195: We're Off to See The Wizard

We're Off to See The Wizard

The Wizard was a movie that defined a generation of gamers. It was also 100 minutes of pure corporate propaganda. Mike Schiller takes a closer look at how The Wizard was made, and what it might look like if it came out 20 years later.

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While a full-blown movie about games and gamers wouldn't work today, perhaps a short film would.

So many parents are utterly terrified of this new hobby their children are into, unaware that it's as valid a past-time as more traditional pursuits. Education seems to be the key thing here. The more they know, especially about the good parts of gaming, the less likely parents are to flip out should their 14-year-old ask to go to an all-night LAN party.

And so I propose this. Someone, somewhere makes a short film about a teenager's success at a Game competition. Or possibly about how online games can teach communication. Or about The Sims helping autistic children. We've seen an article here for the last. Perhaps its time to spread the word.

Enjoyable article, brought back fond memories. I don't think anyone who grew up in that certain age set didn't love the movie, love SMB3, and covet the glove.

A thought for Labyrinth, where would you place King of Kong as far as positive/negative message? It's a funny, interesting, and well made film, but it's also about a group of grown men(some very obviously socially inept) playing a nearly 30 year old game obsessively. Not that I have any qualms with it, just trying to consider how a non-gamer would perceive the people in it. Wiebe is pretty likable overall, but some of the others are probably what parents see as worst-case scenario.

I think they should make a movie about an alcoholic game journalist who continues to play games until they have played so many of them that they grow despondent and bitter. They go to GDC rants and bitch about the industry. They post angry exchanges with twelve year olds. Until one magic, powerful day, they play a new Wii game and discover their love of gaming all over again.

It's so bad...

L.B. Jeffries:
I think they should make a movie about an alcoholic game journalist who continues to play games until they have played so many of them that they grow despondent and bitter. They go to GDC rants and bitch about the industry. They post angry exchanges with twelve year olds. Until one magic, powerful day, they play a new Wii game and discover their love of gaming all over again.

It's so bad...

I'd pay to see it...

the_tramp:

L.B. Jeffries:
I think they should make a movie about an alcoholic game journalist who continues to play games until they have played so many of them that they grow despondent and bitter. They go to GDC rants and bitch about the industry. They post angry exchanges with twelve year olds. Until one magic, powerful day, they play a new Wii game and discover their love of gaming all over again.

It's so bad...

I'd pay to see it...

Oh, then go check out my blog. Just on the first act though.

I was that ten year old...I am that thirty year old...

The staggering irony of the thing is, as I was reading the article, my kids are in the living room watching "Oswald". For the uninitiated, Oswald is Nick Jr. show about a purple octopus, and said octopus is voiced by none other than Fred Savage himself.

I'm so old...

As terrible as the movie really is, there is definately something to be had from the novelty of it all. Surely a must see for any Nintendo fan (or NES fan for that matter). Makes me want to pull out my old powerglove, it's so bad.

Yes, in the old days the console gamers were the newbie casual gamers who were surely just a fad and would disappear just like the Atari did once the NES fad would end and the glory would return to the PC gamers. Now Wii gamers are the newbie casual gamers who will surely be just a fad and will disappear so the glory for the hardcore HD gamers will return. Yep, we've come full circle or, as you might say, we've completed a revolution.

Oh and the most popular game is rated M? I don't see any M rating on Wii Sports.

As for the 10 minute preview footage in the internet era, hey, bundled demos are working for Square-Enix, right?

Maybe the lack of watching The Wizard is why I never cared much for SMB3, instead considering SMW superior...

Just a suggestion... And of course everyone isn't a fan of the show, but it wouldn't hurt to take a look at Pure Pwnage and leave some room for imagination... It started as a mockumentary about the life of a very sheltered gamer, and is continuing adding in new factors to every ep... Even supernatural factors that are horrible, yet so great at the same time...
They haven't released a new episode in awhile because a newer member of the cast passed away (RIP T-Bag), but they have pledged that they are filming again and will release again...

In short? Its an hour long nintendo advert with alot of gameplay cut out, it introduced Super Mario 3 and even showed a few hints.

L.B. Jeffries:
I think they should make a movie about an alcoholic game journalist who continues to play games until they have played so many of them that they grow despondent and bitter. They go to GDC rants and bitch about the industry. They post angry exchanges with twelve year olds. Until one magic, powerful day, they play a new Wii game and discover their love of gaming all over again.

It's so bad...

He was found dead in his apartment, a bottle of whiskey in one hand.... a power glove in the other.

I could only see a movie being made as a game tie-in like The Wizard today if they tried something transformers-ish or made one with intrusion of a game into reality more like The Last Starfighter. I'd love an actual game to get an eXistenZ type reality-intruding headscrew but it'll never happen.

I'd say, if anything, a film about gamers - which is sort of what The Wizard was, once you get past the advertising - would be even MORE mainstream and easy to monetize today than in 1989. You couldn't use it to highlight a specific game the way Wizard highlighted Mario 3, no. Of course not. You couldn't use it to highlight a specific system either. But if you took a scattershot equal-opportunity love/mockery approach, you'd get an almost guaranteed massive audience.

Look at the omnipresent Judd Apatow crew, and the movies they're making. Hell, isn't Michael Cera just playing an older version of Fred Savage's character, over and over again anyway? Didn't Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogen spend a third of "40 Year Old Virgin" either playing or referencing video games? All of those films are raunchy romantic comedies about geeks. It would take very little stretching to make their favorite subject the core of the story.

Man i remember watching this movie on video as a kid and oh yea this was pure gold for me. I too had my copy of Mario 3 taking up hours of my day at the time. Who actually bought a power glove? That thing is right up there with the virtual boy. Such a flagrant 89 minutes video game commercial can never happen again on the big screen, dont kno anyone who would pay 12.50 to watch it. But then again when one system is the king of video games it means you have 100 percent of the audience, so say 30% showed up thats not too bad of a ratio, smart business on their part. Yes ESPN does have its own video game page, but then again they also covered Poker non-stop during that fad, and they do a huge section on the Madden competitions, and for obvious reasons they tend to cover a lot of sports games...does the escapist have its sports game niche? Back in those days nintendo had an all out attack for kids attentions they had cartoons about nintendo games and then that one where the kid wore something that looked like a nintendo controller on a belt which he used to pause time or any other move the controller would allow him. The internet probably did away with the need to do such advertising based entertainment, its free, accesible to anyone, and most importantly has no age limit.

Sir_Montague:
Just a suggestion... And of course everyone isn't a fan of the show, but it wouldn't hurt to take a look at Pure Pwnage and leave some room for imagination... It started as a mockumentary about the life of a very sheltered gamer, and is continuing adding in new factors to every ep... Even supernatural factors that are horrible, yet so great at the same time...
They haven't released a new episode in awhile because a newer member of the cast passed away (RIP T-Bag), but they have pledged that they are filming again and will release again...

Yes exactly, having the brilliant PP internet show to watch kind of makes this idea of a new hypothetical movie redundant.

Btw, just because early games only had a couple of buttons to push didn't make them any easier to play. In fact I find videogames much easier to play nowadays. It's sort of like comparing an track and field sport to driving. One is more multi-tasking and the and the other is more singularly exacting to the nth degree. However, today's more multitask orientated gaming style suits me more and I prefer it to pumping tons of cash into a Space Invaders machine just to get that last fucking alien crawler.

u know what i am going to go the complete opposite of this
games becoming movies is bound to happen just like comicbook movies
i mean movie critics hate how american culture is beer, sports, "rock 'n roll" and superheroes but that's just the truth
and that goes for all of western culture too
yes that means you Europe

I actually saw the tail end of this movie. I did not know what was happening, I just saw video games being played and watched it.

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 it's been done. In a TV show, no less, called Spaced. A movie doesn't have to highlight a specific game in order to connect to an audience, like Grand_Marquis said.

There are a surprising number of things that pretty much all gamers share. Because the culture has grown so much, I think a movie exploring that culture would be very entertaining, especially for gamers; I do think that people who aren't really into games would also be interested, just because they're exposed to this whole new culture, and in the end, we're all human anyway. People like watching other interesting people.

That said, I can say with absolute certainty that a re-make of The Wizard would be absolutely shit.

If a movie was going to be about games these days, and not alienate too many gamers it would probably look like this or dare I say... this!

As a gamer who is interested in a wide variety of games both of these series have given me great amounts of entertainment, as well as friends I have who are into various different games. I think either of these kinds of stories could easily work as a movie, but maybe they would have to trick the nongaming portion into enjoying it because of the giant stigma gaming STILL has to this day amongst many many people. Also a lot of the 'inside' jokes would probably have to be made more general to give them mass appeal and then... wait... noo I already killed my vision before it even took flight! :(

i always wondered how Lucas knew to get the whistle in 1-3. he'd never played the game before, yet he knew to press down on a random block and run behind the black ending screen.

besides the glimpse of SMB3, i was happy to gain one of my crushes in Jenny Lewis.

... I loved The Wizard. >_>

Gamer culture is becoming too fragmented for this. I'm a regular semi-hardcore console guy, and I have little in common with the FPS pro gamer, or the WoW fanatic, or the chilled casual gamer. Eventually, gaming will become so commonplace that there won't be a culture to make a movie out of any more.

Also, the movie was hideous (so I'm told) and it was only watched because it had a gaming preview, so something something something it's so bad.

Why does the 'Al Gore invented the internet' canard keep getting rolled out long after it's been disproved? I mean it's just embarrassing now.

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