Video Games are more like Books than Films

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Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Pitch Hitter » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:25 am

I've said it before but it's still true. And the theory revolves around the involvement of the user. The reader and the player are both active participants in ways that the viewer is not. They put more of themselves into the content. A film is the same to everyone, but a book and a video game are both very personal.

Some more similarities and differences that support the theory.

- Length of time to consume. A film is almost always watched all at once, a book is very rarely consumed this way, as is the game.
- Education. You don't need to learn a skill to be able to watch a film, however you need to be able to play video games and you need to be able to read to experience games and books.
- A first person perspective. Obviously this only applies to books and video games in first person.

Of course there are some ways in which video games are like films.

- Creation by group rather than one person. Huge teams are needed to create the largest games and films, whereas the biggest book can be written by one person.
- They are set in the now. They are unfolding in the present, whereas most books are told as if the events happened in the past. Present tense vs past tense.
- Both on a tv.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby GUTCHUCKER » Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:03 am

Yeah, so?
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby DonRetrasado » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:13 pm

Can you provide an example?
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Jiro » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:07 am

I agree but I don't know why.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Pitch Hitter » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:10 am

Jiro wrote:I agree but I don't know why.


Because of all my excellent reasons.

DonRetrasado wrote:Can you provide an example?


I don't play that many games, this year I only played five AAA games of which three were released this year, Assassins Creed Brotherhood (I also played Revelations), Skyrim, Arkham Asylum and Portal 2. I read a lot of books though not a lot of fiction.

It's hard to provide an example given that I'm talking about an entire medium. But let's take Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, it's a sandbox game, you are Ezio Auditore, you progress through renaissance Rome saving the city from the controlling Borgia family. In the game you have certain missions you have to complete, but you have a lot of freedom in the way that you go about it. You can choose to be stealthy and try not to alert the guards to your presence, or you can skip the ten minutes of sneaking around and get to when you inevitably fuck up and they all start chasing you anyway. Now, the game has given you choice, but you still do the important actions, the narrative actions that move the story forward. The periphery is given to you, like in a book. Not every location or face is completely described. The book gives you some visual freedom, the game gives you some active freedom.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Kaharz » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:39 am

What about an on-rails shooter? Is that more like a book than a film?

I think that they are all their own types of media with many different styles and genres in each and comparing them is rather pointless.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Edminster » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:46 am

The important thing to remember is that videogames cannot in any way be considered art.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Pitch Hitter » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:30 pm

Kaharz wrote:What about an on-rails shooter? Is that more like a book than a film?



Most games aren't on-rails shooters. But even they still have personal points, how quickly you managed to get the crosshairs in the right place, which places you chose first, how many times you failed.


Kaharz wrote:I think that they are all their own types of media with many different styles and genres in each and comparing them is rather pointless.


Well yes, obviously they are different, but I don't think there is no value in comparing them. Applications of ideas like these help improve the medium, I'm expressly looking at video-games in this. A lot of people consider calling a game "cinematic" a compliment, when I don't think it should be, a game should play to the strengths of the medium and talking about and comparing with other mediums helps examine what those are. Games are still developing as an art-form, it's incredibly valuable to discuss them even if I don't make video games.

And the whole point of seeing that there are different styles and genres and thinking about what links them and such is to see how different they are and how similar they can be and what they can borrow from various mediums.

Edminster wrote:The important thing to remember is that videogames cannot in any way be considered art.


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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Keef » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:54 am

I think I have to agree with Pitch Hitter here. The majority of video games are closer to books than they are to movies. I suppose you could consider video games interactive movies, but that's what people said about books when I was a kid. What's more, I've seen more creativity in the production of games than I've seen in movies period. The only movies that ever come close are epics like Lord of the Rings, and even those movies lacked the scale and depth of expression presented in the books. Books, movies, and games are each their own art form by my definition. Each have their own merits and their own limitations and I love them all for my own reasons. That said, there are exceptions to every rule.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Lethal Interjection » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:06 am

Keef wrote:I think I have to agree with Pitch Hitter here. The majority of video games are closer to books than they are to movies. I suppose you could consider video games interactive movies, but that's what people said about books when I was a kid. What's more, I've seen more creativity in the production of games than I've seen in movies period. The only movies that ever come close are epics like Lord of the Rings, and even those movies lacked the scale and depth of expression presented in the books. Books, movies, and games are each their own art form by my definition. Each have their own merits and their own limitations and I love them all for my own reasons. That said, there are exceptions to every rule.



Either you haven't seen the right movies or I haven't played the right games.
I'm guessing its on your end, based solely on your use of LOTR as an example. It is one, but it wouldn't rank in my top 25 creative films.
That said, I do agree with the last few sentences. I don't think comparison behooves any of the genres. Games are still kind of emerging as a credible artform, so the want for comparison is understandable. But games have also come far enough that the comparison isn't really applicable.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Pitch Hitter » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:49 am

Well I think my statement stands in as much as comparison is valid.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Keef » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:53 am

Eh, I've got LOTR on the brain since I'm re-reading the books right now. Been over a decade, thought I could use a refresher.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Lethal Interjection » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:26 am

Pitch Hitter wrote:Well I think my statement stands in as much as comparison is valid.


Yours did seem adequate.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Dindong » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:49 pm

Well looks like someone agrees with me. About halfway down the second page he gets to my point.

And of course, it doesn't add anything to an argument that someone respected also believes it, but it doesn't take anything away. It's just nice to know other people have thought about this.
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Re: Video Games are more like Books than Films

Postby Eisbreaker » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:56 pm

Dude, everyone had thought about this.
Everyone who consumes media other than videogames regularly, anyway.
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