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When Movies Become Games

Posted BY: Level 44, Monday, May 08, 2006, 1:52PM EST

Cutscenes. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve become an integral part of gaming, particularly in the action/adventure, RPG, and FPS genres. While some people love to sit back and enjoy a few minutes of footage, some worry that games are becoming too similar to movies. It’s interesting that the two upcoming next-gen consoles (Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3) seem to represent opposite ends of the spectrum. While Sony and Microsoft prepare for battle for supremacy in the form of Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD technology, Nintendo aims to have its innovation come in the form of actual gameplay.

To be honest, I’m not sure what side I fall on. I recognize the value in both types of games. I certainly don’t need stunning visuals when I’m playing Brain Age, but you can’t make a game based on The Godfather without recreating classic scenes from the original movie. Currently, some of the games I’m most excited about seeing at this year’s show are based on cinematic masterpieces.

John Woo Presents Stranglehold is probably the title I’m most excited about seeing. First of all, if you haven’t seen John Woo’s 1992 film Hard Boiled, you’re missing out on one of the most entertaining action movies of all time. Chow Yun-Fat, who plays Inspector Tequila in the movie, is back playing the same role for Stranglehold. To me, a John Woo movie seems like the perfect inspiration for a game. Certain staples from John Woo movies – guns with infinite amounts of ammo, the ability to manipulate gravity, not dying until you’ve been hit at least 20 times – lend themselves well to a shooting game. Midway’s Stranglehold will be showcased in Petree Hall, and it’s one the first things I plan on seeing.

Similarly, I’m excited to see Scarface: The World Is Yours. I’m sure most people have seen the original movie, so there’s no need to sell you on it. Vivendi recently announced the cast for Scarface. In addition to the legendary Al Pacino, stars ranging from James Woods, to Ice T, to Elliot Gould, to Cheech & Chong are contributing to the game. One of my favorite things about the Godfather game is that you get to fill in holes from the original plot. I’m hoping this game adopts a similar concept.

I’ve yet to be overly impressed with movies based on video games. I always feel as though they either completely abandon the original plot, or leave out things that are too important to the story. However, I welcome the concept of video games based on movies, and look forward to the continuing development of this genre.

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