Hideo Bruckheimer

Hideo Bruckheimer
We're Off to See The Wizard

Mike Schiller | 31 Mar 2009 11:48
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Rather than the sunny desert locales of The Wizard, the whole movie would be shot in browns and grays, paralleling the sense of gritty realism that pervades the M-rated multiplayer-heavy games of the current generation. It could be set on the East Coast, or perhaps portray a Midwest journey that makes its way through the stark urban settings of Detroit or Chicago. The final scene, the big tournament in the big city, would feature an against-all-odds frag in a furious one-on-one deathmatch between our protagonist and the mohawked, heavily pierced "Lucas" of our new movie - perhaps a pistol triumphing over a vehicle-mounted Gatling gun.

Finally, our movie would need a name. A gut-wrenchingly cheesy name that is instantly identifiable by the culture. It's easy to imagine that such a movie would be adorned with a name already years out of date, yet still inexplicably and widely used: Pwned. Yes, our movie would be called Pwned.

It would, of course, be just as awful as its moniker, and it still wouldn't matter as long as the audience was given 10 minutes to watch, say, Modern Warfare 2 a month or two before it hit the market. It's a surefire hit, right?

Well, no.

The problem is that the internet exists. The hunger for preview footage of games isn't nearly as all-consuming as it used to, because there is an absolute glut of preview game coverage on major gaming websites already. All the modern gamer needs is an internet connection to satiate his hunger for the details of upcoming games. The promise of more of such footage is simply not enough to get people to the theaters - if it's the game footage people want to see, it'll be easy enough to find on BitTorrent or likely even YouTube mere days after its release.

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We're never actually going to see another Wizard in our lifetime. There are simply too many competing factors to allow another movie anything like it to exist. And maybe that's okay. Gaming has grown as a medium to the point where nearly everyone who plays games defines the hobby differently. To try and encapsulate gaming culture in a two-hour movie would be not only an insurmountable task, it would likely be borderline insulting to the millions of gamers who wouldn't find anything to relate to in the characters or the story.

But in a way, it's a shame that we'll never see another take on The Wizard, because it was a movie that spoke to a tremendous number of children. It made them - it made us - feel like we were doing something more important than just twiddling our thumbs and making colorful little sprites run around a television screen. Perhaps it wasn't high art, but to plenty of us, it meant something. And if nothing else, it introduced our generation to the Power Glove. "It's so bad," indeed.

Mike Schiller is a Buffalo-based writer who blogs about and reviews games and music at PopMatters.com. He also writes game reviews for the Raleigh News & Observer.

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