When it comes to movies, games have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Sure, the game industry is making money hand over fist while the movie business seems to shrink a little more each year, but that’s not enough to earn Michael Hollick or Ken Levine a spot on The Tonight Show. A quarter of a million people tune to watch the Oscars every year, and all we’ve got is the Spike VGAs, an award show that deliberately celebrates the most juvenile, self-indulgent and uninformed aspects of the medium. Film critics have a place among the cultural elite, while I’m stuck downplaying my gaming habits in my neglected internet dating profile.
OK, scratch that. Maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder.
But I hope you can see why. It may have taken them a half-century to do so, but movies have earned their reputation as the most culturally significant medium of the 20th century. They went from the borderline pornographic nickelodeons of the 1890s to the Casablancas, Gone with the Winds and Citizen Kanes of the 1930s and ’40s. And while videogames are hopefully on a similar trajectory, they’ve got a ways to go. We’re having enough trouble simply convincing people that they won’t turn their children into mindless killing machines; persuading the non-gaming public of their ability to illuminate the human condition is a pretty tough sell.
It’s annoying to be stuck at the kids’ table, but let’s face it: It’s not really movies’ fault. In fact, videogames might be able to learn a thing or two about storytelling from their more prestigious, less interactive relatives. And if movies want to stay relevant, you’d better believe they’re going to have to keep an eye on videogames for inspiration. This week’s issue of The Escapist, “Hideo Bruckheimer,” is all about this often wary, occasionally enlightening exchange between the old guard and the new. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about how videogames can approximate the dramatic structure of a good film – or at the very least, how movies can prevent another disaster like The Wizard from ever happening again.
Grab some popcorn any enjoy!