What are the key ways that film and game into related in contemporary movie image culture?
Due:7 November 2019
Table of Contents
3.Literature Review 6
4. Substantive chapters 7
4.1 Non-linear narrative and open ending 7
4.2 The application of FPV of the game in the film 9
4.3 IP adaptation of games and films 10
4.4 The use of game effects in films 12
4.5Interactive film modeled on the game settings 14
5. Conclusion 16
As one of the most important mass media, film has gone through more than 100 years since it appeared in the late 19th century. Film is closely related to people’s life. People’s thoughts, behaviors and consciousness are influenced by it imperceptibly, and at the same time, they accept the unprecedented aesthetic and cultural experience brought by it. The Games in this paper refer to video games, and the following are simplified as games. Game was formally born in the 1950s, and gradually accepted by people. Game has become the basis of an important entertainment industry in Japan, the United States and Europe in the late 1970s.Game is a new product after decades of film development. However, in a very short time, it quickly mixes with film magically and creates unexpected effects. In fact, the economic value of both is amazing. According to MPAA’s reliable data sources, the global box office in 2016 was very prosperous, breaking last year’s record, increasing by 1%, with a total amount of US $38.6 billion (Xinhua,2017). By 2017, the total amount of global film box office reached 40.6 billion US dollars, an increase of 5% over the previous year. In 2018, global box office revenue amounted to 41.1 billion U.S. dollars, marking an increase from the previous year (Amy Watson,2019). At present, the world’s game giants are Sony Computer Entertainment and Nintendo in Japan, Microsoft in the United States and Tencent in China. In 2018, the market was expected to be worth approximately 115 billion U.S. dollars and the source projects the industry revenues to surpass 138 billion by 2021 (Christina Gough,2018). Global video games revenue will reach $210bn by 2023, with mobile gaming accounting for the majority of revenue (Consumer & Entertainment Services,2018). The huge economic value makes the integration of games and films develop rapidly. Academic interest coincides with the rise of digitalization and the accompanying business models and data (Jehoshua Eliashberg, etc. 2016). Since the trend of game and film integration has been irreversible, the following methodology, literature review and substantive chapters will focus on such a theme.
Ingeniously, the methodology and the theme of this paper correspond to each other. Generally speaking, methodology is the research guidance of a paper. After it has been carefully constructed, the next parts will proceed step by step, that is to say, the process is linear. Although a large number of literature materials and some well-prepared interviews have been carried out in advance, they have been proved to be not able to support the smooth development of the paper in the process of writing, but only an inspiration. To some extent, the methodology of this paper is nonlinear. At the beginning, the preparation of literature and interview are two obvious methods. However, in the process of writing, some new and better ideas appeared, and the old ideas were rejected. New ideas are like new props that are accidentally harvested in the game. Once triggered, a new plot will be born. The starting point of this paper comes from experience. Through experience, a large number of original materials are accumulated. In the next step, these materials will be observed, that is, recollection, thinking, reflection, integration, from which valuable gains and experiences will be abstracted. Finally, several key points related to the theme are extracted and form the system of this paper.
The collection and selection of literature review will be divided into three parts. To clarify the concept of film and game is the work of the first preparation stage of the literature. The game and the film develop respectively, and then at a specific node, their lines cross. That is to say, the preparation of literatures about the origin and development history of the two is not separate, but trying to find their similarities. Through the literature, people can know that the blending of games and films is certain. The next step in literature preparation will focus on how they interact with each other. In the second stage, the purpose of literature preparation is to get enlightenment and verification in the previous scholars’ research, and then extract unique views through independent thinking. It is worth noting that the time dimension of literature is very critical, almost all of which will be selected within 5 years. In addition, some original reading books will be partially used. After all, the information in the digital age is updated very quickly, and some views have been outdated or even proved unreasonable.
Next is the main part of this paper, which will be divided into five chapters to elaborate, corresponding to each game and film interaction method. First of all, the non-linear narrative and open ending of the game will affect the formation of the film. Moreover, the FPV of the game has also become an innovative means of film shooting. Thirdly, the game and film IP adaptation, which is the most common way to affect each other. The fourth is the use of game effects in films. Finally, interactive films modeled on the game settings. In each part, the corresponding films and games will be used as specific cases to present the theme more intuitively. Besides, through the presentation of the phenomenon, some reflections will follow.
At present, although people are very familiar with games and films, they always treat them as separate concepts. However, more and more established facts have proved their mutual influence and integration. The problem is that people do not systematically understand the integration of the two, their understanding is fragmented. Through the in-depth study of this paper, such a trend will be presented, and the internal logic and driving force of their mutual influence and integration will also be exposed. In fact, the ways in which the games and films in this paper interact and blend with each other are not completely summarized, but the most widely accepted methods. In the process of the integration of the two, there are also a lot of obstacles that need to be overcome and improved. For such a problem, some suggestive future prospects will also be mentioned at the end of this paper.
Games and films are very familiar areas of daily life, and then when it comes to how they affect each other, people immediately become hesitant. Adrienne Shaw claims that although there has been a great deal of ink spilt on the subject of video game culture, writers usually treat the actual definition of the term as common sense (2010). It is a very common phenomenon, namely, people are vague about the nature of things they are familiar with. In the research of this paper, some basic methods and upgrade methods are used. They can be seen as a process from how to reach the theme, analyzing the theme to understanding the theme at the end. With the deepening of the steps, the essence of the theme of this paper is also shown correspondingly.
Relevant literature collection and interview are the basic methods. Through the investigation of literature to obtain relevant information, people can comprehensively and correctly grasp some key information of relevant the theme. There are various channels to collect and research literature, and the types of literature are different, and the channels to collect and research literature are also different. Most of the materials in this paper are found in the online library. In addition, the methodology of each field is different. Hadrien Salat et al claim that multiple methodologies can be used in resistive network models (2017). Solum claims that in the field of constitution, original list methodology is very effective (2017). In the study of music performance, linguistic speech act theory is regarded as an effective methodology (Margaret Kartomi,2014). In other words, the methodology of each field is designed to the relevant discipline theory. The literature on the origin and development of games and films is the first stage of collection. Later, because games and films are mass media, some sociological, aesthetic and psychological literature will be consulted accordingly. After that, games and films are involved in business, so some economic phenomena and data will also be collected. The basic literature collection is divided into such several stages.
In this paper, the interview is very important. Compared with other methods, the interview method is conducive to understanding the thoughts and emotional reactions of the interviewees to the relevant topics, to understanding the life details of the interviewees, and to timely questioning some key issues. The reasonable and flexible use of the interview method will play a positive role in promoting the in-depth study of the theme. Generally speaking, the questions and answers of the questionnaire are subjective ideas of the designer, while the interview is a different situation. This paper will conduct in-depth interviews with three random subjects. In order to protect their privacy, their personal information will be hidden and replaced by interviewee A, B and C. All interview questions are random and not pre-arranged. It’s worth noting that they are all about games and films. The interview duration is basically 3-5 minutes.
Literature and interview are both in the initial stage, and their integration is the second stage. Some unnecessary literatures will be screened, and some core feasible views will be inspired and shaped from interviews. It can even be said that the framework of the main part of this paper is benefited from the content of the interviews to a large extent. In the process of writing this paper, there are often repeated modifications and adjustments, due to the running in of theory and practical experience. As a matter of fact, methodology is only used as a guidance in the early stage of writing a paper. In the process of writing, there will be many new problems, which need to be adjusted in time.
With the continuous integration of games and films, contemporary research on them is also increasing. Definition is the first idea studied by a lot of scholars. Heinrich S. Domingo claims that films concretize the seemingly ambiguous past by translating historical concepts into visual signs and auditory elements (2017). David Sorfa argues that all films are embroiled in an ethics that defines what we think of as morality (2016). As Rohrbach descripts the film, he claims that to generate a good description, one has to decide what part of the visual information to verbalize, i.e. recognize what is salient (2017). For the definition of film, scholars generally say that film is a modern art of vision and hearing, a comprehensive subject art, such as philosophy, and also a mass media. Rochelle Cade argues that advances in technology have pushed gaming from its early origins of simple, 2-D graphic games made for single players to games with increasing sophistication, realistic 3-D graphics, and relational and social elements inside and outside of the game (2017). Paaßen claims that games are a form of entertainment associated with sociology (2017). For the definition of video game, scholars generally say that it runs on an electronic device platform and interacts with players. From the scholars’ definition of the two, people can find the similarity in technology and culture. The similarity of the two has made them have the possibility of mutual influence and integration. Most scholars study from five dimensions.
Non-linear narrative is more used in games (Emanuela Marchetti,2015). In this article, Emanuela Marchetti mentions the opposite of non-linear narrative, that is, linear narrative has a long history and is invented by Aristotle. Besides, Emanuela Marchetti describes in detail that the game must adopt non-linear narrative in order to increase interest and suspense. In James E. Cutting’s article, linear narrative is called storytelling formula (2016). He claims that the linear narrative of the film is very old-fashioned, and it must be changed to attract the audiences’ attention. Neil Cohn claims that While simple visual narratives may depict characters engaged in events across sequential images, additional complexity appears when modulating the framing of that information within an image or film shot (2015). That is to say, whether in order to increase the visibility of the film or in terms of the shooting techniques in this article, non-linear narrative has appeared very frequently in the film.
FPV can provide players with immersive experience in the game (Okkinara,2016). He claims that in the past 10 years, the development of virtual technology based on computer technology has enabled design to be carried out from the FPV. In his article, Fukuta also detailed how the movie was filmed with the original game PFV (2018). FPV has created more possibilities for movies.
Scholars pay more attention to the economic profits created by game and film IP. Jia Li and Ed white claim that the IP value of video games is very large, so it is also very easy to be stolen and needs to be protected (2017). At the same time, he also describes the huge economic benefits brought by the movie adapted from the game, which prompted the attention of capital. Moreover, a large number of fans are also considered by him to be the key factor for the success of IP adaptation. Pañeda even builds a model to prove the huge amount of network access popular IP has (2015).
Some specific effects of the game have also attracted the attention of many scholars. Sounds in the game are considered functional (Sung-Joo Lim,2019). In this article, sound is set as a human skill, and when it is used in the game, it becomes a suggestive thing. Similarly, to gaming machines, video games employ speech, music and sound effects to structure a game, attract a player’s attention, focus players towards a certain aspect, and interact with the visual aspects of the game (Stephanie Bramley,2015). In this article, some other special effects are also introduced, such as animation.
Today there is a growing interest in human emotional reaction, which results in a number of studies constantly increasing (Cohendet,2017). In such a context, interactive films began to rise. With the maturity of technology, it has gradually changed from a conceptual type to an operational type of game. The purpose of the interaction is to enhance the audiences’ sense of participation, from the immersive viewing experience to the immersive decision-making experience. Yücelyigit points out that the rise of interactive film is on the one hand the maturity of technology, on the other hand, because the original industry has already touched the ceiling, so appropriate reform must be made (2016).
From the above literature, several points of information can be determined. Firstly, games and movies are similar and complementary. Secondly, the huge economic benefits enable people to promote their integration. Thirdly, the specific ways of their mutual influence can be divided into five dimensions to analyze.
4. Substantive chapters
In the main body of this paper, it will be divided into five chapters to interpret. In the next five chapters, the different ways in which games and films interact will be presented, and many contemporary films and games will be cited as examples.
4.1 Non-linear narrative and open ending
To begin with, the interaction between film and game lies in non-linear narrative and open ending. Stemming from the non-linear narrative elements in a new media artwork, the experience of each user and the reception of each work differ depending on the user’s choice to either reject or become immersed in the work (Selen,2015). Therefore, non-variable factors appear. Linear narrative is considered to be organized in strict accordance with the time dimension of reality, which has four parts, namely, beginning, development, climax and end. The non-linear narrative breaks the single line and orderly pattern of the linear narrative, and nonlinear single line narrative and nonlinear double line narrative all belong to its category (Bordwell,2013). Nonlinear narrative is an essential part of the game with different barriers. As a result, the ending of the films becomes open.
Most scholars in the West regard 1960 as a watershed. The generation born before that is called the “Literature generation”, and the generation born after that is called the “Audio-visual generation”. In the background of the former era, people mainly obtain knowledge and external information through characters. In the background of the latter era, with the rapid development and progress of science and technology, the popularity of television and computers is increasing. Tom Tykwer is the representative of the audio-visual generation (he was born in 1965), which has the game-film style Run Lola Run (Appendix 1). Its non-linear narrative and open ending draw on the elements of the game which has different result if a player pass different stage barriers, such as Dragon Quest (Appendix 2). In Run Lola Run, the expression of nonlinear double line narrative is theme repetition. In the case of repeated themes, there will be different open-ended film. Lola’s boyfriend, Manni, is a gangster. After an illegal transaction, Lola failed to pick him up in time. When he went to take the subway, he lost the 100000 mark he got from the illegal transaction. If twenty minutes later, he didn’t have the money to give to the gang leader, his life would be in trouble. Lola must get 100000 marks in 20 minutes in order to save her boyfriend. She could only keep running for every second, and the starting point of running is regarded as the beginning of the game. That is the theme of the film. It is the setting for Lola’s first run. She intended to borrow money from her father, but she didn’t expect her father to scold her and tell her that she was not her own father, and finally she couldn’t borrow money. The desperate Manni could only rob the supermarket, and Lola became an accomplice and was shot dead by the police. Then, the game restarted, and her second run started again. Lola could foresee ahead of time and avoid the events that delayed time, which led to the life to be different of passers-by she met, that is to say, the plot of the game changed. Her second run still failed to save her boyfriend. In the end, she robbed her father of enough money from the bank, but her boyfriend was killed by an ambulance. On the third run, she dodged all the obstacles on the road. In such a run, instead of robbing, she decided to gamble in the casino. In the end, she not only won 100000 marks, but also her boyfriend accidentally caught the homeless man who took the lost money bag and sent it to the gang leader.
Another example is Memento (Appendix 3). In 2000, the suspenseful thriller type film Memento directed by Christopher Nolan, a famous director, was officially released. The film has been sought after by a large number of fans for its fragmented narrative mode and reasoning sense of shooting. The film also won two nominations for best original script and best editing of the 74th Oscar Golden Statuettes. Leonard’s wife was killed by a ferocious gangster. Although he struggled back from the death line, Leonard got a strange “short-term memory loss” due to severe brain damage. From then on, he can only remember what happened a few minutes ago. Although in the eyes of the police, it’s just a common robbery case, Leonard’s life has been completely changed since then. Dissatisfied with the police’s rashness, Leonardo vowed to trace the murderer and avenge the tragic death of his beloved wife. It’s very similar to the setting of the game that the hero uses various clues to find out the truth.
Inception (Appendix 4) is another non-linear narrative structure, that is, play-within-a-play. Its charm lies in the fact that it uses different narrative techniques to influence the audiences’ psychology and achieve the goal of the director to set suspense. If the audience can take the real world in the film as a reference, they are: the real world, the first level dream, the second level dream, the third level dream, the fourth level dream and the lost domain. There are nine dreams in the six layers of the world, and the stories of reality and multiple dreams are unfolded at the same time. The task force led by Cobb will encounter obstacles brought by this layer of dreams every time they enter into a dream, so as to establish a relationship between the people who enter the next layer of dreams and the people who stay in the previous layer of dreams, and complicate the character connection and story. Such a setting is not only conducive to the multiple expansion of suspense, but also can skillfully control the narrative rhythm of each layer of dreams, and well control the psychological rhythm of the film. The characters travel back and forth in multiple time and space, which together constitute the classic science fiction film.
People can see that the game factor is used in the film. In the game of code programming, each code will touch a different plot. To some extent, the code is equivalent to the non-linear narrative in the film. As another different narrative is triggered, the advance of the plot will lead to the birth of another ending.
4.2 The application of FPV of the game in the film
Some producers even make First-Person films, and from simple life-logs to playing sports, the content of FPVs varies dramatically (Reibman,2018). FPV is short for first person view. It’s the usual element of the game. In fact, FPV has become the mainstream game mode. The directors use the camera to simulate the subjective and objective perspectives. With the development of game, the concept of the view has been further extended. The FPV is recognized by a great deal of action gamers. Due to FPV, the background image is usually seen by the players through the eyes of the character they are, and then it can increase the credibility of setting of the game. For example, the popular game Counter-Strike (Appendix 5) uses FPV to achieve excellent results. Gradually, FPV is also used by a lot of directors. Once the subjective lens is to replace the human eye, it must conform to the human characteristics, that is to say, it is not only the viewing mode of the human eye, but also the movement mode of the human body. In most cases, the small camera is fixed on the actor’s head and follows the actor’s violent movement, the mechanical characteristics of the camera are exposed. Due to the lack of frame rate, as the camera moves rapidly, the picture will be very blurred. Although it has limitations, Directors use hand-held camera to simulate the DV effect of the film, its unique view has a high degree of simulation, will give the audiences a strong sense of immersion, so it is sought after by specific audience groups. The description of its benefits seems to be a little vague, and then it will be analyzed by some specific contemporary films as examples.
From a sociological point of view, District 9 (Appendix6), directed by Neill Blomkamp, explores a lot of realistic issues. Racial discrimination is its theme. Notwithstanding, in addition to addressing domestic issues District 9 also makes significant references to transnational concerns around human rights, military privatization and the War on Terror prominent in news reports at the time (Abu Dhabi,2019). In the film, some realistic problems are shown through the change of the hero’s attitude towards aliens. The spectator’s view does not allow the audiences to focus on and reflect on change. FPV is able to reach such a kind of result. It is inspired by district 6. In 1867, the district 6 of South Africa was officially named. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was a multi-ethnic area, where free slaves, businessmen, artists, laborers, immigrants, sailors from various countries who visited from time to time lived, and they are black, white, Christian, Hindu, Muslim. Different cultures were mixed and full of vitality. After 1901, it began to change. In the name of ethnic harmony, the so-called Department of community development under NP announced that the district 6 must be closed. Since then, the district 6 has been plagued for many years. As mentioned above, its theme is racial discrimination, so FPV can make the audiences experience it more vividly. At the beginning of the film, with FPV, the audiences can feel strong racial discrimination from the taunts and teasing of aliens by the hero. In an interview, the hero accidentally infected with the virus. Over time, his body organs gradually changed, and eventually he became an alien. In the process of transformation, the original narrow and selfish idea has been changed, and the audiences can also feel the disadvantages of racial discrimination, which is realized through FPV.
Drew Goddard’s Cloverfield (Appendix 7) also use FPV. In the era of monster science fiction films, most directors seem to be repeating the same monster formula. Cloverfield stands out from monster science fiction films in an innovative way. Before Jason Hawkins went to work in Japan, his brother Rob Hawkins and girlfriend lily held a farewell party for him, and his friend Hud was responsible for recording the party. Disaster came without warning, the statue of Liberty’s head flew to the street, and then the house shook violently. Then the escape began. Instead of traditional special effects and montage shots, the director chose DV to shoot the whole film. In the narrow angle of FPV, a fear of escape comes as scheduled. The director once said that people live in an era full of fear, so it’s really exciting to imagine some strange and huge creatures attacking human beings’ city. Moreover, he hoped that the film could let the audiences experience the fear of omnipresent injury in an entertaining and safe way. As a result, he succeeded. Its plot is also very sophisticated, almost every 5-10 minutes, there are different monster behaviors attacking human beings, which bring the audiences’ inner fear of the unknown to the extreme. To show a film with realistic pictures and stories, the audiences can’t do without eyes, which are cameras. DV shooting will shift the focus of shooting to the eyes behind the machine, breaking the confinement of the eyes subject to the machine. When the audiences are led into the plot, they will follow the DV lens to experience, and often forget that the real shot is on the camera behind the DV. Although there is no switching and artistic lens, such a well-organized production undoubtedly makes the distance between individuals and disasters closer and more real.
4.3 IP adaptation of games and films
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Appendix 8) is a 2019 urban fantasy mystery film directed by Rob Letterman. Although the hero of this film has changed from a Japanese boy in the game to a Westerner, and the grandfather in the game has only occupied a small plot, people must admit that it is a successful game adaptation. Once the time goes back, Tomb Raider (Appendix 9) is the first film to be adapted successfully from the game. Famous actress Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft. At the same time, paramount spent $115 million to shoot around the world. The hot scenes guaranteed by the powerful production cost and the sexy Angelina’s perfect restoration of Lara made it achieve good box office results. In fact, it is not the first film adapted from a game. The first film adapted from the game was the Super Mario Bros (Appendix 10). It was released in 1993, adapted from the game of the same name on FC platform, with an investment of up to 48 million US dollars. Allied filmmakers, who spent a lot of money to buy the adaptation rights of Super Mario Bros, didn’t understand the game at all. They just looked at the Mario whirlwind that Nintendo had blown up in the United States at that time. It failed in the end. Its failure did not prevent people from adapting the game into a film, which also led to the success of Pokémon Detective Pikachu and Tomb Raider. To some extent, adaptation is the way in which the games and the films influence each other the most. A popular term “IP” will be involved.
With the coming of pan-entertainment era, the value of IP industry is being explored. IP consumer market is also expanding, which is actually a battlefield of cultural output. The strength of IP lies in that once it contacts the audience groups who have similar world outlook and values, it will quickly agglomerate and develop into a culture, which will continue to progress, develop and inherit. The famous game is a significant IP. Next, some data can be used to show why some people are keen to adapt game IP into film. The total value of the global video game industry is as high as 65 billion US dollars. Within 24 hours of the release of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 consoles in November 2013, over 1 million units of each were sold. Within 18 days, sales for each console hit the two million mark (David Greenspan,2014). The profit is so huge. Moreover, popular game IP also has a large number of fans. With the continuous evolution of the game, more and more fans of different kinds of games are in the world, and they are the main force of the films, which will spend their money on their ardent love. The IP of a famous game is the basic guarantee of box office. Instead of painstakingly writing a new film IP, it’s better to start with a famous game directly, which can greatly reduce the workload, and also get better results in the publicity. These reasons can explain why a large number of filmmakers want to adapt a popular game IP into a film. It should be noted that it is not easy to adapt a popular IP game into a popular film. There are some factors that need to be noticed.
Resident Evil (Appendix11), Silent Hill (Appendix12), Far Cry (Appendix13), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Appendix14), Hitman (Appendix15), they are films adapted by famous game IP. It takes a lot of effort for filmmakers to adapt a popular IP game into a film with good box office.
In fact, only a few games can be adapted into films. Many educational and competitive games are not suitable for big screen. Most of the existing game-films come from the role-playing games with large background, many characters and complex plot. There are a lot of obstacles to adapt from a game to a film, such as the consistency and breakthrough of plot, the continuity and difference of style, the assumption and authenticity of characters. For example, it should not only avoid the boredom of “watching others play games” brought to the audience by the highly restored Final Fantasy (Appendix16), but also avoid the simple application of image symbols of the game like Angry Birds (Appendix17). What’s more, in the process of adaptation, how can filmmakers fully respect the sense of participation of the players and release the imagination of the audiences? Games and films mobilize different thinking. People get pleasure through games and films in different ways. Game form is open, dynamic, connected, immersed and nonlinear, while film is closed, static, isolated, onlooking and linear. For the game players, looking for maps, doing tasks, socializing with other players, and feeling their own growth are the charm of a game, which obviously cannot be achieved by a film. In the process of changing from a game to a film, the editor restricts the players’ exploration. The camera replaces the mouse in the hand, and the actor acts as the hero of the game. In addition, the third person view replaces the original first-person view, and deprives the players of their subjectivity. In fact, IP film, fan film, pan-entertainment and other hot terms can’t make a movie succeed naturally. IP adaptation has quite positive significance in media integration, industrial integration and cultural integration, but the success of a film can only complies with the law of a film itself.
To adapt the game IP into a quality film, the filmmakers should focus on the creation of content rather than the imitation of form. Steven Allan Spielberg is a good player and filmmaker. His film Ready Player One (Appendix18) is so impressed. Its story is very attractive. Oasis’s game designer lost his love and friendship due to social barriers and poor communication. He didn’t realize the value of the real-life world until he died. The film’s hero came to oasis to escape from reality, but he found something far more important than himself in the process of looking for the eggs. Finally, he made real friends and found true love. The success of virtual world still cannot solve the frustration and loneliness in real life. Steven Allan Spielberg’s exposure and Reflection on the two sides of VR is one of the reasons for the success of such a film adapted from the game.
Nowadays, the game is gradually developing towards cinematic narration, and it has more and more various elements of film. With the game mechanism, its entertainment has far exceeded the form of film. The game is a complex medium, which has entered into the public daily range, so the craze to adapt a game into a film is still popular.
4.4 The use of game effects in films
With the help of game effect, a film can break through its original boundary. The effect of using the game in the film is simply from the shooting technique. For example, Joe Cox and Daniel Kaimann’s argument “Because of high development costs and uncertain market demand, it is vitally important for video game developers and publishers to be able to forecast product sales efficiently, in particular those of new products at the beginning of their life cycles” is not included (2015). It does not involve complex business operations and humanistic reflection.
To begin with, a film’s imitation of a game effect is the use of sound. On the one hand, the sound effect strengthens recognition. On the other hand, it can prompt players to operate and indicate the process of the game. As playing video games, the sound effect appears, the players become the decision-makers who decide whether to find the source. They can choose to find it or ignore it. Such a difference highlights the indicative role of sound effect in the game. In order to make the players have a deep sense of immersion and interactive experience, game designers need to make good use of sound effect to indicate where the players need to pay attention to and what events can promote the game process. For example, when a character operated by a player enters a multi fork intersection, the choice of the branch road is randomly determined by the player. In the case of completely letting players make decisions, it may take a lot of time to make detours, and some impatient players are likely to choose to give up. If the number of detours is reduced, and the players only walk along the set route mechanically, the game process will be monotonous. Therefore, the game designer can use some kind of sound effect (such as the sound of enemies moving around, the sound of teammates greeting) to prompt a general direction which is the most attractive to the player. Under normal circumstances, the player will choose this route, make a so-called “own choice” unconsciously, and bring a sense of achievement because of “the right choice made by himself or herself”. Sound effect has become one of the necessary elements for players to successfully complete the game. When watching a film, the sound effect can indicate the appearance of a character or the occurrence of an event, or it can only convey certain information to the audiences, which is decided by the director. A detailed interpretation of it can be obtained through specific films. God of Gamblers (Appendix 19) is a good example. Gao Jin is a world-famous gambling king. He accepted the invitation of a Japanese gang friend and dueled with Chen Jincheng, also known as the gambling king of Singapore, on the card table. Before the duel, he accidentally stepped into a trap and fell down the hillside to become amnesia. Gao Jin lost his memory and lived in the house of Knife boy, a hooligan. His girlfriend Jane took good care of him. Knife boy has benefited and suffered from amnesiac Gao Jin’s high-level gambling. e, Gao Jin’s cousin Gao Yi was drunk and broke into Gao Jin’s girlfriend Janet’s room. He had evil ideas about her, but he accidentally killed Janet, burned the tape and sent someone to kill Gao Jin. Fortunately, the bodyguard Long Wu saved him. He recovered his memory when he was hit by a car in the escape. So, he chose to go to the gambling boat to fight. With the classic sound effects (Appendix20), his presence has impressed a generation.
Secondly, the combination of live action and game animation effect is also a technical innovation. Garfield, is a good example (Appendix21). Garfield was born on June 19, 1978. His name is from James Abram Garfield, the 20th president of the United States. He is an orange fat cat that eats human food. Garfield is a fictional character. However, with the development of technology, it can also appear in live action films. Sin city (Appendix22) is also a typical example. It’s made up of three stories, all in the virtual city of sin, where the police and the thugs are no different. Violence destroys everything and protects everything. In the three stories, most of the pictures are from the game. Marv, who was ugly and hot tempered, met Gail, a blonde, and a one-night stand gave Marv the warmth he never had (Appendix23). However, when he woke up, he found Gail lying next to him murdered. His heart was kindled by the flames of anger and revenge, vowing to investigate the truth and find the murderer who killed his love (Appendix24). Dwight McCarthy used to be a criminal. After plastic surgery, he became a boyfriend of the bartender Shellie, and taught her a lesson about her tangled ex-boyfriend, Jackie boy, who was violent. Dwight McCarthy followed Jackie boy and his gang to the old town ruled by the prostitute gang. Jackie boy did not follow the rules and was killed by prostitutes. Then they found that Jackie boy was a policeman. His death broke the agreement between prostitutes and the police. Dwight McCarthy has to help them cover up their crimes and protect their rights (Appendix25). Hartigan is retiring due to a heart attack. In the last hour of his police career, he received intelligence that Senator’s son Roark Jr. kidnapped 11-year-old Nancy, who was the main suspect in several rapes. Hartigan rescued Nancy by himself, abandoned Roark Jr. and was seriously injured (Appendix26). For the next eight years, Roger’s father, a senator, used his power to keep him in jail (Appendix27). The plot continues. The film is full of blood, darkness and even dismemberment. Because some of the directors’ ultimate ideas cannot be realized by realistic means, only through caricature can they achieve the ideal effect.
With the filmmakers becoming more and more picky about the shooting methods of films, learning from games has become a breakthrough way. Through the introduction of some special game effects, a film becomes more attractive and can provide better audio-visual experience for the audience. That is to say, some feelings that could not be visualized have changed, which will make the audiences have a more intuitive contact with the content of a film, thus producing resonance.
4.5Interactive film modeled on the game settings
Interactive film is a type of game, which is characterized by similar film and focuses on screenwriting (Pomerance,2016). Usually, such a kind of game will use the animation made by live action capture or live action films to represent the game content. Interactivity is the most distinctive feature of games, which is reflected in the development of the audiences’ participation in the plot of the film. Interactive film is still in its infancy. Games have become the main reference for interactive films, and it also provide positive enlightenment for the improvement of the structure mode and viewing mode of contemporary films. At present, it is a very new type of game with a lot of disadvantages. To begin with, the current interactive film is mainly concentrated in the genre of suspense. In fact, there are a lot of types worth and suitable for developing interactive film. For example, people can use the subjective view to shoot love interactive games or adventure games which could guide players to a totally new world. Moreover, its logic is not strong enough, resulting in inferior viewing experience. While surprisingly in this way of production, people have also found that the creative power of content is limited. Most interactive films have logical shortcomings due to cost issues and difficulty in production. The narrative technique of traditional film is difficult to implement under too many branches, which is very challenging for the creator. As a result, the pre-production of these interactive films is very difficult. The script has to be repeatedly scrutinized, and the camera shots need to be fabulous, which will raise the cost and increase the difficulty of profit. For the interactive film, the branch of the plot is indispensable, so the cost of shooting the interactive film may be several times that of the traditional film. It is undoubtedly a major pressure for the later broadcast and marketing. Nevertheless, the popularity of interactive films continues.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Appendix28) is a good example. In 2018, Netflix released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, an interactive “choose your own adventure” film. As soon as it was released, fans began to interpret its narrative branches, analyze its symbolism, and look for its Easter eggs. The audience must watch the episode step by step online on Netflix without offline download or progress bar. In the process of watching, two options will pop up on the screen at any time to let the audiences decide the next action of the hero, and the choice of each step will affect the different development of the story. Just like many films will have multiple ending versions, it has also made several more versions of the plot, which is an interactive way for the audiences to choose the plot during the watching process. In 1984, Stefan, a programmer who lost his mother when he was young, wanted to develop a game adapted from the novel Bandersnatch. It is also interactive. Players only need to choose one from the other all the time to make the game develop. His idea won the recognition of the game company, and the boss asked Stefan to make the game. But in the process of writing the game, Stefan gradually fell into the illusion of struggling with his mother’s tragic past and blaming his father. Because he hid Stefan’s dolls, his mother missed one train and got on the next derailed train. What’s more, Stefan was seriously influenced by the novel and fell into the same skepticism as the novelist. In fact, the choice of the audiences is very important for the fate of the hero. The audience almost had to choose from the beginning. It was up to Stefan to decide which brand of cereal to eat for breakfast and which tape to listen to on the bus. With the continuous selection, the plot began to change significantly. What matters is not the ending, but what drives Stefan crazy. Interactive film can let the audience choose a character to follow up, which is to let them and the characters get the synchronous feeling. At the beginning, an audience replaced himself or herself with Stefan, a programmer, who constantly chose different options, tried to escape the illusion and try to find the truth. But gradually, he realized that he was under the control of others, and that person was a random audience in front of the screen. That is to say, the “devil” of the story is not the father, the psychologist, the so-called government conspiracy, but the audiences.
There are two aspects to evaluate the plot of an interactive films, one is the plot, the other is the choice of players. Whether the plot is complete, whether the branches are rich, and how much they touch the players’ emotions are very important. Even if it just recreates the classic films, the experience brought by the game to the audience is always unique. Only in the game can the audiences really have the opportunity to try to become the person in the play, to stand in the position of “he” or “she” to influence the development of the story and change the fate of “oneself”, rather than a spectator outside the play. So, whether it’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or any other similar works, it’s absolutely not advisable to treat them only by “watching”, which is tantamount to denying the fundamental value of interactive films.
Films and games are highly dependent on technology, have strong momentum of development, and have commonalities in art forms, production methods, entertainment hotspots and other aspects, but they also have great complementarities. These similarities and complementarities provide a solid foundation for their industrial cooperation. Nowadays, they have become the favorite form of entertainment for young people. Although decisive words can cause misunderstanding in an academic paper, there is no doubt that games and films have influenced and integrated each other.
In this paper, the five main methods about the interaction between games and films mark that their boundaries are gradually crossed. In the early stage of film development, its narrative is linear, that is to say, it abides by the rules. In fact, the films also need to learn from the non-linear narrative structure in the games because the traditional linear narrative structure has reached its ceiling. Narrative structure is often used as a skeleton to support the overall framework of the games. The non-linear narrative structure can not only promote each other’s play, but also control the players’ emotions and strengthen the immersion of the games. Similarly, it can achieve the same effect in the film. Secondly, no matter in the games or in the films, FPV can make the players or the audience have a strong sense of substitution. On the other hand, films made from the FPV are easy to annoy the audiences, because they think that the shaking camera caused their vertigo. Thirdly, in the process of game and movie integration, IP adaptation is the most familiar way. Nowadays, more and more game companies are no longer relying on games to make profits, but to develop large-scale IP based on a well-known game, and to develop film forms under this IP. A large number of game IP has been adapted into films, but there are few successful examples. To a certain extent, although IP has the favor of capital and a large number of fans, the careless treatment will not make IP obtain huge economic benefits. Moreover, the sound effect and animation in the games can be used for reference by the films to update the shooting techniques. Finally, interactive film is the most popular way to blend the two. Its disadvantages are the most. It’s very difficult to write interactive films. In addition, it’s not conducive to the growth of interactive films without a certain profit model. However, it can continue to be improved as the latest extension mode of games and films integration. At the same time, other ways are not without disadvantages. When games and films have reached a certain stage, their integration and future promotion are necessary and need to be taken into consideration.
For example, in the initial stage of IP development, relevant personnel need to consider how to develop films and how to design games. While ensuring the IP characteristics, relevant personnel would better find some combination points and extend each other. In marketing, relevant personnel can even consider to let users participate in, according to the needs of users, constantly improve the film plot and game content, so as to better meet the needs of the public. Besides, in marketing and promotion, the game industry and film industry should cooperate with each other to jointly improve the public’s attention to IP. Generally speaking, there are two ways to improve these conditions. The first way is to find a better profit model. Secondly, content is the key to success. These approaches can also be used to improve other conditions. The deep integration of film and game is the general trend of pan-entertainment industry in the future. Under this trend, new forms of film and game are likely to appear in the future. Two industries are entering a more mature period of in-depth transformation. Many companies, from the game business, film business, IP reserves, industrial chain resources, integration capabilities and other aspects have a stronger strength and excellent collaborative interaction ability. It can be predicted that as the driving force of the collision between film and game, the integration of the two will stimulate the emerging cultural industry to usher in the market explosion again.
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Interviewer: Good morning, may I have a simple interview with you?
Interviewee A: Of course, I’m very interested. What is it about?
Interviewer: The topic of the interview is about video games and films. What’s your first impression of them?
Interviewee A: Recently, I just watched Gemini Man starring Willard Christopher Smith Jr. It’s wonderful. Can you imagine a 51-year-old killer meeting a 21-year-old? It is the innovation of film technology. In addition, among our small groups, Tencent’s PUBG is a shooting game that we all pay attention to, similar to CS, but it is more exciting. In the game, players need to collect all kinds of resources on the game map, and confront other players in the shrinking security area, so that they can survive to the end.
Interviewer: Wow, you’re addicted to it. What factors do you think make you interested in it? You know, PUBG.
Interviewee A: Its first-person view can allow you to experience immersively. Moreover, its sound effect is really great. Lots of weapons to choose from, AK47, bombs, knives, etc. You can become teammates with real friends or strangers from other regions to fight against other players. I’m really fascinated by it.
Interviewer: It seems that you are familiar with both films and games. Do you know that they have started to influence each other?
Interviewee A: It seems so. To be honest, I’m a bit vague. Can I give you a hint?
Interviewer: Do you know Pokémon Detective Pikachu? It’s a film adapted from the game.
Interviewee A: Oh, it reminds me of many classic Nintendo games, Super Mario Bros, Contra and so on. I don’t know if they are also adapted into film. I need to search.
Interviewer: In fact, there are, but some have succeeded and some have failed. As the old saying goes, everything has two sides.
Interviewee A: It suddenly occurred to me that they really influenced each other. That is, they are all in the same lucrative business. In my impression, the profits unit of the game industry and the film industry are all base on a hundred million.
Interviewer: It’s true that they can all make huge economic profits, so the others, you know?
Interviewee A: I think I should go back to find the relevant information.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your interview.
Interviewee A: You’re welcome!
Interviewer: Nice to meet you!
Interviewee B: Nice to meet you, too!
Interviewer: You seem to be very knowledgeable, because you are wearing glasses, maybe you will be familiar with the topic of my interview. My interview topic is whether you know the blending of games and movies.
Interviewee B: It’s a very common phenomenon. Now, most of the popular films draw on the elements of the game. Many famous game IP is adapted into movies as a way, such as Warcraft. It is the Bible of generations, that is to say, it has a large number of fans, so its box office has also been a basic guarantee, which is the source of director’s confidence. In addition, I’ve been focusing on an American play, which is also a very famous game. Now it’s played as an interactive film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. You know, it really suits me. I’ve always been a puzzle fan and a veteran mystery fan. In fact, I just heard that I haven’t experienced it myself.
Interviewer: It seems that you fully agree that the integration of the two has become an unchangeable trend.
Interviewee B: Undoubtedly! They also have to be integrated. There are too many ways of entertainment for modern people, which requires innovation in the game and film industry. The demand of the market and the attention of the capital make them take a wise way to influence each other.
Interviewer: My first impression is not wrong. You are very knowledgeable indeed.
Interviewee B: You are flattering me. I just analyze video games and films from my daily experience, not like scholars who specialize in them. Strictly speaking, my understanding of the specific situation of their integration is not very comprehensive.
Interviewer: I think you know a lot.
Interviewee B: It’s nice talking with you, but I’m still busy. I’m afraid it’s over.
Interviewer: OK, thank you sincerely!
Interviewee B: Have a great time. Goodbye!
Interviewer: Hello, nice day!
Interviewee C: As long as you keep in a good mood, the weather will always be good. Are you going to interview me? Tell me, what’s the theme?
Interviewer: Video games and films.
Interviewee C: Very familiar topic, look at me, typical video game fans and film fans. Do you want to ask what are the most impressive video games and movies? That’s too much to say for a while.
Interviewer: I’m happy to listen, and I want you to talk about which ways they influence each other.
Interviewee C: I can talk a lot about the first half. I’m afraid I don’t know much about the second half, because it’s a little academic
Interviewer: The last interviewer told me that it is a common phenomenon.
Interviewee C: I don’t know much about it, but I remember a film. It’s a film directed by Stephen Chow, Kung Fu. In the film, some exaggerated plots may be based on game factors, such as the chase scene between the hero and the landlady. The running hero’s legs are the same as the wheel. In addition, the compact sound effect is the same as the cue in the game.
Interviewer: Look, you know a lot.
Interviewee C: I just say what I think, and I don’t know anything else.
Interviewer: OK, you seem to be going out to play.
Interviewee C: Yes, I’m afraid our conversation is coming to an end.
Interviewer: Enjoy yourself!
Interviewee C: Thanks!