Videogames and the audiovisual record

On April 5th, the film of Super Mario Bros., based on the famous video game saga. And the truth is that the opinions about it are somewhat different. Some of the viewers have adored it but, on the other hand, there is another part of the public that has been reluctant to see the film and has not liked it. Because? A wide range of these “dissatisfied” have been complaining that the story is too simple and childish, which is logical, since children are the target audience of the film.

Many of those reticent and dissatisfied go along the line that movies that are adapted to videogames have never been good and, although I disagree in the case of this new release, it is true that It is very complex to make a good movie about videogames..

It is known that, as a digital medium, video games tell a story and have a narrative, as is the case with series and movies. So why are there so many titles that have been forgotten or that we want to forget, for its bad adaptation to the big screen?

When we play a video game we actively participate in the story, we become the protagonist and we are the ones who live those adventures. There are many types of players and ceach one of them plays in a different way. There are some who go to the difficult, others who stop even in the smallest detail to find out about everything that surrounds the game… Each one has a different game dynamic. It is very difficult to express in a single register, the cinema or series, all those decisions and actions that we carry out in games. With the audiovisual we consume and we are mere spectators, while, when we play we are the protagonists.

That being said, beyond the feeling of being a mere spectator and not participating, then there are the maladaptations. A case that gives a lot to talk about, are adaptations of fighting video games. The story is never very there and the narrative development is as flat as you can find.

We also have films like the highly criticized case of the Prince of Persia. Not only it doesn’t feel playable or respect the world rules of that game, but they choose a handsome American to play the protagonist, a Persian. When will Hollywood learn to use actors who correspond to the origin of the character.

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Jake Gyllenhaal playing the Persian. – Source: Prince of Persia.

The same thing happened with that failed attempt to make a movie about the very famous saga. Assassin’s Creed. The game has an amazing narrative context, there were tons of tools they could have used… Finally everything was left in a failed blockbuster because hardly anyone was able to swallow that nonsense. Not to mention the failed creative licenses to create the entire Abstergo theme…

As a saga, not only of video games, but also of movies, we have tomb Raider and Resident Evil. The fame of these sagas did not shine for their quality, but for theiryour stunning protagonists, that attracted the gaze of a high percentage of men. Although it is also true that, in terms of quality, these two sagas They have felt more consolidated and with a better trajectory. What’s more, recently, they released a new version of tomb Raider without Angelina Jolie, but with Alicia Vikander. They certainly knew how to rescue and extrapolate the feeling of the games quite well. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Resident Evil, Netflix opted to make several adaptations that have generated quite a few tensions in the fandomnot only because of the content that is changed but because nothing is coherent anymore.

An adaptation that is in that limbo of: is it good? is it bad? Is silent hillthe film extrapolates the narrative well and provokes sensations similar to the game, but that playable aspect is still missing where we are who we fled from hostile beings and we solve all those puzzles that we are meeting in different places.

It should be noted that many of the titles mentioned are already old. Little by little, the paradigm of video game movies is changing. The work of game designers is already being taken as a reference to generate the sensations that you live in the game, even though you are telling a story.

One of those cases is sonicthis new movie saga has come to stay. It is true that he did not start in the best way, since the version of Sonic’s model in its beginnings was somewhat ugly. Fortunately they listened to the public and modified and raised a proposal the sea of ​​enjoyable.

Another case was also that of detective pikachuwhich adapted an alternative video game to the pokemon saga, but that integrated all those elements that make games so enjoyable. Not to mention that adaptation to real life of its magical creatures.

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Pikachu facing off in a tough battle against Charizad. – Source: Detective Pikachu.

And finally, to talk about one of the closest success stories, The Last Of Us, the television series adaptation of a game saga very famous for its narrative weight. How it was created and everything that counts it has been made with study and careknowing how to generate sensations that you empathize with the protagonists as if you were controlling them. Many of the confrontations are capable of generating the same tension as if you had to face them.

I have been talking about how the audiovisual has not treated well nor has it fully adapted that feeling of freedom that you have when playing a game but, let’s talk about video games about moviesthat this is another melon to open.

It is true that today few video games are based on movies, and if they do see the light, they are usually small proposals related to animated films. But, how to forget those mythical video games based on movies. And I’m not saying mythical as something positive, but something worth remembering for its creative licenses to make them playable and those graphics that are to throw your hands over your head.

First I want to mention the game saga of Harry Potter, where we have more than one adaptation to different consoles of each of the films. The ones I want to highlight the most are the Harry Potter from the PS1, where the quality of the graphics were not abundant back then and have given us a number of memes which are still in use today. Another one that I want to mention, especially relating it to a personal experience, is the Nintendo game from the fourth movie. How complicated it was! Maybe I wasn’t skilled, but those controls were going to drive me crazy. Although no more than the fact use spells I’ve never heard of and were invented solely for this game. Luckily they have known how to do well with it Hogwarts Legacyat least from the gameplay and adaptation.

Scene from the video game «Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone». – Source: PlayStation.

Another line of films highly adapted to video games have been disney movies. With the advent of the GameBoy and the PlayStation both 1 and 2, there was a boom in which as soon as the DVD with the movie went on sale, they announced the game. The adaptations weren’t all bad, but the games were very repetitivemost of them were platforms that constantly repeated the same pattern of challenges.

Interestingly, the cases I just mentioned are from the 2000s, but hehe custom of transferring films comes from the origins of videogames. the famous company Atariwas in charge during the late 70s and early 80s of making video game adaptations of the most famous movies, such as Indiana Jones (title adapted to video games on more than one occasion). It’s more, so many movie adaptations to video games almost doom them. The videogame ET It was an absolute failure, practically unplayable, what’s more, such was the sales catastrophe that they buried the game in a landfill in New Mexico.

So not only do movies mismatch video games, but vice versa as well. This is what happens when you try to change the narrative resource from one medium to another. It’s hard to keep everyone happy and the original is often missed. With this reflection, I am not saying that adaptations should not be madeWhat’s more, I’m delighted. What I want to reflect is the importance of pampering and taking care of the content. You have to know how each medium works and what is most important when it comes to externalizing the content of each one. You have to know how to balance the content, as they do in the movie Mario. It is a somewhat archetypal film for children, but I, as an adult, have enjoyed it and I have felt that I was playing from my seat in the cinema.

So: Is there a video game adaptation that you have loved or hated? Or video game based on a movie that you will always remember?

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