VideoGaming Movies, and other Atrocities

May 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

On the face of it, movies made out of the biggest gaming franchises in the world should be a good thing. After all, gamers often feel that their medium is sorely misunderstood by the wider population, and what better way to introduce someone to a videogame than to give them the story in a medium they understand and are familiar with.

Except that’s not the way the adaptations work. Rather than take the stories games tell as a starting point, game-movies will instead choose to take everything but. The upcoming Prince of Persia movie is a prime example. The plot revolves around a king who wants to take the Prince in to be his heir rather than have the crown taken by one of his two biological sons. The sands of time, or any of the plot points from the games for that matter, are conspicuously absent. It tells a story completely removed from any Prince of Persia game I’ve ever played.

So why is it even a Prince of Persia movie? Aside from the Prince himself, the movie seems completely unconnected to the series in every way possible. I’d even go so far as to say the Prince himself is completely different in both mediums, after all he doesn’t even appear to be a prince in the movie (at least not at first).

A more literal adaptation of the games would of course make an awful movie. You’d end up with a film composed of two dozen lines of dialogue, stretched out over a good few hours of time-rewinding (or hand catching depending on your console generation), wall running, and back flipping. If they did anything at all then the two Matrix sequels taught us that this is most certainly not a good idea.

So why does this film even exist? The optimist in me wants to believe that it’s because every single member of the production team on the movie adores the games as much as I do and simply wants to make a movie to showcase the Prince of Persia in all his athletic glory. The realist in me however knows that this simply isn’t the case, that this movie is instead an attempt to milk a seldom-tapped audience of gamers dry, to fill the pockets of men who’ve probably never even heard of the Sands of Time.

But of course it’s not really POP that I’m worried about, but the forthcoming adaptation of one of the most beautiful games ever made, Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus. A game built with its emotional depth surrounding the interactivity of it’s medium will need a much greater amount of care to take to the big screen than any other piece of entertainment. It would need a writer of exceptional skill to pull it off, and not the man behind the recent Street Fighter adaptation.

Just close your eyes and maybe Hollywood will just leave us be, the bastards.

This week Jon’s PS3 broke, so either Sony or a local game shop is going to be over ¬£100 richer pretty soon.

Until he can scrape together the money needed for repairs Viewtiful Joe for the PS2 will save him, with its frantic action and simple, yet undeniably charming puzzles.

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