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Film drama spin-offs:The next step in video games?

Posted at 12:59 PM on May 15, 2006 by Euan Kerr

Weekend America raised a disquieting possibility Saturday. In a piece following up on the annual video game expo in LA, a guest pointed out that Hollywood financiers expect that any action film will have a video game spin-off. What was disturbing was his prediction that soon there will be a similar expectation of video games from dramas too.

Key to this will be new sensors, probably worn in some sort of headgear, which will allow a computer to read a gamers emotional response, and then adjust accordingly. Rather than trying to blow the bejabbers out of something or other, which is the usual way of the video game world, a gamer would have to get involved and relate to the experience in the story.

Still, it's hard to think how this would actually work.

What, for example, would the video game of "The Squid and the Whale" look like? Play the roles of the kids trying to survive in a dysfunctional family as the parents divorce? Maybe you could play to see how ill-behaved and/or criminal you can be before either the parents or the law step in. Or do you play one or other of the parents as you try to win the kids love at the expense of the ex?

Or how about "Momento?" It might be interesting for a while to lose your short term memory, as long as you remember at some point you just are playing a game, and so can stop.

How would "Brokeback Mountain - the video game" play out? "Crash" would seem to have gaming possibilities, but "Capote" presents difficulties.

There are always the classics of course. How about a "Citizen Kane" game where you build a newspaper empire while isolating yourself from all your friends. Kubrick offers a lot of fairly unpleasant possibilities through all of his movies from "Lolita" and "Clockwork Orange" all the way to "Eyes Wide Shut." Perhaps this would be an unwise path to follow.

The problem is with many dramas is the protagonists often get themselves in trouble by making certain choices, and it could be all to easy in a video game just to get yourself out of the pickle in question.

There must be SOME film dramas out there primed to become video games, but I am coming up a little short.

May 2006
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