Hideo Bruckheimer

Hideo Bruckheimer
We're Off to See The Wizard

Mike Schiller | 31 Mar 2009 11:48
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Twenty years later, games have changed and the world has changed. Those of us who were 10 in '89 are 30 in '09, and we're still playing games. Controllers have dual thumbsticks, eight buttons, motion controls and digital D-pads, and every single one of those buttons can be overloaded with two, three, even four functions. Games are no longer kids' stuff. The most popular ones are rated M, particularly the ones that are played competitively. The Call of Duty franchise, the Gears of War franchise, the Grand Theft Auto franchise - these are the games that capture the imagination of the gaming public today. These are the games for which fans salivate and sop up every last bit of information before release day, and not a single one of them is remotely appropriate for a PG-rated movie.

None of this is even to mention that we are in the middle of a knock-down, drag-out console war. The Wizard is a commercial for Nintendo products. A similar movie today would be an advertisement for ... what exactly? Yoke it to any of the big three's consoles, and you risk alienating a tremendous portion of your intended audience by neglecting their favorite console or game. If you make it a commercial for a single game, you're playing to an audience even more limited than the gaggle of 10-year-olds that held The Wizard near and dear.

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So who's going to make this era's defining mass-market videogame movie?

A pro gaming league would likely be the perfect candidate, Competitive gaming has actually picked up a surprising amount of traction in recent years, with gaming tournaments landing arena-sized venues and television contracts with national networks. (Did you know ESPN covers videogames?) They're a readymade sponsor, and Major League Gaming could provide the backdrop, the reason for the movie to exist. After all, what better way to increase the visibility of pro gaming than with a big-budget movie?

Of course, there are plenty of plot concerns to address. Even if we make our tortured player and his half-brother a little bit older than Fred Savage and [checks IMDB] Luke Edwards were when they made The Wizard, we still run into a problem: There have been some recent, high-profile cases of teens running away from home motivated by games, and at least one of them ended tragically. A similar plot today, no matter how implausible the rest of the movie is, might actually be enough to spark protests. Instead, a nonconforming parent trying to relive his youth might facilitate the boys' voyage.

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