Ask 411 Games 09.10.12: Cutscenes, Let's Plays, Golf, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 09.10.2012
Are the LEGO Star Wars games the only ones that let you play through the plots of the movies? How close did the Mortal Kombat film follow the games? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Games!
Hey, it's either that or talking about my Grandmother that past away today. And that's not exactly light conversation. But she came back again and again from illness, so I guess she just run out of 1-Up mushrooms.
… That feels inappropriate, and yet it's MY grandparent, so does that make it OK? I'm confused.
Remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to email@example.com.
Before we get to the video game goodness, Cody has a quick question.
this wedding your talking about was it and mccreary county Kentucky
Uh, no, it was here in Australia, where I live. I am an Aussie, which explains a great deal I'm sure. Like how I've never got a shot at screwing up my wrestling career with one of the ‘bigger' wrestling companies and bitter about various things that you've never heard of.
Joe sent in an email and thus gets preferential treatment.
Hello Matthew, my name is Joe. I've been a long time reader of 411. I had a question about Lego Star Wars. I was playing the old Lego Star wars games on Xbox with my son the other day, and it got me thinking. Are these the only Star Wars games that let you play the movies as they were? I know that they made them a little different, but I can't remember any other games that had you doing what you saw in the movies. Am I mistaken? Thank you for your time.
There are, if you include all the various offshoots and obscure cell phone games and the like, over 100 video games based on the Star Wars universe. And it's a big universe, with everything from highly acclaimed RPG games set millennia before the movies…
To… This sort of stuff.
With everything inbetween, pod racing, fighting games, flying games, hell if they ever wanted to do a Star Wars Golf game, they could, as Greenputt is already established in the canon of the universe.
But in terms of games that allow you to play the movie, to follow along with the plot of the actual films, the ‘true' video games, rather than the Expanded Universe games, how many are there?
Well, it depends on how you count it. See, while with some games it is clear that they don't count due to being in a different time frame (KOTOR) or separate to the storylines (Force Unleashed) or just too narrow a field of view (That Damn Pod Racing Game That Apparently I And I Alone Hate With A Passion), other games are… Well, it's hard to judge them.
Take the 1987 Star Wars game that was released exclusively in Japan for the Famicom. While it has moments like this…
It does follow the movie, somewhat. The later 1991 Star Wars game for NES, Master System, Game Boy and Game Gear followed the plot OK as well…
But the Super Star Wars games for the SNES, Super Star Wars, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi each followed the respective movies fairly well.
But again, when you go back to the earlier games, there's only so much you can fit in, and so they tend to leave out more and more. So in terms of games that ‘follow' the plot, you have to draw the line somewhere. But the SNES games were pretty damn close, no matter how you cut it. So no, although Lego is the full plot, it's not the only one, albeit broken up into chunks.
Guest#5519 asks about games becoming movies.
What people loved about MGS more than the gameplay was the story and voice acting. So in that case, maybe it should be released as an HD movie with some modifications. Heck some people already have done that with the cutscenes, it wouldn't take too much more to make it into a movie because it was pretty much written as one.
For some reason it never happens, when most of Hollywood touches a video game movie they change it completely, so Kojima doesn't want that to happen. We need a director that loves video games/MGS as much as much as certain directors enjoyed comic books like 300, Sin City, V for Vendetta and Watchmen, where they follow the comic book pretty much exactly.
Question is, is there someone like that out there? MGS is probably the best piece of storytelling done in the past 20 years, the only exceptions being certain rare movies that many people probably didn't even watch.
I'm not entirely sure if you're asking has someone made a movie out of cutscenes or a movie based on a video game that pretty much left the storyline intact. So let's deal with both.
As for the first one, a situation where a video game got edited directly into a movie, I know of at least two occasions off hand when cutscenes were cut into a ‘movie'. One was the Futurama video game, which was edited down into ‘Futurama: The Lost Adventure" and put onto ‘The Beast with a Billion Backs' DVD as a feature, both as is and with a commentary track (which, like most Futurama tracks, is very good in it's own right).
The other was Shenmue 1, which was edited into "Shenmue: The Movie", with the cutscenes and gameplay done by expert players, and a couple of new segments to tie it together. Although most people know this from the bonus DVD that came with Shenmue 2 (so as you knew the plot from the first game), it actually got released into Japanese theatres as well.
(And before anyone says anything: "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" doesn't count.)
Beyond that, you have the world of Machinima, which isn't quite the same thing, given that it involves using video game engines to create new film, rather than just cutting stuff together.
And, of course, on youtube there is now a thriving little community of people making ‘movies' out of video game cutscenes and gameplay, editing the games into something resembling a movie.
As for movies that pretty much follow the plot of the video game… That's difficult to quantify. As I've said every time this comes up, there is a fundamental problem turning an interactive medium into a non-active one. A comic book is easier to translate, since it can almost be viewed as a storyboard, like Sin City. But even without that level of consistency, you still don't have to worry about which version of events you take as ‘canon', nor is there an issue with player interactivity. A big chunk of video games is the personal experience you have while playing it. You and I can both sit down and start playing anything with a plot, from Super Mario Bros through to Skyrim, and even if we begin at the same place, same time, same character, our experiences will be wildly different. You'll remember with frustration that section with the Bullet Bills that you kept dying at, I will recall with glee when I killed a Dragon with a well placed projectile cheese wheel.
And so you need to make cuts and decisions, and that will piss people off, and eventually you have to change the plot, if only because busy work in a game doesn't tend to translate well into a movie.
And even without this tired problem I keep bringing up, there is still the question of an ‘acceptable' translation. I mean, the original Mortal Kombat movie was fairly close, in my mind, but you might disagree.
Hopefully below we can get a good discussion of which video game movie was closest to the original plotline.
Guest#2652 has a simple, if bizarre, question.
do you know about the kitties?????
Which kitties are you referring to? The fighting game kitties?
Or the giant tiger kitty?
Or those damn Cougars?
So… Yeah, I know about the kitties. What of it?
Nate finishes us off with an excuse for more videos.
WHERE did that video for Manhunter come from??!?! I want more stuff like that!!!
Did you want the specific or the general?
Specifically, that video was one in a series by Ben ‘Yahtzee' Crowshaw, a.k.a that guy who has the yellow obsession with ‘Zero Punctuation'. He, along with a buddy of his called Gabriel, occasionally do running commentary on old games.
That said, generically these are ‘Let's Play' variations, which we may have covered before. Let's Plays is any story or video wherein the uploader will play a video game and provide commentary. Sometimes people will take it in turns, other times they'll go in blind, some are serious, some are funny. You can find them all over the place, as well as many opinions about the best ones ever. Any ones I follow I would have mentioned or used in here before, although you really should read Boatmurdered at least once. Although my favorite text LP is sadly unfinished but is still quite awesome, being this Civilization 4 one.
But again, hopefully we'll get some good suggestions below. Until then, remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time gentlemen, ladies and others!