As I mentioned over the weekend, video games have once again become part of my life. And as I explore far away lands like Hyrule or Gaia, along with newer places like the city of Rapture in BioShock, I can't help but be amazed at how far video games have come in the past decade. And with that in mind, I'm left wondering why the New Release rack at Blockbuster is still filled with 90 percent garbage. For a business that relies on entertaining people, the movie industry really needs to take some pages out of the video game play book.
Video games have become the most entertaining form of enjoyment. Period. Think back to some of the new movies you've watched in the past few years and tell me how many of these justified the two hours you wasted watching it. Chances are, that number will be quite low when compared to the number of great games you've played in the last year. Of course, the reason for this is quite simple: The movie industry has become monolithic and its very business model has become derivative and outdated. There is very little drive for anyone to make a unique and extremely exciting movie anymore because producers know that many of us will go out and watch the garbage no matter how bad it is. On the other hand, video game developers--largely relegated to second-class by the Hollywood-types--have something to prove. And in the process of proving themselves, it's the video game developers that are providing the real entertainment.
Over the past month, I've rented or purchased well over 25 movies. Of those 25, I'd be lying if I didn't say that about five were good. On the other hand, look at new video game releases like BioShock or the impending release of Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid. These titles will feature an epic storyline, engaging characters and a plot that will keep you up at night. Are there any recently released or upcoming movies that you can say the same about? I doubt it.
Movies have become boring and derivative. What ever happened to variety? Every time I look for a movie, I'm offered one of three things: a "blood-pumping thriller", a "laugh-out-loud comedy", or your run-of-the-mill family drama. Can't these people come up with something different? And as soon as October rolls around, a flood of horror movies will invade movie theaters all over the world with each offering nothing new to the stale genre.
And while there are some derivative motifs in the gaming business, it's a far more innovative industry. Take BioShock, for example. The game is a first-person shooter, which is old, but it adds a new experience and engaging storyline to keep us coming back for more.
I've always enjoyed news stories that discuss the fall in box-office numbers and raised ticket prices to offset the high costs of running a movie theater. More often than not, these "cinemas" blame the public for raised prices and declining sales. Even better, they normally scoff at the video game industry when individual games outperform movies at the box office. But what the movie industry fails to understand and the video game business does, is that people are fed up with junk.
For too long, we've been subjected to the mind-numbing stories of love, action and drama. How many more times can I see a man and a woman dislike each other, then love each other, then hate each other and then fall back in love with each other? Enough is enough.
The movie industry needs to take some notes from the video game developers. Trust me, it's the only way to bring us back.