you know that wouldn't be how hollywood would do it.

    The article says that judging by the IMDB page, its set during the first contact war, so they wouldn't be having to ruin everyones Shepard on them if they did make the film.
    Incidently the website linked to was down for me so here is a link to a google cache of it []
  • Sorry, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:32AM (#34544166)

    Any game that has a story good enough to be told well in a movie should have been a movie in the first place.

    I play games for the gameplay, not some damn story that interrupts gameplay (you know, the reason we play games in the first place?) every ten seconds.

    We need a gaming crash like we had in the US in the mid-80s again. Sadly this won't happen because modern gamers would actually *like* E.T. and give it "Game of the Year."

  • Re:Mass Effect (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ZombieWomble ( 893157 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:39AM (#34544204)
    I once heard an observation about the ME series that makes a lot of sense: ME1 is following the template of a movie; ME2 is following the template of a TV series with a large ensemble cast, like Star Trek.

    After our hero is introduced and the scene set, it's then broken into "episodes" which are heavily focused on one member of the "cast", who the rest of the time just stay in the background and throw in the occasional quip. Every now and again throw in a plot advancing episode to keep things ticking over, and finish with beating on a Big Bad. But be sure to wrap up with a bit of a cliffhanger to ensure people are hyped for the next sesaon.

    The actual plot of any given episode, most of the time, is immaterial - any events which happen in a character episode are expected to be contained within that episode, and exist only to frame character development or provide obstacles for them to overcome. Since most games follow the movie template, it does feel very different to play, but not necessarily worse - the focus on characterisation did pay off, I feel. Still not perfect, but then nor is the characterisation in most good TV series either.

    Sadly, having said all that, I do agree that it wouldn't work as well as a movie, which does make me concerned about the quality of any adapation, since it's going to have to stray pretty far from the plot to fit it into a movie-shaped box.

  • In the year 3000... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by matunos ( 1587263 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @06:20AM (#34544362)

    Movies will *be* video games, so who cares?

  • Re:What is the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @08:08AM (#34544808)

    Come on, the wii is casual gaming. Casual gaming is not the same as what would be considered "hardcore"

    Its simpler than that. Its framing the question by careful selection of description to get the answer you want. It has little relationship with reality of course.

    Real gaming, also known hardcore gaming, is just endless remakes of Wolfenstein3D from 1992. I thought it was fun for a couple years (decades?) but now its pretty boring. "I've got a good idea, lets fight WWII again, err, uh, I mean lets do it again in higher res"

    Not real gaming, also known as "casual" or "for noobs" is merely the entire human experience of technologically aided recreation with the sole exclusion of first person shooters.

  • Re:Right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @08:52AM (#34545004)

    It wasn't fantastic but it was quite true to the feel of the original game: the silent hill movie adaption.

    I imagine that video game adaptions fall prey to the same problems that book adaptions do: if the author doesn't give a damn then it gets turned into a generic crap hollywood film.

    A production company was put together and there was US and Scandinavian and European involvement, and I wrote a couple of script drafts which wet down well and everything was looking fine and then the US people said 'Hey, we've been doing market research in Power Cable, Nebraska, and other centes of culture, and the Death/skeleton bit doesn't work for us, it's a bit of a downer, we have a prarm with it, so lose the skeleton". The rest of the consortium said, did you read the script? The Americans said: sure, we LOVE it, it's GREAT, it's HIGH CONCEPT. Just lose the Death angle, guys. Whereupon, I'm happy to say, they were told to keep on with the medication and come back in a hundred years. -- Terry Pratchett

    now anyone familiar with the book will know from this that the person across the table didn't even read the back of the book or even the first 2 lines of the back of the book, to quote them here for anyone not familiar with professor terry Pratchett works:

    Mort has been chosen as Death's apprentice. He gets board and lodging and free use of company horse, and doesn't even need time off for his grandmother's funeral.

    and there's so many crappy directors who just keep making the same film over and over, if given a story they chop off everything which doesn't fit their one and only story and then nail the 2 together poorly.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann