Monday, December 10, 2007

Does Hollywood Have it Wrong?

Via Instapundit, a reader writes an email wondering how Hollywood can claim the public does not want Iraqi War movies when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, an excellent first-person-shooter video game set in the environment of modern combat, has sold over 3 million copies?

So, if as Hollywood whines that the public doesn' t want Iraqi War movies, why is this selling so well, top of the rental lists, and ever so popular? At this rate it'll be the successful game companies, that gives the pubic what they want, who'll buy out the studios for their IP and name. Hollywood appears to have missed the impact of the technological shift as badly as MSM has. The public is getting the entertainment they crave, just not in the form that the old gatekeepers dispense.

I would bet a gamer didn't write this. Please do not get me wrong, there are kernels of truth to what he is writing, but any gamer who was playing Battlefield 1942 circa 2003 would have noticed the immense popularity of Desert Combat, the (free) modern combat mod to Battlefield 1942 and the follow up to BF1942, Battlefield 2, a modern combat shooter with U.S. Forces battling the Middle Eastern Coalition and a Chinese Army. If I recall, the bad guys in Counterstrike are terrorists as well.

Call of Duty 4's success does not surprise me. The Call of Duty series is probably the gold standard (at least on PC) as far as infantry-only first person shooters are concerned (albeit not perfect) ever since the first one came out (although it took several months of fixes to get it right IMO). The cinematic quality of the single player campaigns are nearly unparalleled, and the multiplayer is a blast. The franchise delivers in its most recent version as well, as I hear from people who have played it (I have not).

I would also guess that the immersive nature of the game, being involved in the storyline and the countless hours of single player and, especially, multiplayer gaming is what makes games like this popular, not any political message. Most people I know play for the enjoyment of the entertainment experience. It does not necessarily follow that one can translate that experience into a theatrical experience. It can happen, but I doubt video game sales have much to do with it.

I have a sinking suspicion that people play games not to get in touch with their inner patriot, but to blow s--t up. I know I loved doing the latter.

After all, there was nothing like getting people really upset in BF2 with my impeccable technique with what is known as the "Jihad Jeep". If you did not play Battlefield 2, you probably will not appreciate the clip because you would not appreciate the talent of loading a vehicle with C4 and propelling it towards enemy tanks:

P.S.: When was the last time a movie based on a video game was anything worth writing home about? Doom, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter (yes, I saw them all) were awful. Anyone have any ideas?


The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Resident Evil.

East Coast Libertarian said...

Thank you. I had a feeling I was missing something.

Fair point.

Tony said...

I have a sinking suspicion that people play games not to get in touch with their inner patriot, but to blow s--t up. I know I loved doing the latter.

Bingo. Immersion in the gameplay is key, not the politics or nobility of the subject.

I enjoy playing lots of different games on Xbox 360. That doesn't mean I want to see a movie about it. Active versus passive involvement is huge.