Gaming vs. The Movie Collapse
In 1993, director Steven Spielberg created an instant classic, one of the greatest movies of all time.
Bringing in a staggering $47 million to box offices across America, Jurassic Park was one of the first pioneers that brought computer generated imagery to the silver screen. Jurassic Park quickly took worldwide success, and is easily known now days for its originality and innovative filmmaking properties. The movie was a success. The idea, and implementation of the idea, had never before been shown or attempted. $47 million idea. Now let’s stay on the same token, and relate it to something that is easily comparable.
Pac-Man was released in 1982, and has sold 7 million copies, putting it at the top for all-time, best- selling videogame. Granted, several hundred different remakes have been given, but the game is solid, and rarely does anyone not know or understand what Pac-Man is. As a favor to ourselves, we go back to entertainment (gaming, music, movies, video) all of the time, trying to find the best and newest, original piece that we think will fit our fancy. Not always does this feat happen to make us laugh (or cry), but on rare occasions we do see our own Jurassic Park film in theatres. And then, sometimes, we see Avatar: The Last Airbender or Catwoman. Yeah, I really just said that.
Critical and financial success is obviously not the goal; entertainment is. Nobody wants to go to an NFL Superbowl and see their favorite team get stomped for 4-5 hours. But I bet a fan that spent money to get there won’t come home saying how much fun they didn’t have. No… the fans will keep watching NFL, and will maybe even go to another game. I have a lot of friends who completely don’t understand or care for stock race cars that drive in circles for hours at a time, but for some reason I find NASCAR quite a rush and enjoy all there is I can learn about it. Nobody will share the same cup of tea every single minute in the day, but when you do agree on a movie or something similar with a friend, the reward is special — kind of like finding a $50 lying on the ground. But what’s truly disappointing, is the fact that we rarely see anymore Jurassic Park movies.
According to Hollywood.com, ticket sales in the U.S. stood at $10.2 billion at the end of 2011 – down 3.5 percent on 2010. There is no hiding the truth that movies have gone downhill. Originality is obviously an issue, but you really can’t say that movies going downhill are to blame on any one thing. So many factors would have to considered, but let’s change the pace a little and revert back to gaming.
Every time I hear from a friend or stop in the mall, I see a new Madden or NBA 2k game — that, or Call of Duty. Now, I’m not going to get into why or why not a game is good or bad, but I will admit, I don’t like rolling with the crowd when I have seen the same two games picking up the most sales in GameStop for the last three years – it’s simply not my thing. I would SO much rather hunt down a Command Center, some SCV’s, some Marines and maybe a Tank or two on the 13 year old game StarCraft. That game simply changed my life; the balance is perfect, the science fiction is amazing, and the plotline was well told and had a very interesting take on a very old idea for its time. Thank god they made StarCraft 2 very good, and I am very pleased with that. But, I don’t see very many of my fellow StarCraft fans playing the sequel. Not only are good ideas being lost in the gaming world because many original ideas have been utilized, but gaming companies and the gaming industry are taking advantage of the moneymakers and chalking out whatever we the people want to see. Anyone who doesn’t see this trend, whether by ignorance or by sheer naivety, stop reading this please. For you and for me. If you have any questions please call 1-800-WHATSACONSOLE?. If you are with me, follow to the next paragraph.
Thanks for taking a breather (if you haven’t already, go ahead). Let’s carry on.
If all of my friends bought Call of Duty tomorrow, there’s a 99% chance that I would go out and buy Call of Duty to play with them. That said, I can buy Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Gears of War, God of War, Pikmin, Zumba Fitness, Guitar Hero, Medal of Honor, Need For Speed, OR Final Fantasy. (Final Fantasy XIII-2, YAY!) No matter what, there is a decent game with your heart sucked to it. I don’t care who you are, if you like videogames, you have a favorite somewhere. Now, I certainly don’t think that everyone everywhere is out there buying NHL 12 or Modern Warfare 3. But I can tell you one thing: the sales show what’s in the lead, and I can promise you, Deus Ex: Human Revolution did NOT take most sales OR get a 10/10 in 2011. Let me just say that I would play Deus Ex EVERY day over playing Modern Warfare 3. There is a creative AI and choice making system (that works) and an absolutely engaging and powerful storyline. You can change your inventory; your weapons; what skills or traits you have; you can hone your movements to take out enemies quickly; you can hone movements to be a sneaky person and hide like a bunny all game. You can do what you want, all the while still playing the Eid0s Montrealinstant classic.
On Call of Duty, you can shoot people. I think the graphics have gotten immensely better and have come a long way, but I was a huge fan of Modern Warfare 2 and I really enjoyed the maps, the gun choices, the campaign was solid and had me nearly crying for my country at a few different times. Overall, I was engaged, and very excited and ready for the next mission. Then the multiplayer kept me busy for almost all of last year. Black Ops came out, and proved to me that you CAN copy a game AND fire an entire development team to make even more money. Oh, and by the way: They brought back Infinity Ward for the newest installment. Tangent aside, I can say that MW3 is a decent game that was made entirely too fast. Not for fun, not to entertain us, not to show us the changes and development that gaming can stride forward with, but to make more cash. Call Of Duty: Black-Ops came out on November 9 of 2010; Modern Warfare 3 came out November 8th of last year. Both games are selling for $59.96. No, not just MW3. Both games.
Now because I’m going to get some hate comments/email from any and everyone, I think I’ll subside from my Call of Duty is bad soapbox and say this.
There are still games out there worth playing. There are still games out there that can prove to us that changes made; improvements; sometimes keeping something the same; new game play mechanics and/or control schemes, and always a fresh-new look on an all-new OR completely unoriginal and used idea, can and still is being made and played for us, the gamers. Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, and Final Fantasy XIII are three great examples of incredible videogames. All three pull the player in, and for different reasons, showing the one at the helm that you can find and discover new items or characters, you can change your clothes, save your allies, and kill your enemies. All three games display incredible imagery and graphics, and can draw the player in for hours. On the other hand, Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, and the guitar hero series, are three great examples of solid games. One of those three I absolutely love and adore and play all the time, but all three are the same face with new makeup. How many times do we have to see the same red lipstick on this face, only to realize that it’s getting boring?
As a consumer and fellow gamer, I am strongly worried for the game industry as a whole. I am not saying Call of Duty, Madden, and Lord of the Rings RPG games are going to be the demise of the industry, but I am saying that without a doubt, originality has been slightly shoved aside for a money-making tool that many developers and publishers alike are sucking the benefits from. Should you stop buying Call of Duty every year? No… but what if every gamer who owned a copy of Call of Duty also bought a different game that they hadn’t tried before? Maybe Crackdown, or Sly Cooper? Maybe an Uncharted game for the Playstation 3 or an Xbox exclusive title, like Halo: Reach? I don’t want to preach and pray that things would change or get better, but I think gaming would be a different world and that games would find their own new path and/or way of telling a story, rather than attempting to recreate (and usually fail) at a sequel or remake instead of making something fresh and new? If there ever was a reason that gaming was going to plummet to its demise, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a developer making a bad game in order to drive sales year in and year out wouldn’t be on top of the list of items that truly helped it along that path.
And let’s be honest, if you can’t buy your favorite game, if you can’t find that amazing RPG that you tell your friends about every time you guys chat, why are you going to keep playing at all? Don’t buy something because everyone else is. Do what you love, enjoy what you do. Play what you want! I’ll lend you my copy of Human Revolution! Don’t buy Hangover II just because Sally said it’s her favorite movie. You’d watch it first, and then decide on buying it. I invite you to watch Jurassic Park, and if you’ve seen it already, I invite you to see a movie in theatres that you’d normally tell your mother looked ‘really dumb’.
You may be surprised.