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Problematically, a lot of the unsubstantiated accusations from Hollywood tend to set off some less-than desirable reactions from the supposed rival. The games industry (or, rather, the Western/American games industry as I rarely hear such protestations coming from Japan, Korea, etc.) has a long and storied inferiority complex regarding the movie industry, and it comes bursting to the surface with tremendous force whenever the "games are killing the box office" meme hits the Hollywood trades - a chronically insecure community eager to use a would-be rival's finger-pointing hyperbole to bolster its own sense of self.

"Well, of course games are going to start cutting into Hollywood's margin! We offer a better experience!" We've heard that one, right? Heck, some of us have probably had occasion to applaud it. "We're the storytelling medium of the new era!" Uh-huh, sure. And perhaps my personal favorite: "We're kicking ass because we're more original!"

Folks, I dearly love videogames, and the videogames business, but the games industry (again, in this particular case we're mostly talking about American developers) calling out Hollywood for a lack of originality is akin to Burger King decrying McDonalds for contributing to childhood obesity.

That's not to say that the industry that this year alone will bring us a third Transformers and a fifth Fast & The Furious is a font of new ideas these days, but let's get real. You can count the number of genuinely original big-ticket games each year without taking off your shoes for the most part, and to say that the game industry borrows from the movies disproportionately is the mother of all understatements.

Heck, it's actually being generous to say that gaming takes its cues from the movies, collectively, as though it were merely failing to break ground that Hollywood hadn't yet broken. If only! Instead, we're treated to an endless succession of games directly descending from a hefty total of five movies - and while I'll gladly agree with any given game maker that Aliens, Scarface, Lord of The Rings, Dawn of The Dead and Blackhawk Down were all damn, damn fine films, I think I've about played my fill of unofficial knockoffs of them. Hell, Uncharted and Tomb Raider probably deserve some kind of medal for their mutual outside-the-box move of ripping off Indiana Jones instead.

Things are slightly better in the so-called "indie gaming" scene, but even that's starting to fall into the same follow-the-leader pattern indie movies did amid the late-90s explosion of Tarantino-wannabes: "Oooh boy! A hot new downloadable indie game! I wonder if it's a Super Mario Bros. reworking built around a single unique new mechanic and an offbeat art-style!?"

It occurs to me that perhaps gaming and hollywood are so mutually hostile because each sees the other as a mirror of itself, and the reflection can't be entirely pleasing. For all the joy they bring to us, and for all the paths on which they intersect, the things they share most in common are overwhelmingly negative.

They're both bloated and unwieldy. They're both overly reliant on remakes and reboots. They're both refusing to work with a digital-age audience that's technologically ahead of them. They both treat women poorly at worst and dismissively at best. They both regard diversity as a checklist-oriented chore. Neither one wants to acknowledge that there might be other people in the world worth paying attention to, or telling stories for, than young white men with disposable income.

Come to think of it, maybe they deserve eachother.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

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