The plot and story telling mechanics of video games have taken serious leaps and bounds forward over the last few years. Emotive stories portrayed in a cinematic way, coupled with voice acting, facial animation and the highest level of interactivity we have ever experienced before mean that some games manage to reach a level of immersion that can rival that of the best movies released by Hollywood.
Games have always included a level of involvement that a movie could never offer by their very nature, but in the past, games have been exactly that – games. But now, the games industry is out pacing movies on their own turf, providing stories and experiences that get their hooks into you and guide you through an experience and story that you control. Action/Adventure games can now get your heart racing and get you on the edge of your seat as much as any of the summer blockbuster movies. Titles like Heavy Rain can offer surprises as good as any of Hollywood’s thrillers and get you involved at a much deeper emotional level. Survival Horror games can scare the pants off of many of the gore flicks that hit the silver screen.
A few examples from the last few years are The Walking Dead and The Last of Us – both of which should have been bundled with a bottle of whiskey and a box of tissues to wipe away the tears.
With this in mind, we take a look at 5 movies that would have been much better if they were originally made as games and could have offered a better level of immersion if they were presented on a computer screen rather than the silver screen.
Before I begin, I just want to state that I think Inception is an excellent film. It was well-directed, has masterful turns by Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the cast and the story is riveting. It is still a subject for philosophical debate with friends to this day. My only gripe with the film is – why wasn’t it a game? Everything about the film is designed like a video game would be. There are different “levels”, each with their own theme and features. Weapons and vehicles are just a blink of an eye away. Gravity and time act differently on each level you progress through. Do these not all sound like excellent game play mechanics? Imagine, if you will, what kind of game Inception could have been – it would have been amazing. Blow your socks off amazing. Imagine playing the zero-g fight? Imagine infiltrating the final level’s fortress? Christopher Nolan must have seen the potential there too because he stated himself that he was looking into developing a video game spin-off. It’s a shame that it will probably never come to fruition.
Se7en is another brilliant film filled with top-notch acting and a story line to match. It grips from the first 5 minuets until the credits roll 2 hours later – but done correctly and it could have been an even better game. If designed like an interactive story, think a cross between Heavy Rain and LA Noir, with crime scene investigations and pulling together the plot pieces on your own, this could have been superb.
The Truman Show
Life simulation games are not uncommon these days. Since the release of The Sims, they have been springing up all over the games industry. In these games, we get to control the actions of a virtual set of characters and depict their lives for them by, to some degree, deciding their actions for them – but what if the game was based like The Truman Show. What if the game was designed so that you had to organise everything about a virtual characters life without them knowing about it, but had no control over their actions and they had total free will? The Truman Show could have added a totally different spin on a games genre that is crying out for a breath of fresh air.
Ah yes. The movie that brought to the world the famous “Van Damme Splits”. Timecop is cheesy. It is a “so bad that it’s good” type of film. The problem is, the plot idea was great, the execution of it was terrible. The general premise is that Jean-Claude Van Damme is part of an agency that regulates time travel and he has to chase down a nasty criminal who has ties to his past. This kind of story would play great as a game. Skipping through different time zones, getting to use the weaponry of that particular time period, would be great fun as a FPS or 3rd person adventure game.
This would be Meta enough to blow anybodies mind. Gamer is about a game that is played with real life combatants who are controlled by gamers. The movie is completely based on gaming stereotypes and tropes that it might as well have been a game from the outset. Now imagine that Gamer the movie was actually Gamer the game. Playing a game about somebody playing a game that controls a real life combatant in a game – there are so many mind-boggling connotations that could come of that combination.
What do you think? What movies do you believe would have made better games than movies?