Box Office Bust-Up

The original video for Michael Jackson's Thriller was never this interesting, as far as I recall

Before you ask, no – the title isn’t referring to a new Leisure Suit Larry DLC being released, featuring a brand new breast augmentation mini game (although that would be pretty sweet). It’s actually about something entirely different but I’ll get to that. First of all let me tell you a little tale…

Gaming has always been an important part of my life. The joy of receiving a second hand Master System II off my aunt as a kid, only to find out that Alex Kidd’s Miracle World was closer to a Tragedy Island. Playing Super Mario 64 for two solid hours on a Toymaster demo N64 (whatever happened to Toymaster? Warhammer, Action Man and demo consoles all under one roof? Amazing). My first experience on a Playstation; crying into my controller at the ending of Final Fantasy IX. These are all moments that are held in a part of my brain labelled “special memories”. But as time goes on, that part of my brain has shifted from a full sock drawer of emotion to an empty, dust filled attic of apathy. Games have become little more than a fun pass-time. Gone are the heart wrenching cinematics; the sheer awe of having a whole new dimension of space to move in. Jumping in glee as I finally, finally beat that boss that keeps killing me in a variety of humiliating ways (ok, so that one might still happen from time to time – Damn you Wesker, stop catching my rockets and die!). Gone are all the precious memories.

Long long ago in an igloo far away... the Sega Master System II started it all

Is it because modern games are shit? Far from it, computer games are steadily improving on every level, whether it be graphics, dialogue or gameplay.

Is it me that’s changed? Possibly. Things I used to hold dear as a kid infuriate me now; (slightly) increased social awareness has changed how I feel about things and an improved vocabulary means I can sniff out a shoddy script from a mile away.

Is it because games are getting too generic? No, there are plenty of games with rich, compelling story lines (Mass Effect, Bioshock) and genre defining gameplay (CoD4: Modern Warfare) still being made.

So what is the problem? I’ll tell you. The problem is that games are trying to be movies or, to be more precise, blockbuster movies. The sort of film where you sit back, zone out, throw popcorn at your face for an hour and a half and forget that cars don’t instantly explode when they hit a tree/wall/small animal. Sure these films are great at the time but they don’t leave any sort of emotional, or even memorable, mark and now a lot of games are trying to emulate this. Both Modern Warfare games are prime examples. Sure the set pieces were stunning while playing through the game, but I couldn’t name a single one that left any sort of lasting impression on me and don’t even get me started on the laughable storyline spanning both games. There used to be a time when films based on games had to make up entirely new plots because there wasn’t enough narrative to fill a 90 page script, but now games seem to be designed with the intention of a movie being made from it. Take Dead Space for example – granted it’s a bad example since Dead Space itself is an amalgamation of many famous horror movies but bear with me. Roughly half a year after release, EA announced that a movie based on Isaac’s adventures was to be made. I may just be cynical, but half a year after the games release? I’m starting to smell some monetary beef here. And if that’s not bad enough, even the fucking Sims is getting a movie based on it. How is that even possible?

Games may be losing their cinematic feel and yet, ironically, cinema box office sales took a massive blow which was attributed to the release of Halo 3. Keep your eyes peeled for "Halo 4 - Destroy All Ushers"

I remember a time when games were games and films were films. Whenever something awesome happened in a game, I remembered it as a great gaming moment but now when something awesome happens in a game, I can never quite remember if it was something I did or if I just watched it in a cut scene. There are the odd exceptions though, as with everything. The most important being Metal Gear Solid 4. One of the only modern games to leave a lasting impression on me for a specific reason. I’ll preface this with a spoiler alert so I don’t get castrated for ruining someone’s playthrough (but if you haven’t finished MGS4 yet you pretty much deserve to have the ending ruined)


Now that’s out of the way, the button mashing crawl through the microwave corridor near the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 was brilliant, watching all the characters I’d grown to love (or at least tolerate) throughout the series, fighting against near impossible odds as Snake – one of the coolest, badass heroes ever committed to computer games – visibly weakens with every step towards his final goal elicited a genuine emotional response the likes of which I hadn’t received from a game in a long time. It was a work of cinematic genius…

Last five articles by Iain



  1. Lorna Lorna says:

    Great first article, Iain and couldn’t agree more…games are striving to become more filmic, often to the detriment of the game. How the hell can they be making a film based of Dead Space?! There is already one in existence and it is called Event Horizon ffs!

    Finding special gaming memories has been harder now that I’m all grown up…even returning to some of the games that held treasured memories for me is a rather odd experience. A few months ago, I switched on my brick-like original Game-Boy and fired up SuperMarioLand…a game which took me an age to complete with much loss of life etc. I breezed through it in no time, barely dying. I remembered how to kill all the bosses, even remembered where some of the hidden rooms and shortcuts were (not bad for a game that I got in about 1990/1991). Oh, it brought back memories…the music made me grin and tear up with nostalgia for a happy time, long past; the sound effects and even the greeny GB screen and gameplay were great…but I was amazed at how easy I found it. I remembered the game going on forever and being tough as boots.

    It is the same with other games…even my number one Speccy game of Chuckie Egg…I whizzed through to about level 16 or 17 in no time on my emulator a few days ago. It took me ages to perfect that as a kid until I was expert. Either it is just because I have improved as a gamer or that the muscle memory of those favourite games never leaves. Anyway…memories are special – those from childhood gaming more so, and somehow, though I may be wrong, I don’t see myself tearing up in twenty years over Assassin’s Creed or Scene It…maybe it is the games, but I think it is probably more to do with me… where I am in life, what is happening, and what the memories ‘attach to’.

  2. Iain says:

    Haha I remember seeing a trailer for Pandorum with a fellow gamer who started saying “that is such a blatent rip off of Dead Space, *rah, rah, rant*”. I laughed and pointed out that Dead Space was the bastard child of Alien, Event Horizon and The Thing.

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I admit to almost choking on my tea when I first read the line about a Sims movie, so I toddled over to Google to see what I could find out about it. Un. Believable. That they even considered it is bad enough, but the premise for the story just had me shaking my head with mouth agape as I can’t imagine anyone that I know actually wanting to sit down and spend 90 minutes of their life (assuming they can stretch it that far) being bombarded with such dreadfulness. When I read that one interviewer mentioned to the producer that it sounded like Weird Science and his retort was that it was exactly like Weird Science… can you say admitted plagiarism??

    I loved the intro to Fable 2, it was beautiful. Cinematic but gamey at the same time. I really must trademark “gamey”.

  4. Rook says:

    I thought the lack of remembering game moments was down to me getting older and my memory going, or possibly because I’m getting older and my memory is going. :p

    There have been times when I’ve heard people talk about gaming moments or the ending of a game, and I’m thinking, I don’t remember that. So maybe it is the games and I’m not losing it after all.

    And I did not read the last paragraph for fear of spoiling the end of MGS4, even though I can’t see me beating it. I stopped playing after completing the first act as I was bored.

    I think your next blog should be more about the breast game.

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    He could call it Breast Defense :) I’m kinda the same as you Rook, I read a lot of comments on Risen that people were annoyed that you only get to see Sarah at the start and then she never appears in the game again, meaning that she was totally pointless and devoid of all purpose… which didn’t really bother me to be honest, but then a week or so ago I came upon her (not literally, y’understand) and she was working somewhere thanks to a quest I’d completed.

    It makes me wonder whether everyone else just hasn’t noticed her when they’ve come back around to that place, or skipped the quest completely as it was only minor quest. EIther way, I’m sitting quite chuffed that all these folk are complaining about her not appearing… and I know where she is if I fancy a quickie ;)

  6. Iain Iain says:

    haha I’ll do an entire blog devoted to breasts ;) That could be fun actually…*makes mental note: play breast filled games, purely for…research…* I know what you mean Rook, when everyone’s like “Remember the bit in [game] when [character] [verb]‘s [second character] with the [noun]? It was awesome!” I usually just nod and say “yeah, yes it was…”

  7. Kat says:

    Well I’m just disappointed the article wasn’t referring to a new Leisure Suit Larry DLC being released.

  8. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Yeah, but you’re a troublemaker! :D

  9. MrCuddleswick says:

    I enjoyed this very much pix3l! I didn’t read the final bit though. I’m saving MGS4 for when I can afford my own PS3. I will take a week off and absorb myself into the glory fully.

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