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Op-ed: Why aren’t video game movies good?

Why aren’t video game movies good? Well he comes back to the experience of what a videogame is. Experience is very much in the players control and in doing so is very open ended to the players choice and outlook. Fundamentally, different people have different experiences playing the same video game.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a director. Let’s say they have this amazing experience with a video game that they want to translate to a movie. The problem from the very beginning is they can’t see past their own perspective. Their version of the experience of the video game is unique to them. This is a potential clash or source of psychic dissonance because every consumer of the static medium of the movie is expecting it to reinforce their own perspective of the experience.

I think this really applies to any time an open ended medium is translated to a static medium. Books don’t necessarily have this problem since there is defined roles of the author who is the creator and in control of the experience. A reader is accepting the perspective of another individual. This is different with video games since the player may view themselves as the author and originator of perspective since their actions directly interact and control the medium. In a way playing a video game is writing the story of a players perspective.

Well, what makes a great video game movie like Jumanji. Jumanji works because it isn’t a translation. It adapts the idea and concept of playing a video game instead of adapting the narrative of perspective. This is because it tells the story of a video game player instead of being a story from a played video game. This works because the shift in narrative role abandons the pre-existing baggage of player expectation and experience.