Reflection Time: Video Games & Films

Recently Extra Life nominated me for the the Sunshine Award.  It made me smile as I appreciate the thought. But strangely, I was having a hard time answering his questions as I don’t have strong opinions about the film industry generally even though I have watched a handful of good films in my lifetime. I think I am a rather picky person when it comes to films.  If a film fails to grab my attention within the 30 minutes, I just quit watching it.  I have more patience with games than films because they are interactive. His questions, however, made me reflect about games and its relation to films and how I feel about it as a consumer. So I write my thoughts here and skip the tagging since I couldn’t answer some of the questions properly.

Back in 2011, I took Silent Cinema course  not necessarily because I am a film enthusiast, but I needed the credit.  To my surprise, I am really glad I did because I enjoyed the course a lot. I learned how films evolved overtime from something that was used for scientific purposes to entertaining the masses. In the early 1900s, the average person include the working class begin to have more time to watch films. It was a great escape and a cheap alternative to vacation. Similarly, I can see how video games can offer the same instant gratification. I enjoy traveling, but I was never the type who have a lot of energy in the first place.   Video games allow my brain to roam and since I’m the introvert type, I do enjoy doing single activities, which unfortunately society called people like me anti-social, which in truth, I don’t suffer from social anxiety and can be quite sociable. I just prefer some alone time to function as a proper human being. But of course, I’m one type of consumer. Some people play games causally and to past time. And there’s nothing wrong with that!  I remember a friend asked me to bring my Wii because I wouldn’t visit her without it. She actually really enjoyed playing games with me. We had a good time. Video games, despite its bad connotation as a social deviant activity, it is actually replacing films and becoming the new form of entertainment for the masses. There are different types of games for people to enjoy like how there are different types of music for people to listen.  So the term”gamer” is kind of outdated because it no longer distinguishes a particular group of people from the rest of the society as if there is something wrong with gamers. The correct term these days, might just be a gaming enthusiast.

Taking Silent Cinema course, made me understand why Last of Us was so successful and why it is appealing. It has that film aesthetic and the gameplay is extremely casual.  I could play the game during the weekdays after work without putting a lot of mental energy into completing it. Therefore, I think the game deserves it success, although I don’t think the medium should be ashamed of itself and try to morph into something else more mature (film). Video game has the potential to grow.  Don’t try to change its essence, which boils down to gameplay. This really got me thinking why I prefer Japanese games over western games. Japanese games are more experimental and don’t throw away the “gameplay” aspect even though it tried to imitate films (Silent Hill series is the perfect example).  However, Japanese developers can learn a lot from western developers. I find western games to be more realistic and honestly I prefer the realistic style over the animated cute style. But that’s just preference.

I have some friends who are more than a decade older than me. I get along with them pretty well. My new friend from work is a very beautiful, intelligent woman in her 60s. She was once a manager for a video store. She watched hundreds of films during that time she worked there so she can sell them. I have been discovering good films and books because of her lately.  She has good taste. We both have the same personality actually.  Unfortunately, it’s the age difference that set us apart. Lack of knowledge about games make it hard for older folks to  accept video game as a respectable medium. I believe some games do have the same aesthetic as great films.  I am pretty sure when I am her age, I can see myself becoming an expert in games and most likely still play video games (quality games). Then I can see myself becoming critical of the younger generation for the lack of taste in entertainment. Whatever the future holds, who knows.

I will end this post by answering one of Extra Life’s questions. My favorite film decade is probably the 1960s.  I love watching old shows such as Come Drink with MeBreakfast Tiffany’s and The Twilight Zone. When it comes to animation, I like anything from the 1980s.  But honestly, anything that have thoughtful dialogue would instantly captivate me.  To me, great art is timeless and it doesn’t belong to a certain era.