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    Film and Video Games: The Adaptation Dilemma

    With so many video game franchises scheduled to be turned into major motion picture films over the next couple years, explore the brief history of the video game film adaptation. Take a closer look as to why these types of adaptations haven’t been very successful, answer some of the tough questions like: can a video game to movie adaptation actually work properly? Do the two mediums have enough in common that lend themselves to adaptation? Can upcoming films like Ratchet and Clank, Uncharted, The Last of Us etc. change the trend moving forward? What are the differences of these two mediums?

    • I think it almost goes without saying that Tomb Raider should be looked at with this article and how the films potentially hurt the games coming after that until the reboot in 2013. Wreck it Ralph though would be a good example of how to do the adaptation well, using familiar game characters, but not as the primary protagonists/antagonists. The writer could look at toys, board games, card games that have received movies off the back of their success; I'm thinking of Bionicle, The Lego Movie and even Battleships. It may also be worth looking the other way as well. Film/TV to video games like South Park: The Stick of Truth. – Jamie 9 years ago
    • I know many people in the gaming community who liked Tomb Raider. Angelina was a perfect actress to play the first version of ladies cost. The action could have been better but it wad much better then let's say the Super Mario brothers movie. I think with games having more narration to them adaptation will be easier to do. Perhaps the issue is that Hollywood feels that they do not need to pour as much work into the films because they already have a fan base. This may be true of books but games are different and not every liberty can be taken with then add Hollywood has done... "Battleship" – fchery 9 years ago
    • The biggest challenge is the films give narrative control to the film makers. Games give some or all of it to the audience. If you're watching a film in the theaters, you can't control the cinemotography (space/position) and you can't control the editing (time/pacing). In games, though that's often not the case, usually you have some say over how long the game will be played, how it will be played, whether you want to finish it. Moreover, since designers for many reasons can't anticipate all your actions, they often leave a lot of the character work to you. Did you like FFVII in spite of or because of the blocky figures, which forced you to project all sorts of qualities onto Cloud, Aerith, etc? Remember what happened to Nintendo when it tried to give Samus a lengthier back story in Other M? A game like The Last of Us, might work on film, because the game monopolizes most of the story and character development. Indeed, that might be why adaptations of more recent games will do better than earlier ones because in many cases the player has less discretion over how to interpret the story. That is to say, since so many games try to be "cinematic", adapting them should be easier than prior efforts. – rj2n 9 years ago
    • I completely agree with rj2n. For example, also, how will they create Portal? They are going to make it into a film. The fun of the game was figuring things out as the player and using your own skills and thought process to finish the game. Is an audience just going to sit there and watch? – Jaye Freeland 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Excellent article. This is definitely something that has affected me during various times of my life. Most notably was with a game you referenced heavily in the article: World of Warcraft. A family friend of my parents introduced me to what this game was. I had played Warcraft 3 previously and he had told me this was the next step in that world of characters. I was incredibly intrigued, who wouldn’t be at 13 years old? So I started the free trial and immediately connected to the tasks given and the overall goal of the game itself which is to level up and become the best of the best. Back at that time in 2007 it was much harder to level up in the game than it is now, but I was never the less convinced that my life had been leading me to play this game. It definitely became an obsession. By the time I was 17 I was nearing greatness in the game. I was being collaborative in a guild and we were striving together to complete the next challenge. There were times where I would lay awake from 10pm to midnight just wait for my parents to go to sleep before sneaking back upstairs to sign on for a large 3-4 hour game session in the middle of the night. My addiction got to the point where I lied to my parents and to myself about what it was this game was doing to me. During those years in high school I went from a B average student to a C average. I called in 20 minutes before a shift one day at a grocery store I worked at to quit so I didn’t have to spend just one 9-hour period away from the game. It became a destructive pattern and eventually my parents were able to steer me towards a more constructive path, especially once I was able to get another job later on after I quit the one.

    This is not an easy thing to experience, and it happens everywhere. I still play World of Warcraft, and many other games for that matter, but I am now able to limit my time in those other worlds. If there are any positives to garner from my heavily addicted time, it is that I was able to gain a perspective as to how destructive I could be to myself. I chose to play a video game that much. The game didn’t consume me on its own, I allowed it to. I can’t tell you why I did it, right now I still try to convince myself that it was to enjoy myself, but sadly it always is something more.

    Video Games: The Ups and Downs of a Virtual World

    I had a hard time in finalizing how I felt about Avengers: Age of Ultron. After letting my two screenings simmer for a couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion that I like this sequel better than the original film, even though at the same time I will concede that the first film was an overall better film. Friends have asked me “how the sequel lived up to my expectations” and I’ll be honest, it didn’t. I think what is so impressive about the film is that it gave me an experience I did not think I was going to be getting, and it ended up being better for it. I faced the realization that I did not care what the plot was, all I wanted was to see The Avengers on screen again, and that was the one constant element that was promised to me as a fan.

    Were there some missteps during the film? Sure, the Thor segment fell flat a little bit. Nick Fury’s return came with some question marks as we had no explanation as to where he had come from, what he had been doing, and why he had the eye patch back on. Quicksilver, in spite of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s best efforts, was never going to live up to the version of the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past. And in some spots the CGI just couldn’t hold up because the amount of events happening in one sequence; e.g. Hulkbuster fight. (I still loved it). My biggest disappointment from the film though did not come from the Ultron story at all, it came in the after credits teaser. Marvel is known for creating a short sequence that accurately and effectively promotes and teases future instalments. Thanos’ brief appearance did that to an extent but I was looking for something far more substantial. Something that pointed to Captain America: Civil War which comes out next spring. Maybe that teaser will be after Ant Man, but I guess we’ll have to wait on that one.

    Getting back to the point, I find Age of Ultron has a greater re-watch tag with it. For every one time I watch the first Avengers film, I’ll probably watch this twice. No, it wasn’t a new experience any more, but that is exactly what we did not need. We needed to see more of what we were given and I think we received that, and then some. Ultron and Vision alone make this a better movie for me and there were so many other cool moments along the way that led me to feel this way. Great film, great sequel, and a cool article. I like your comparisons.

    Avengers vs. Age of Ultron: Evolving the Superhero Team

    Personally, I have always experienced an increased agitated emotional state as a response to repetitively failing at a task in a video game. That ranges between all modes whether it be single player stories, co-op based play, or multi-player arena based matches. Most of the games that I own, and plan to own in the future, do involve violence in some capacity. But very rarely do I feel angry or a form of an increased agitated emotion every single time I play one of those games. I think what consumers need to be aware of is that Violent Video Games have the ability to increase aggressive moods and/or emotions. That does not mean it will happen; or, if it does, it does not mean that an individual will possess those feelings outside of the environment that they have already experienced, which is the game itself.

    The biggest time of impact that Violent Video Games can have, I believe, is during childhood. Too many times have I seen parents in front of me at my chosen Video Games retailer buy Gears of War or Grand Theft Auto or other games like those, for a child that is no older than 10. I think more attention needs to be paid to the rating system that ESRB as put forth. There is a reason that certain games are rated M for Mature, and it is simply because those games are not designed to be played by anyone younger than the recommended age. I’m not trying to tell parents and guardians what decision to make, but I want to encourage them to consider why a game is rated a certain way and how it can impact a child.

    The Effects of Violent Video Games: Blasting the Myth