Taking Lessons From South Park - How To Not Ruin an Adaptation

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Thanatos2k:
All I know is Stick of Truth is the best video game adaptation of anything from other media.

Please, we all know Simpsons Hit and Run is THE king of video game adaptations.

Aardvaarkman:
[quote="Thanatos2k" post="6.849212.20970072"]Video games are often considered a branch of literature, as are theatre and film.

Again, you're narrowing definitions unnecessarily. Literature doesn't just mean books, and contemporary conceptions of it are much more porous and malleable than you are giving credit for.

No, YOU'RE narrowing your definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literature
"Literature, in its broadest sense, is any written work; etymologically the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "writing formed with letters", although some definitions include spoken or sung texts. More restrictively, it is writing that possesses literary merit, and language that foregrounds literariness, as opposed to ordinary language."

Your usual methods at work - claim one thing, do another. I told you I wasn't interested in a quote warrior battle, so I'm done. You attacked Yahtzee for his definition of "adaptation" and now you're admitting there could be multiple definitions. The usual nonsense. Don't respond to me again.

Thanatos2k:

No, YOU'RE narrowing your definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literature
"Literature, in its broadest sense, is any written work; etymologically the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "writing formed with letters", although some definitions include spoken or sung texts. More restrictively, it is writing that possesses literary merit, and language that foregrounds literariness, as opposed to ordinary language."

How am I narrowing that definition? If anything, I'm broadening it.

Thanatos2k:
Your usual methods at work - claim one thing, do another. I told you I wasn't interested in a quote warrior battle, so I'm done. You attacked Yahtzee for his definition of "adaptation" and now you're admitting there could be multiple definitions. The usual nonsense. Don't respond to me again.

Firstly, I didn't attack Yahtzee.

Secondly, I'm not engaging in a "quote warrior battle" - I'm just having an adult discussion. And when did I "claim one thing and do another"?

Thirdly, I never denied anything about "multiple definitions" - you were the one who used a narrow definition (which I said was a valid subset of the broader definition), and then claimed that I was somehow abnormal for having a broader one.

Sorry you can't handle constructive discussions. I made a very simple comment, which you then turned into a personal battle. Funny how you talk about "quote warriors," yet you ignore the general thrust of my argument, and instead focus on rather unimportant specifics. Wouldn't that be something a "quote warrior" does?

I like how you're not even beating aroud the bush anymore and you're just straight up name dropping FuckBastard McCoy-er, Gabriel(1) in these articles.

Anyway, I think the conclusion you came to, that there is no set method outside of general basic rules like, you know, actually having an understanding of level design, is the same conclusion most come to.

1: Gabriel called himself that once in a video. He's also called himself Connect-4 von Smith (sm-eye-th) and other things. It was a running joke earlier in the Let's Plays that he and Yahtzee do.

How in the fuck do you do an article on great videogame adaptations and not mention Goldeneye?

Toadfish1:
How in the fuck do you do an article on great videogame adaptations and not mention Goldeneye?

How was the single player part of Golden Eye? All I remember is paintballing people in multiplayer.

Why do I feel like the only way you know you've done a good "basic" adaptation is when it encompasses the feel of the [original] source material effectively?

If it's an adaptation of a book, it has to feel like someone's reading you the book...
If it's an adaptation of a movie, it has to feel like you're experiencing the movie...
If it's an adaptation of a video game, it has to feel like someone's playing the video game...

I don't know... I found Stick of Truth, the Arkham games, the Toy Story 2 video game, Simpson's Hit and Run, the DBZ Budokai series, those various Lego games from Star Wars to Marvel, and the Game of Thrones PS3 game's story to be quite enjoyable in their own right, so there's that...

I think the one constant I've seen in the examples and ironically in games is that you have to care to some extent that your game is fun, and engaging. Amazing Spiderman 2 the movie the game (which I'm using the full name for from now on) is not doing as well as Spiderman 2 the movie the game, probably because there is nothing really new left to do, and since everything is shoe horned into what probably amounts to, will Sony let us use this character, and probably the follow up: If yes then how? That probably wasn't as big an issue for Spiderman 2 the movie the game.

South park wasn't hampered by anything because they were in control of their own creation. The Arkham devs also seem to have the keys to the castle when it comes to how they want to use the IP.

Good game movies on the other hand are a completely different animal.

-Dragmire-:

Toadfish1:
How in the fuck do you do an article on great videogame adaptations and not mention Goldeneye?

How was the single player part of Golden Eye? All I remember is paintballing people in multiplayer.

It followed the story almost perfectly, even down to the tank scene.

ThingWhatSqueaks:
I think we need a video game adaptation of Adaptation. We'll turn it into a co-op 3rd person shooter where both players play as Nicolas Cage.

Yes! And it could be done. Have the main character be given the task to adapt a book about nothing into a video game. He doesn't want it turning into a brown military shooter mowing down hundreds of gang banging drug cartel goons because that is not realistic. Meanwhile his twin brother makes a generic FPS that has massive plot holes that everyone loves. The game finishes with the brothers stumbling upon a drug cartel ring that devolves quickly into a massive fire fight with hundreds of enemies.

Damn it now I want to watch Adaptation again.

OT: The Warriors game made by Rockstar was a good adaptation. Kept to the main points of the movie. Added 1 and half times the movie in extra content and story while not feeling out of place.

The original Duck Tales game on the old NES was a pretty bad-ass game, but then that was a simple time.
More recent? Goldeneye on the N64 of course.
More recent than that? Excluding South Park... an argument could maybe made for the various Lego games?

FYI, for anyone not in the know, a stick of rock:

image

antidonkey:
I think the formula is the same for an adaptation as it is for an original idea. A respect for the IP, a talented developer, and, in the case of adaptations, assistance from the creators. They don't have to be heavily involved but involved enough to say what works and what is crap. The problem is that too many are made for cash grabs and/or marketing.

Very much this. Amazingly enough, the secret to making a good game is to have it made by people who are actually interested in making a good game. Obviously that still won't guarantee you a good game every time since that's just not possible, but you're never going to get something decent if it's only ever made as a cynical cash-grab directed by marketing with no-one who actually cares about the product involved at all.

SonOfVoorhees:
Developers just dont have the luxury to make something great and original when they only have 9 months and a small budget.

There's also another important point related to this - 9 months may only be a short time to make a game, but it's actually quite a long time compared to the development of a film. To take an example that's already been mentioned, The Amazing Spiderman 2 was filmed over a period of 5 months, and was released around 10 months later. They didn't even have a composer until about 6 months before release. That means for most of the game's development time, there was no movie. How do you make an adaptation of something that doesn't actually exist yet? No amount of extra development time will help if you're just going to have to dump it all and start again when they change things in the not-yet-finished film.

All you really have to do is expand the world of the movie, and give the fans a playable experience they've always dreamed of having. Driver may not overtly admit that it's a game version of the movie 'The Driver' from 1978 (even though it kinda is) but it works because getting yourself into a hard-as-nails urban police chase against cops hell bent on your car's destruction is a fantasy many a kid wants to re-enact.

Spiderman games let you swing down between far more buildings than Spidey did in the movies, and this extra freedom takes you beyond the limits of the movie itself. And, if your game genuinely pushes the barriers of great gameplay in a new direction like Goldeneye did, then the stuff that ties it in to a franchise is just the icing on the cake. You don't even NEED to be a fan of Bond films to enjoy the game.

So just make your gameplay hold up even if it wasn't a tie-in game, let the player experience places and situations beyond the limits of the linear movie, and take everything the audience wished they could do from a film and let them do it in the game. Hell, that's pretty much the whole point of Star Wars Battlefront.

tehroc:
What was wrong with the Ghostbusters game? It wasn't horrible by any means.

Here, here! I loved that game, and even though I've long since gotten all the trophies on it on several systems and multiple accounts on each, I still go back to it frequently for the continuation of the Ghostbusters story by the original cast and creators. It's by no means a grand epic, but it falls into the canon nicely and stays challenging on replay true to each chapters' weapon availability. I thought it was clever to scale back my money earned back to how much I had at the beginning of each chapter through my original play, and only reintroduce new ones at their necessary point in the story. The mechanics, while archaic, are not considered outdated when they prove effective.

As Yahtzee says, there doesn't seem to be a perfect way of tying in existing film or novel IP's into video games, especially when source materials have to be unique in order to sell better than others. There are many different genres of video games each with many different ways of handling story, and video game mechanics differently. We gamers love this fact, and I think that if we were somehow able to shoehorn all adaptations into one, single formula, then we'd essentially be going back to the 90's version. Stagnant and without interest. Unifying at first, but tiresome after the second.

RealRT:

Thanatos2k:

RealRT:
Ahem.
Batman: Arkham series.
That's all.

Batman is portrayed so wildly inconsistently across different mediums and even within one medium that you can't exactly say it was a perfect adaptation. Perfect adaptation of what?

How does his inconsistent portrayal - which is more a sign of character versatility than nothing else - in other adaptations changes the quality of this one? Arkham's Batman takes elements from all other adaptations and comic original and blends them all together in a way that everything fits well together.

i'd say that versatility made adaption less of a challenge, n thats why its not the best example. i'm just throwing ideas out, i hadn't given it any thought until right now

Ooh! A chance to mention Betrayal at Krondor, which was based off the Riftwar books by Raymond Feist. It was tied in closely enough to the series to become canon with Feist writing the novelization.

So apparently this lesson was known even back in the 90's.

Creating at least a decent adaption requires following 5 rules:

1. Know the source material in and out as much as you can before doing it if you don't already. You're less likely to piss fans of the original work off that way and you'll have an easier time making a plot and gameplay that makes sense, as much as the original work did to begin with anyway.

2. Know the medium you're adapting it to and from or work with somebody who does. If you are used to making video games and know nothing about making movies, don't try to make a movie, or the other way around. If you do you will just end up not knowing what the hell you are doing resulting in something that's terrible.

3. Take a look at what other similar adaptions did right and wrong and implement to the best of your ability what they did right while at least trying to fix what they did wrong. At the worst you won't do worse then they did and at best you'll make something much better. This is a rule that works in general should follow.

4. If you can, try to make something that's as divorced from plot of the original work as possible, either taking place away from the same area the original did or before or after the original did, preferably after. That way you can make a plot much more freely because you won't be forced to work around the plot of the original work as much as you would otherwise.

5. Don't have a particular deadline or at least a generous one. If you have a workload that you need done in a certain time very soon you are going to cut corners to make it in time and thus make a crappy product. If you do have a tight deadline make use of what time you have as effectively as possible, and hire more people so you can do more in less time if you need to. This is another one that works in general should be doing.

Do all of these and your adaption will be fine, in fact it's likely to be exceptional.

I'll +1 the notion that a good film adaptation in game form builds on an aspect of the film and uses it as a gameplay drive, I give as example that Jurassic Park game I played on ps2 though is also on pc and xbox:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_Park:_Operation_Genesis

What is the film about? A theme park with dinosaurs?
What's the game about? Building your own theme park with dinosaurs!

It's as cool as it sounds, a theme park game with dinosaurs. The game was solid for a theme game, particularly when it came to graphics for the time (you could even ride around those jurassic park buggies).

And yes, dinosaurs could break out if you were negligent enough or as the result of a storm or something messing with your power ^^ You'd then have to run around in helicopter shooting or tranquilizing dinos as they eat your terrified tourists.

Does this game not sound cool even in concept? :P Game itself as solid as a theme park game, but throw in the license and it becomes one of the good movie tie in games.

Heck come to think of it, Jurassic Park as a franchise was blessed with quite a few decent games, the 2d platformers on 16 bit were cool too.

I think as far as adaptations go, it's always good if you as the adaptor have your own spin on the material to bring in. Like Batman Arkham Asylum and City did with their art direction and character interpretations somewhere between Nolan's and Burton's Films. Plus, you need a keen eye for what makes the source material special. The (Rocksteady-) Arkham games were great because Rocksteady absolutely nailed Batman as a character and in turn the player feels like being the goddamn Batman while playing.

At least if the creators of the source material aren't as involved in video games in general and the development process in particular.

tehroc:
What was wrong with the Ghostbusters game? It wasn't horrible by any means.

I recall Telltale's Back to the Future adventure game being pretty good, too.

Was it just having competent developers, or was it something about the kind of game they chose to make which made it work?

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