Games have nabbed action and characters from the silver screen, but have forgotten the human element.
See: every WW2 shooter that lifted the Normandy landing from Saving Private Ryan because they thought it was "cool". This is a problem for AAA games, certainly; rooted in a desperate need to be cinematic to ensure sales and disregarding the strengths of the medium. But not a universal one. We do get titles like Ico that do things right. They're just a minority, sadly.
I think the author is forgetting the fact that movies, shows and books ALSO steal these ideas from eachother. When was the last time you saw a movie that was truly original? I can't even remember. He also forgets that not all games have the same purpose. A game like Contra isn't trying to blow you away with its narrative. It's an arcade game.
I don't think the complaint is really "games borrow things from movies and are therefore bad", it's more that some games will basically duplicate a character, scene or apply a trope from a popular movie without understanding why they work (and *that* us bad). When they lift character archetypes, they often forget to follow through on the arcs needed for the character to be interesting. It leads to the story sucking. The Normandy thing I mentioned is symptomatic of it: the scene in Saving Private Ryan meant to be hellish, harrowing, brutal. You're not supposed to look at it and think it's cool or fun. But it's ended up in a half dozen games as a set piece meant to give the player a sense of empowerment. I do disagree a little with the piece railing on Master Chief and Marcus Fenix, because efforts were made by the developers of those respective franchises to give unique emotional depth to them. They didn't do it well, but the attempt was made.
That's the thing. There are good games that nail good characters, but most end up just going for the archetype. No depth and fake character arcs. Because there's nothing wrong with stealing from other mediums (it's called inspiration, so it doesn't sound so bad). But do it properly. See what really makes the iconic characters tick. John Mcclane isn't fun just because he can blow things up (no matter what the more recent movies seem to say).
And Hollywood took it from books, and books took it from historic events.... so? Inspiration has to come from somewhere.
Reread what the article says, than read lucidity's 2nd post above. Then reevaluate your reading comprehensions skills.
I think you guys are missing the point. This guy is saying game writers are just blindly taking ideas because they sound or look cool, instead of why they are important.
What I don't like about this kind of story is that the author often fails to balance the issue with examples of good story writing. Plenty of games deliver solid stories, inspired or not by common tropes. Take Persona 4 as an example. It is a superbly cliché, teen-thriller story, but then it manages to include many taboo subjects in it's character, like homosexuality, gender confusion, suicidal tendencies and objectification. I understand that jrpgs are not what most would call mainstream games, especially not Atlus', but these games still sell well into the 100 000 copies. That is probably more viewers than some art house movies dealing with the same subject matters...
Precseily , i you're gonna accuse the medium as a whole of poor writing , then at least make an effort of judging the whole spectrum ... not some convenient list of popular games . If that kind of dishonesty was applied to movies , we'd be left with only articles criticizing blockbusters such as transformers 1-3 or fast and furious
But movies at least have a rich enough background to ensure that they are impossible to generalize. When it comes to games, the majority still fall on cliches and empty characters. There are good examples, sure, but there are just too many bad ones to ignore.
On the same topic: http://n4g.com/news/1274582...
Well written article and yes is time for games to grow up in terms of story that is integral to the game play.
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