You might know RaygunBrown from his comments here on Kotaku, or from his frequently hilarious Twitter, but today he’s ‘letting off some steam’, by writing about movies and how video games have drained his enthusiasm down to a non-existent trickle!
Take it away Mr RayGun…
Movies Were Murdered By Video Games And I Gladly Disposed Of The Body
One afternoon in 1983, my father took me along to our local cinema. The yellow snack stand was filled to the brim with artery-clogging ‘food’ and the tickets were maybe only a couple of dollars. We stood in the lobby, choc-tops in hand, and he asked me to choose between the two films that were showing. Since I owned an Empire Strikes Back washcloth, it was only natural that I chose Return Of The Jedi. Which was good since the other movie was Superman III.
As far as I know, this is the earliest memory of going to see a movie that I have. There are others of course, an entire audience singing the Ray Parker Jr. song over the end credits of Ghostbusters, being blown away by the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and feeling more than a little freaked out by the ‘spider-walk’ sequence in the special re-release of The Exorcist. But that afternoon of Return Of The Jedi stays with me. It was special. Alongside these memories has been my history with video games. I cried like a little girl when my Commodore 64 was scheduled to arrive a day later than promised, I skipped school to play Operation Wolf and devised an out-of-our-minds idea that two friends and I buy a Sega Megadrive together. How would ownership rights have been settled between three fourteen year-olds?
Both movies and games were of great importance to me growing up. But in recent years, perhaps due to video games becoming ever more sophisticated, I find that movies are lagging behind. In virtually all aspects of entertainment, movies no longer hold the same appeal as video games. A movie could be bursting at the seams with awards & acclaim, have lines around the block and people recommending it to me until they’re blue in the face but my reaction is typically one of apathy and slight derision. Whereas if you tell me that fourth-tier character Kenshi is coming to Mortal Kombat, then I’ll run around the house laughing maniacally like an early-nineties Nicolas Cage.
Thankfully, I don’t think I’m alone in this boat. Judging from how much money Call Of Duty sales generate every single minute, a ton of other folks seem to have a similar outlook to some extent. That said, the most surprising thing about it is how little it bothers me. Regardless of what you thought of the actual film, if you had told my teenage self that when a brand new Indiana Jones movie would be released and my reaction immediately was ‘Meh, I’ll get around it to seeing it I suppose’, my teenage self would have keeled over dead. Sure, I’m glad this paradox never happened but my level of concern in regards to missing out on the most apparently brilliant movies nowadays is slim to none.
Movies and video games grew up alongside me like two best friends. But since one is now leaving the other in the dust in terms of entertainment, should I be worried? About what exactly? I’m not about to pay upwards of fifteen dollars to leave my comfortable couch to travel to a shopping centre full of hipster punks and middle-aged weirdos who still don’t understand the concept of not displaying Gilbert Gottfried levels of annoyance just to experience the latest footage of a series of explosions and lens flares that has a plot attached to it. For the same amount of money, I can reward a small games developer by downloading their six-to-eight hour game and have my mind opened up a little more while doing it.
Is it simply because video games are interactive? Probably. Interrogating a suspect in LA Noire is a great deal more satisfying than simply observing an actor perform the same action while I stuff my mouth with popcorn. It becomes a much more positive and memorable experience. You can certainly argue that both movies and video games don’t have to be mutually exclusive but I’ve gradually realised that this is more often than not the case for me personally. I’ll shake my fist at not being able to afford that new release game for another two weeks but the last time I went to the movies was to see GI Joe: Rise Of The Cobra. And that was only because I was only dragged along by friends.
Perhaps it’s deeper than that. People who play video games are sometimes referred to by that awful label ‘gamer’. Yet nobody who goes to their cinema once a week is called a ‘movie-watcher’. That would be ridiculous because everybody goes to the movies. There’s no need for them to be labelled. Is it some kind of subconscious rebellion on my part then? An internal reaction to video games being looked down upon and unfairly blamed for violence by people who don’t play them? If so, my subconscious is pretty awesome.
Going to the movies used to be a magical experience. An event to look forward to and revel in. But video games have killed them dead. Is this a small tragedy? Maybe when I’m on my deathbed I’ll regret not seeing James Cameron’s Avatar on the big screen but for the moment, if your movie doesn’t have Batman in it then you won’t be seeing my money. I’ll be over here playing video games.