April 18, 2009

Iím going to break character and bitch about things:

1. Video gaming on television or in movies.

Directors, and I know youíre reading because Iím important and well respected in every industry ever, youíre all twits. Yes, twits. I know no one has used that as an actual insult since 1925, but Iíve decided that Iím bringing it back. Its first outing is to belittle you.

Iím reasonably sure that youíve at least seen someone play a videogame in your lives, be it one of your spoiled children, or semi-secret mistress, or that Filipino pre-teen boy you had to bribe with a PSP after he threatened to go to the media -- the fact is gaming is so widespread and accepted in this day and age, itís imposable not to notice it. So, the question is, why do you always portray gaming on both the small and big screen as people having epileptic fits and flinging fingers about the pads so randomly you fear theyíre either electrocuted or in the midst of an uncontrollable spasm.

Even the worst case button mashers playing a hearty bout of Virtua Fighter donít spasm at the pad in the fashion that paid actors trying to convince the watching audience that theyíre not watching someone who is almost certainly homosexual pretend to be someone with at least some foundation in reality. Youíve slowly started to weed out the odd belief that driving on screen should be nothing but the actor constantly making tiny left-to-right-to-left corrections on the wheel and, in itís place, it seems you want to bring a newer, shinier, more modern dumbness.

If the pad's not enough, why do you always feel the need to show that, when two people are playing what is obviously meant to be a multiplayer game, that the image on the TV is clearly that of a single player. In Scrubs recently, despite the entire skit being based around the fact that someone needed a second player to help them through a game of Halo 3, the actual game footage was of another game completely and was shot entirely in the one player mode. The only thing I recall about the motion picture release of Charlieís Angels (aside from the undying hatred I still hold for the girl who tricked me into watching it) was that when a naked Drew Barrymore (pause for vomiting thanks to disturbing mental picture) fell down a bank to inturupt two urban kids mashing at their PSX pads like their lives depended on it, the TV showed them playing bloody Final Fantasy VIII. A one-player RPG that couldnít be further from needing button mashing until Square finally pulls the pretence of interaction and makes all their RPGs overwrought masturbation in the unwelcome trapping of Advent Children.

You donít portray football as people running around in circles screaming incompressibly and ignoring the ball, nor do you portray any other pastimes as something that can only be partaken in by lead-licking spastics still running far too high on a heady cocktail of sugar and caffeine. The idea of these programs and movies is to allow the viewer to slip into a suspension of disbelief and, hereís the kicker, gamers are bloody everywhere now and recognise this as too much to let slip. Thank Nintendo for making it accessible to barely-functioning foetuses and people half a breath away from death, but everyone knows thatís not what happens -- except for you! This has been a very nerdy call out, I concede, but youíre still a bunch of twits. Wear your mantle with the shame it desires. And stop making damn High School Musical sequels.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - April 18, 2009 (11:20 AM)
Baha. Wow. You must be angry about this to use such strong and selective language in places. =P

Nothing will ever beat your Sony PS3 rant, though. Especially the article for it. That was hilarious.

It's true, though. Gamers are always portrayed like that... Even in anime sometimes. Haha. It's just a bit ridiculous.

Though sometimes the "epileptic seizure fit" thng is appropriate depending on context. .hack comes to mind.

.hack's a great anime. And I don't think it's as guilty of this as some other shows/movies out there. Which is good because, you know, it's a show based on a video game. Haha.

I'm going to make you watch that one day...
darketernal darketernal - April 18, 2009 (11:45 AM)
Never watch .Hack. Ever. A boring snorefest lasting 26 episodes of which the last two are somewhat good.

Oh yes, the games...Oh God, the games. I played the first one. .Hack franchise is a clear example how marketing can make even crap purchase worthy if you play it out right.

Last time I remember watching someone in films playing something was House. He does a good number on that DS. Plays Metroid or something.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - April 18, 2009 (12:17 PM)
Pfft. I love .hack. It's good if you like the sort of intellectual "figuring stuff out" mystery type show. Sure it's not really action-y, but it doesn't matter because it's interesting. Also, the world is just fascinating. Like, it's based around an MMO, yet the depth is amazing (I'm speaking for the games here, too).

I just find the whole premise fascinating. Mysterious anomalies that cause gamers to wind up in comas? How couldn't that be intriguing? But whatever. To each his own, I suppose. I'd like to think he'd disagree with you, though. But I don't know. I mean, he likes GitS, and those are sort of similar, except that the latter has a lot more action and is more... sci-fi than .hack. Still, though, the whole way the story works and whatever are quite similar - trying to get to the bottom of a series of weird events.

I stand by my love for that series, though. And always will.
honestgamer honestgamer - April 18, 2009 (03:17 PM)
Jake, the boy in Two and a Half Men, plays his DS precisely the way any normal gamer would: staring at the screen, pressing the occasional button and mumbling when asked questions. Very convincing portrayal.
bloomer bloomer - April 18, 2009 (06:37 PM)
Unless the videogame is vital to the plot of the film, it's always going to remain peripheral in terms of production importance. It's also something the director can cheat too easily, along with offscreen dialogue, music insertion, cutaways etc., to bother spending too much time on.

For TV shows especially, the director doesn't want to have to spend time shooting footage of a TV with a game on it. He palms that off to another unit or tech crew and just says 'shoot some footage of a videogame'. Then later he tells the actors 'bang the controls.' Sometimes the game isn't even running for the actors, or it's a different game they had handy, or the shots are taken at entirely different times. Unless all decisions are finalised before any of the shots are done Ė unlikely in the rush world of TV Ė things are always gonna mismatch. And especially when they have no real prop in the scene that they've committed to (you may have a prop but the choice of game may be up in the air, or the console's gonna be off for the actors so their dialogue is captured cleanly, etc.) both director and actors tend to go quickly to big exposition to cover themselves Ė and that means banging the controls.

To me, sure it will always be a point of amusement, and if I was directing, being gamenerd I would try to get it right. But I'm just saying, due to the nature and difficulties of filmmaking, incidental, accurate presentation of gaming will probably remain low on the priorities list. It's in that area that includes having a band mime in the back of a shot and playing any old song on the soundtrack at the same time, and every other movie illusion/shortcut/facilitative trick from that bag.
JANUS2 JANUS2 - April 19, 2009 (12:37 AM)
I was watching CSI the other day and two characters started discussing the Dreamcast. It made me laugh because no one ever discussed the Dreamcast. Apart from Sega nerds.
darketernal darketernal - April 19, 2009 (04:01 AM)
I don't mind philosophical animes, quite the contrary, but I don't like lazy anime or games. Hack games are just that, lazy and boring. Every dungeon looks the same, there are like four character models in it and it just dull. No wonder the actual MMO tanked practically the moment it was released because you need to have at least flash if you don't have substance, and if you have none then you can piss off.

Honestly, the only thing I do like in the hack series is the music. The soundtrack is pretty damn good.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - April 19, 2009 (09:08 AM)
Which .hack games are you talking about? There are the original four, and then there wree three other ones that were based on a "revised" version of The World. If you're talking about "lazy" dungeon dssign and the like, the latter three absolutely fit that bill. I think there were about four different backgrounds throughout all adventuring in that game, and it's something I noted in my review.

But the first series of games had a wide range of backgrounds and such. And each dungeon, while there were still only four models (compared to the later series' 2, and there were like 8 different field backgrounds in this first series anyway), they were still labyrinthine and varied in that they never mapped the same. Or at least different keyword combinations never mapped the same. If you played through the game two differet times and used the same keywords for one dungeon, it'd map the same, but that's so unlikely in random cases....

And there were plenty of class models. In both series there are like 8 classes, though your main character could only be the one pertaining to the story. And within the game itself, the players you run across all look different, even if there are some of the same class, they always have different costumes.

I never saw the series as lazy, really. Not the majority of the time, anyway.
Halon Halon - April 19, 2009 (09:50 PM)
I play games and don't notice this stuff in movies 4 times out of 5. Also I have no idea what .hack is.
darketernal darketernal - April 20, 2009 (11:19 AM)
It's a well played out marketing ploy with little substance that people devoured like crazy for some time.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - April 20, 2009 (02:26 PM)
Don't listen to him. Read what I've been talking about.

Main thing to know, it's an anime.
randxian randxian - May 10, 2009 (11:53 AM)
Yeah, I was disturbed by all the glaring issues while people played NES games in The Wizard, which is a movie that literally revolves around the NES.

If the subject of your movie IS about video games, then you can at least make sure the game play footage is correct.

It's bad enough in cases you described, but it's a complete abomination in a movie that is supposed to be all about video games.

As you said, they are twits.

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