Saturday, March 10, 2012

Watching Games the next movie experience?

I am not a gamer. I stink at games. Puzzles? OK. Point and click adventure? If I have the time. Shoot-em-up? My last real one was the original Doom and Doom2. Even that was mostly played in co-op mode. Yep, it was over a network, something very rare back in the day. But I digress.
Games now are so much like mini movies. They have that cinematic quality to them. Everything is on a big scale. Most game budgets dwarf movie budgets now. It's no longer just during the cut-scenes. Some games used to be so bad, it consisted mostly of cut-scenes. You just basically play for a while until it reaches a point where it plays another cut-scene. 
Great games make you feel like you are living a movie. Wished you were Indiana Jones? Wish no more and be a Lego version of him. 

Games tie-ins have been around for a long time. But it's fairly recent that gameplay has come close to make you feel like being part of a movie. This brings up a problem. So what if you don't play games? Not just don't play them. Can't play games. Even if your life depended on it.
Do the next best thing: Watch someone else play! 
Walkthrus or Walkthroughs are videos of people playing games. People do this to show how it is played or the best way to play through a game. Walkthrus used to be long text files that describe the mundane and trivial. Reading a walkthru before playing a game will most likely tick you off and discourage you from playing it. The opposite is true with current walkthrus which are recordings made while someone else plays the game. YouTube is full of them and they come in a variety of styles. Some have witty commentary to explain what to do and why. Others just have the player make occasional remarks while allowing the viewer to listen to the game itself.
Basically, walkthrus are to help other gamers who are stuck in the middle of a game. It shows what to do and does it and shows what to expect when you do it. It's also like watching over someone's shoulder while they are playing the game. This is cool because 
  1. You don't have to actually stand around. 
  2. You get to pause and rewind what's happening
  3. That person you watching doesn't get annoyed.
If you're not sure about a game, I recommend starting with an intro of a game to see whether they are worth watching. Some games have trailers and are as useful as movie trailers.. which isn't. RoosterTeeth have their YouTube channel that showcases some games under the This is ... playlist. This series show off a few minutes of gameplay.

Once you like a game, go ahead watch a walkthru. Some games are more cinematic and lend themselves to the viewing experience. For example, Alan Wake's American Nightmare is a game that borrows heavily from movies and movie making which makes it a good watch. It also has a rich back-story that is told through radio broadcasts and short clips that appear on TV.  The atmosphere is very "Twilight Zone"-ish and the cheesy voice-over harks back to TV-land of yesteryear. 

Your mileage may vary. Some games a best enjoyed in short clips which shows off key actions sequences. I'd like to hear some of the walkthrus you've watched and what do you recommend. 

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