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Are video games superseding films as mainstream entertainment?


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:41 PM

Don't get me wrong, I love films.  I love working on films.  But I'm also an avid gamer, and it seems like games reach far more younger audiences than any movie can ever hope.  

 

I'm wondering if maybe video games are now the premier entertainment for the key film demographic, and what that means for the film industry.

 

Anyone with any thoughts?


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 02:45 PM

They've certainly long been drawing on the same skillsets in terms of production design, lighting, camerawork and writing.


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#3 George Ebersole

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:42 PM

Sure, but what about the audience.  Do you think kids play more games or spend more on games than on movies?


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#4 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:07 PM

Unfortunately, they're doing both. While consuming potato chips and soda pop, their asses growing larger every year.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:46 PM

Kids certainly spend more time and more money on video games than movies, primarily because video games last into the tens of hours (I myself have played skyrim on down times for a few hundred hours... especially when I'm sick). But this isn't to say that movies will disappear, or that games are mainstream entertainment. The difference with a movie is that it's designed for a mass audience. However, with a game it's really only yourself and a few selected friends. Film effect a culture as a whole with a very similar experience. But, my experience playing say, Skyrim will be different than yours because we didn't in fact interact and have the same game. Yes, the narrative is unchanged and fixed in a game, but the way in which we do it varies. In a more straightforward game, like say Call of Duty, it's more about the online play component which isn't narrative based in the way a film is. I can tell you about a cool match I may have had, but it doesn't mean much because you haven't seen the match, certainly not in the same way which I have.

This isn't to say that film interpretations for all people are the same, they are not, but they are really seeing the exact same shots in the same order, which is something you do not get with video games.

What perhaps is a more interesting comparison, as it competes on the same screen, is whether or not video games are really superseding TV. A movie is shown in a theater, normally, or with friends-- but there is an emphasis on a communal and broad interaction. However, with TV shows, you're often watching them on your own, in your house- much the same as when you're playing a video game. You can tell your friends about an episode you saw which they didn't but as with video games, since they didn't see what you saw, in a literal way, it would be a similar interaction. And when we speak of "main stream" we really are meaning culture as a whole, I assume, so this lack of direct ability to interact with what has been (seen or played in tv -v- video games) will probably have similar sociological responses.

 

There's my rumination on it now off for another coffee.


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#6 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:58 AM

Adrian, that's a good reply.  The reason I brought up movies is because over the last 20 years the demographic for films, and I mean the big budget stuff, has been lowered more and more.  You don't see big budget films aimed at adults anymore.

 

Example; In the 1960s Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were shoved into Cleopatra, and that movie was aimed at adults, and was the Star Wars of its time.  But you didn't hear younger audiences talk about it or similar films.  Or, rather, you don't see big budget productions aimed at the 30+ audience anymore.  Now it's all about comic book movies.

 

I wonder what will happen to television.


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 09:49 AM

Personally, I think this is kind of cyclical. I have very little evidence with which to back this up, but I personally think tht there is a time period when hollywood trends towards huge "blockbusters," and then people get sick of them and hollywood trends back towards "indies."

Were it not 749 in the morning I'd look over some titles, but it seems to my very unscientifically that you get these little trends generally once every 10 or so years reaching their apex.


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#8 Maximilian Hillmer

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:55 AM

You're right, adrian. These are usually periods in which a particular kind of film is established.
However, video games have their own fascination and you have to wait for what the time says.

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#9 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:15 PM

Spielberg stated in the article that games didn't have an empathetic narrative.  I think that's partially right.   Films/TV dictate that narrative a lot more directly than games.  I think games ferret out narrative in players.


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#10 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:53 PM

Spielberg stated in the article that games didn't have an empathetic narrative.

 

Which article was that?

 

 

When we watch a film,  empathy means we have an imaginative participation in the creation of the experience.  We could also say that about games,   just that some less subtle layers of awareness become hyperactive.  And participation in the narrative shifts to a similarly less subtle partial authorship.

 

So I'm interested to see how Spielberg defines empathic narrative.


Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 13 June 2013 - 07:54 PM.

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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:03 AM

It's in the Lucas-Spielberg article on the future implosion of the major studios.


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