Shoot them! How TV loves video games | Television

For for a long time, it is accepted that video games do not work on the screen. Remember the quasi-cyberpunk 1993 Super Mario movie, with Dennis Hopper? He was so evil that everyone around him denied it. And the TV? 90 -year -olds will remember Sonic the Hedgehog’s hilarious soundtrack on Saturday Morning TV – or the regularity of the Pokémon anime series – but other than that, the fun world didn’t take much. games.

Now, things are different. In recent years, Hollywood has managed to make a number of video games that can be viewed, such as Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. And less than a week goes by without it. announcing that a game has been downloaded for TV. – all of which is about the parents, not the children or the youngsters. There’s a science fiction story about Halo, the first shooter since 2001 whose first lovers were in their 30s or older. There’s a Netflix version of Assassin’s Creed, the action -adventure game that takes you around elaborate simulations of ancient Egypt or Renaissance Italy – combining the 15 -point version of the monster in The Witcher, with Henry Cavill, Almost like filth. and abuse as a primary source. And in an example of the Inception-level of games and TV that reinforce each other, there’s a story set in Cuphead, a much-loved run-of-the-mill game but it’s the honoring the early 1920s photographs.

What has changed? Why is the TV world so interested in shows about games? And now, are they good?

Video games have evolved from the traditional to the more entertaining… Image from the TV remake of Halo. Photo: Adrienn Szabo/AP

The simplest explanation for the boom of game changes is forecast, money. Video games are more expensive than ever – the gaming industry will be worth $ 175bn by 2021 (for the context, the overall movie industry is $ 100bn). The people who play them have evolved from the days of Pokémon; 80% of U.S. video gamers are over 18 and more than half of them – 52% – are between 18 and 45, a “key demographic” TV executives prefer.

“Video games have evolved from small business to serious entertainment, and Netflix is ​​looking to keep and gain customers by connecting celebrities to young people,” he said. long -term sports researcher Joost van Dreunen. “Streaming services are competing on information, they’re looking for pieces that give them an edge. So HBO and Amazon Prime are developing game -related stories … When done right and taken seriously, these changes can serve everyone, including the public.

That last point is important: listeners (and critics) can kiss him for a mile when a financial report is presented. Interestingly, the first generations who grew up with games are now in their 40s and 50s and have aged in power: talking to people in the TV and games industry, it’s clear the authors and directors of these new shows are people who actually play the games. , and really like the original – like Supernatural showrunner Andrew Dabb, who is heading the Netflix Resident Evil series starting in July, and calls it his “favorite game of all time”. They appreciate video games for their power, interest and inexperience. The better the time they make the TV worth watching.

Because never to be un oeuf ... Jim Carrey is Dr Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Because never to be un oeuf … Jim Carrey is Dr Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Photo: Paramount Pictures and Sega of America/AP

However, when a game is downloaded for TV, the founding team is not always involved. So those who have spent years setting up the game themselves – on high -cost projects, the story team can only accommodate 10 or 20 people – will always be left to worry. on the side. It can be a nerve wreck, especially given the track record. Bruce Straley is the founder of Naughty Dog’s hard-hitting post-apocalyptic play, The Last of Us, the story of a young girl named Ellie and her adventurous father Joel on a journey between the unfortunate remnants of America. When The Last of Us was released by HBO in 2020, his thoughts were mixed.

“Years ago, we thought making a movie about a game that we were doing was ‘doing’. I don’t think about that anymore,” he said. “Our industry has proven its worth and no one else needs to prove it to us.… I have no problem managing it. But in my – and I think ours – all knowledge, something always falls short of fulfillment … I know very little about the process, but it’s hard for me to fully support it. “

This is partly because of the difference between writing for sports and TV. “With The Last of Us, I want the player to see the same thoughts that Joel and Ellie feel every time,” Straley said. “It means that the player is 100% there on their journey, going through the ups and downs, the ups and downs of their lives, and their joy. I believe in that. taking the story from the cutcenes [non-interactive sequences] and making scenes can play us to create a better experience than I could have on a TV show or movie. So we have to ask, what good is the game? Or will the change add to the basic knowledge or reduce it?

Tour Direction… An example from the video game The Last of Us, which will soon become an HBO series.
Tour Direction… An example from the video game The Last of Us, which will soon become an HBO series. Photo: HBO/Naughty Dog

The gap between writing for a line -up like TV and a game like games is at the heart of what makes these changes so difficult. “With film and TV, every moment is valuable. If something doesn’t serve the story better, it will be cut,” said Sam Winkler, senior author at Gearbox Entertainment, the creation of the Borderlands series – Tiny Tina’s latest Wonderlands, a madcap Dungeons and Dragons -inspired adventure through the mind of a happy young psychopath. “In games, there are more breathing rooms, and I think that’s why the taste of comedy is different. At Borderlands we have to be ready for the player to do something different in in the midst of the big story, we need to be ready for the joke to fly every now and then, and we need to read each situation carefully.

As a result, the best changes are often in separating the atmosphere of the first game, rather than looking at their design. “The ones that responded well, like the Castlevania TV series, take the setting and the characters and try to give viewers the feeling that the players had in the first place. and they play these games, without having to keep the story, ”Winkler said. . “That’s the biggest mistake anyone can make – and I’m really amazed at how people do it – it’s kind of wild. Of course, it’s about getting something green: it’s a desired project from somewhere. who plays games and wants to save it? Or an official who sees that games are making more money than movies says we should get a piece of it? It’s sad that the program makes money. You can tell when people care behind a project and understand the reason. “

Killing him ... Henry Cavill in The Witcher.
Killing him … Henry Cavill in The Witcher. Photo: Jay Maidment/Netflix/PA

This skepticism is raised again by most people in the gaming industry when we talk about change – and it’s not without reason. Game developers, long supported by the rest of the entertainment industry, consider the idea of ​​the TV world making their stories more accurate. I hear some stories about painful and deafening voices from working groups without knowing what a studio’s games are like. “One costume that included a teaser for a change that was supposed to be The Last of Us was this on the nose, B-movie, slasher / horror movie,” Straley said. “Beyond their idea that a post-apocalyptic game can evoke real feelings.”

Of course, the games don’t have the kind of stories or words to provoke imagination or love (some may have thought a lot about how the supersoldier kills demons and Doom?). But these days they do – for some other reason, the TV world is showing a lot. The difficulty now for those who make presentations about sports is not to peel a good document from pieces of paper; Which is a tribute to the real -minded gamers as they sit in the shoes of nature, with a gamepad in their hands.

Give Hell ... Eternal Doom.
Give Hell … Eternal Doom. Photo: Bethesda

“The scary and hardest thing about the games is the interaction,” Straley said. “It’s very powerful to be able to pull a player into a world and allow them to create their own experience. I really believe that mental spin, and a different relationship, is different than before. our presence in front of a TV.With this power comes a ton of problems for developers.That is one of the hardest things to do in, if you want to tell a good story , and if you really think about what makes a good story in a game, it’s really hard to do! But when it does, it’s pure magic.

“We have to ask ourselves: what’s the reason for a game-on-screen switch? I don’t want a small amount of game knowledge-I want something that introduces new fans to what’s going on. that game was good.

Resident Evil is available on Netflix on July 14; Halo is in Paramount + in the summer

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