What language should video games speak?
October 01, 2007
A couple of days ago I enjoyed an interesting exchange with Daniel Radosh, author of the recent New York Times op-ed piece on video games. I posted a brief essay on his Times article; he responded with a helpful comment; and I replied with another comment post. I also devoted part of yesterday's podcast to some of the issues raised in Daniel's article.
Not to be outdone by either of us, Wes Jacks (a graduate student in film studies at the University of Wisconson--and an old friend) has submitted an extraordinarily thoughtful essay that expands and reexamines some of the current video game/early cinema parallels articulated by Radosh and others:
The problem with the appeal to older forms of storytelling is that the new medium sacrifices a sense of its uniqueness. Although I admit to entering dangerous waters, I would argue (alongside a theorist like Kracauer) that a film like Umberto D, which was written directly for the screen and depends so heavily on the visual style developed by the director, is inherently ‘more cinematic’ than a faithful cinematic adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations. Likewise, I'd consider a game like Katamari more intimately tied to the potential of the video gaming medium than the latest LOTR spinoff.
You can read the full text of Jacks' essay here.