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1:51 AM on 03.27.2015

Final Fantasy VI: Of Operas and Nihilism Act 1

Of artistry and video games, one often is hard pressed to find when the defining moment had been created. Could it be when the first avatars of game players were created for Pong? Or perhaps when the console Nintendo Entertainment System's (NES) Super Mario Bros. was released dictating one of the first stories and finest craft seen for a game? Perhaps when Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior appeared on the arcade scene and reviving it with a gameplay artistry that was impossible to ignore.

Ideas of gameplay skill being artistic the same way as a basketball player weaves through defensemen for a slam dunk, or how a figure skater lands a triple loop, the problem we find is that it was still based on skill. Skill in a limited fashion of the world created which cannot improve beyond it's technical limitations whereas those sports analogies continue to grow, change and innovate. No in this essay I propose that the 6th entry of the Final Fantasy (FF6) series was the first game to have birthed artistry in gaming like Venus from the sea foam.

To start, it was a game that pushed the technical limits of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Even though 3D pologonic gaming had started to arise in the industry, this was at a time where the skills of the game designers were at their peak at the era, but knew that they didn't have unlimited resources to tell a story but instead they needed the limited resources of their imagination. As I said before skill found in playing a game is not artistry because of the technical limitations and but it's through the design to create more than the sum of it's parts that made FF6 artistic. One only has to look at FF7 as a game that they wanted FF6 to be, but didn't get a chance to do so at the time.

Taking a cue from Opera, they created a show that is half in reality and half in the mind of imagination. Offering not just bigger everything from it's previous entry but BIG in general. This was a game that was meant to be heard from the front rows of Japan to the back rows of North America.

But from the beginning, we get our Heroine of the stage. Like a grand diva she is escorted even treated like royalty with a crown and enters into the town of Narshe. This is truly surprising because this is almost a prologue to the first act, even becoming a sort of behind the scenes look of the opera of FF6 as if seeing the paparazzi trying to get a glimpse at the star of the show before she takes the stage.

After a tough entry into the theatre, she ends up in a house of what we could really see it as, a dressing room. She is resting, revived and reborn as Terra! I don't use reborn lightly since you can literally assign her name like a parent. Working on two levels, it's appropriate that she started out as ?????? as a blank canvas. Because as we progress through the game we see her character built through your actions (the beforementioned artistry of gameplay skill) but also through the game designer's intention.

But as we see Terra escape from the Narshe warriors, it's merely saying that it's almost time for curtain rise. She exist to backstage and appears on the first stage! To emphasize it's breaking the mold of games of being the first artistic one, we find her on a stage that can be seen from both sides for the audience. Drastic almost impractical stage set ups have to be created in order to equal to anything in reality but still it makes sense. Innovation demands experimentation.

More things happen, Locke appears and in our first multi party battle, the truth is revealed. It's actually an appearance of a Chorus of moogles, which fulfill the purpose of a chorus by summarizing the types of weapons available throughout the game. Is there any other reason why Mog has the technique "dance"?

But what of the Nihlism you ask? Interestingly our avatar for Nihlism is through the form of Kefka Palazzo. It's interesting how we first are introduced to him properly through him in the middle of the desert. A useless empty stage, much like his viewpoint on motivations to exist. If there was anything to solidify that video games are art is by the sheer existence of Kefka's laugh sound. Now notice I say "laugh sound" not his laugh. Why you ask? Ask yourself the question if you heard his laugh from any other voice actor or different technical level of sound, would it evoke the same feeling. Would it actually his be laugh? No. Kefka's laugh has been engrained into the very technical speakers and hardware of the game. True art could never be recreated, perhaps remade or paid homage to, but never recreated to be exactly like the original.

But what is commonly evoked as the most artistic for the game is the Opera scene. To be fair the singing sounds like wails and squeaks and warbles. But why does it evoke such a sense of power? Is it because it's a game that dares to have an opera in it, perhaps being the first opera a lot of game players have ever seen let alone want to be involved in? Or is it because it actually sounded good despite it's limitations? I think it goes deeper than that. It's because this inception of an Opera is an homage to itself. From the Act 1 of the Returners reuniting, this beginning of the Act 3 states that you are already playing an opera. Like L'OrFeo, Locke being Orpheus looking to bring back Terra from the brink of her own hell of being half esper or unloved and unknown.

The opera scene is pivotal because it summarizes the feelings you have been having about the game already. The cast has been set, as if every new character was an audition in itself. From Cyan's solo one man act of kicking ass, to taking in a true Diva of the opera Celes. Now the game engages us the way we have been engaging it. It is moving and we have to react with our outputs to it's inputs. We have to produce the right outputs lest the game gives up in it's own "controller throwing" moment and resets the scene. Like how the game follows the script when we play, we have to follow the script when it plays us.

Finally after Setzer appears, being an obvious homage to Don Giovanni, the Impresario states

Unforeseen twists at every turn! Just as we think Maria is to become Locke's new bride, she's dragged off by Setzer instead! What fate lies in store for her now? Be sure to come back and see Part Two!

We are literally told that there is more to come. And with that. I leave Act 1 of this essay and will think about Act 2 at another time.


7:21 PM on 11.17.2012

The Voyeurism of Lakitu: "Let's play-ce's Demon"


The 4th wall in video games became fully realized when Lakitu is the cameraman for Super Mario 64. It's a simple enough concept with the 4th wall always being where the audience is behind viewing the show, the actions, the actors and actresses. However unlike cinema or the stage, the concept of the video game 4th wall is very different. It's the first time in entertainment the 4th wall can be engaged beyond the scope of what the director wants us to see. Instead of a constant fixed perspective, a movable camera means we can direct our own gaze to what we want to see. Yes, in some ways this 4th wall is more constrained because the world has to be designed, created, with it's boundaries being fractionally smaller in comparison to the earth, the limitations only bounded by the hardware and the imagination. However with movies, it's not like we can take the camera away from the director and decide to see the area they chosen for us. For all the limitations the game world might have, every accessible inch is for us to look at our discretion. In some ways the 4th wall ceases to exist because how can a wall exist when the 3 walls can always change? Can it really be a 4th when there is 360 of walls to be had?

In a clever move of both revealing and destroying the 4th wall, the mirror room reminds us that the camera has been Lakitu all along. However if the camera producing the 4th wall caught itself in it's gaze, then does it become part of the world? Being able to produce a 4th wall loses all meaning because now it has become part of the scene, where does it begin? Does or can it even exist in the traditional sense?

In some ways Lakitu doesn't have the traditional role as voyeur. Yes he holds the camera, however he does not have a viewfinder in which to see the contents of the camera. He is a witness to events, but lacks the necessary disassociation with the subject in order to fit that role. He can only imagine what it captures or how the film would appear. The audience in turn takes on the role as the voyeur. In a rare instance we have become both director and audience.

As a passive viewer of cinema and stage, we are stuck with the gaze the director given us. Hopefully showing us the beauty of the screenplay through their and the crew's ability. However the difference being in actively engaging in our entertainment is that we actually have power as the voyeur by directing the camera in a spot to see our actions, satisfying our whims. The artisty of the game is hardly ever in it's cinematic view because no matter how beautiful it looks, the screenplay of the game is determined by our actions and buttons presses. Hence how game enjoyment suffers when they camera system is a problem. If it's not there to capture the actions, the artistry does not exist.

We are telling the story through the joystick. The technique is the screenplay for which the character enacts on screen. Just as the camera is the input for recording the visuals and revealing the essence of the film, the controller records our button presses to revealing the essence of the game. Therein where the power lies.

If we compare Lakitu's role with the player's we are on opposite sides of a similar role:

- Is in the reality of the scene.
- Is only a witness, not a voyeur because he is not displaced by the camera.
- Does not know the content of the camera.

- Not in the reality of the world.
- Knows the contents of the actions and therefore changes the power of the voyeur from anonymous viewer to anonymous controller.
- Is displaced because of the camera and viewing the scene through it.

Traditionally the voyeur takes pleasure in seeing the activity that is occurring but without notice or interference. Part of the enjoyment is seeing an activity playing out just as you would have wanted it, however at the same time not knowing the intent of the subject or it's further actions. Intentions and emotions could only be interpreted by the subject's actions and the viewer's imagination much like the cinema and stage.

With video games it turns this idea around. Suddenly the viewer is in charge of the actions even the emotional intent of the subject. Our inputs are the screenplay of which the character can only interpret what we want them to do within the scope of their abilities; substituting the directors directions with ours. Another aspect of this change is Mario knows that he is being filmed; knows that he is the subject of our gaze. So in what way is the state of voyeurism still applicable if the subject is aware? Because instead of us interpreting what his actions mean; he has to interpret our inputs into the controller, much like how an actor interprets the screenplay and direction. Our enjoyment is now seeing our inputs become the controller of the activity. The abstraction of not knowing the subjects thoughts are now reversed for Mario not knowing anything about our thoughts.

On Sept 30th dinosaurs will fly in a bid to impart the traditional role of voyeurism onto the viewer. How are we to interpret this? What are the button presses in order to perform such a feat? Only our imagination can see this. Even in the demo view of the game, they show us how to perform this feat, wresting control away from us again and making us the passive viewer again. Everything comes full circle and the traditional definition of voyeur returns. Where the passive viewing of cinema and stage can be enjoyed by an audience of many, the actual active engagement of the game can be only enjoyed by few, often singular. However as the gamer plays in the presence of others, they themselves have become the subject of voyeurism of the audience watching them play. You might say, "Hey, the audience is in the same room/reality as the player, much like Lakitu is with Mario. How is this different than just being a witness like Lakitu?"

It's different because like an actor who cannot break their eyeline in order to maintain the continuation scene, the gamer cannot break their eyeline of the screen to maintain the continuation of the game. While the audience may not be looking directly at the gamer, they are still looking at them through a lens. The lens of the television in which the actions are played out just like how they wanted to be for their entertainment, but not fully knowing the emotions or intent of the gamer. The gamer has become the audience, director and subject all at the same time, fulfilling the act of voyeurism by their audience. The 4th wall returns both through the lens of the television and the concentration needed to block out anyone not engaging with the game.

It's funny that creating "Let's Play..." videos sort of undermine this whole process of both the 4th wall and voyeurism. Mostly due to the camera capturing the game doesn't involve a real life camera, but instead the abstract of a recording program; therefore making further dissolution of the 4th wall by try to minimize the role of the camera. The second undermining action is expressing the feelings and intent of the gamer, therefore eliminating any sort of enjoyment through interpretation of the subject's actions. Coupled with the fact that they produced this video knowing full well that people seek it destroys any last bit of voyeurism for the audience.

In a misuse of the pun in my title, it's only speedruns or TAS playthrough's that truly mimic the Laplace Demon concept, knowing where every action and atom's place in the game in order to reveal it's true artistry through gameplay. Perhaps because to return being a voyeur of gaming, you have to fulfill the screenplay so perfectly, the actions are known but the intent and methods not. It's through this often silent run through a game that we take pleasure in seeing the activity without notice or interference that returns us back into the role of voyeur and perhaps by almost tricking Lakitu's ability to keep up with Mario's his role with us.   read

11:51 AM on 12.25.2010

How Akuma Kicked Christmas' Ass

A yuletide tradition among fighting game enthusiasts, but I did this shitty image version of the song. Enjoy and click on "next" for the next stanza

Merry Christmas to all.   read

2:00 AM on 08.27.2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Box Office; really what did you expect?

I love Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Brilliantly adapted. The changes from the novel were beyond well suited, they were strokes of genius. Wright gets it right. Simply the best adapted creative work since Harry Potter: PoA.

However upon watching the dismay at the box office and the apparently failure of film, even going so far as vanity fair making a plea to watch this film which can appeal to most everyone and anyone; really does it seem like such a stretch that Pilgrim is goose egging at the theaters?

You have Edgar Wright which an apparent niche group of people get his brand of humour. You have Michael Cera who's success in films are only determined by whether it's an alternative darling of the month, a series that is totally aimed at 30-40 year olds with distinct nostolgia of a certain time era and a concept that based on what most people think is a comic book.

It's like somehow people thought this perfect storm union of geekery would result in a media geek hammer that would bludgeon's people's apprehension to watch films like these, like smashing a badnik and making them into a fluffy Pilgrim embracing animal. I for one am glad for the marketing this film had got, like many of you I am also disappointed at how badly it performed at the box office. I'm not one for rankings, ratings and numbers anymore, I left that back in the Entertainment Tonight era in the late 90's, but given it's content, what it is and how far it came along perhaps this financial failure (so far) is an indication of how good it actually is. We basically got on of the best films of the year being a geek filled, fun film that includes all aspects of geek culture from games, music, film and comics. I knew that when the trailer said "It's on like Donkey Kong," they were not screwing around with making this film for us and not trying to make it for everyone.

IMHO Scott Pilgrim is a success, as much as a success as it could be given the odds. Be content it got this chance, that it actually exists in such a way that it's not a complete bastardization of the taste of the fanbase.   read

2:16 PM on 01.19.2010

When a gaming community comes together to mourn.

In this world where gaming is still seen as this activity of bloodthirsty shut ins, middle aged loners (or until recently middle-aged housewives looking for an online trick) and a reason for obesity, it's hard pressed to find good examples of positive news or examples of gamers. Yes we do come together to celebrate gaming but often when anyone talks about the community, they refer to it as a fanbase or a market to exploit; or more importantly a group of fanatics that will cry foul over some gameplay tweak or in game glitch than talk well of each other. Even praise amongst us is superficial idolization of the best rather than the character behind that talent.

I'm doing this post because I'm part of a great gaming community of and a well known contributing member of that community Ricardo "Dasrik" LaFaurie had passed away. It's funny because I knew Dasrik from another online forum well before joining up at It's hard to imagine that you can know someone online for 10 years, which IMHO is a lifetime. But it's even harder to imagine that someone who's a part of your online history is now gone. While it's easy to dismiss online relationships, there are real people on the other side. While we might forgive the shortcomings of the random troll or idiot, when you actually have someone who isn't acting like a complete moron; that makes for a solid friendship and it his harder when you lose them.

We've come together when one of our members have passed away and this time I think it needs special mention because of the unprecedented amount of love, support and generosity from a gaming community concerning the life of a human being.

Currently we've:

- Raised over $5000 in donations that will 100% go to his family.
- Had an anonymous donor of $2000 from a single person.
- Currently have a special memorial raffle for a Mad Catz Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition with proceeds going towards the memorial fund.
- Countless of condolences from members all across the fighting game community.

I will admit, yes I will post links to the donation page and the raffle because even if it seems inappropriate, this tragic moment in life reaffirms that gamers are good people and our community should be indicative that some people reading this are as considerate and caring as any other gaming community. It goes to show that we are not a bunch of anti-social nerds who need to be regulated by a gov't body, but human beings. This is an example of the positive aspects of the gaming community that everyone should know and take to heart.

If you wish to participate in the memorial raffle here is the information.!

This is the RIP Thread for Dasrik:

This is the original donation thread:

If you wish to donate you are more than welcomed to. This has grown beyond anything anyone had hoped for. Even if you simply want to make a account to say RIP in the thread, it will be appreciated.

R.I.P Dasrik   read

12:01 AM on 05.15.2009

A reason for non-Nintendo Handheld FF1-6 Remakes

FF13 heading to X-Box 360 brought a small insight to the bizarre relationship we gamers have with Squaresoft's business practices. In regards to FF7, it held a sway over gamers to jump Nintenship onto the PS1 decks, created a near decade (and somewhat ongoing) wait for Square to return back to Nintendo. It established a new graphical order and design for games in the series. In regards to FF1, it's release history across multiple platforms and multiple times reflects it's historical importance in gaming history; truly a game for the people regardless of console loyalty. In regards to FF6 it represents a pinnacle of 2D 16-bit RPGing, a crown jewel representation of Nintendo's golden age; and being the last flagship FF to hit Nintendo, is possibly the reason why FF1-FF5 have gotten advance or remakes out of some sort guilt licensing out of leaving Nintendo when they did. Having a huge ass user base probably helped to, but still it's nice to think that way.

With remakes of FF3 and FF4 released on the DS, it might be safe to assume that continuing the idea of this retro-loyalty Square-Enix might follow suit with FF5 and FF6 as well. This would have been the best consolation prize that any fan of the pre-FF7 games would enjoy. It strikes a peculiar balance between catering to nostalgia via keeping some elements such as super deformed chibi characters and adherence to the original plot; but also gives us an illusionary graphical remake by modeling the characters after their Amano designs rather than the SNES in battle representations. For most fans of the artwork who could only glimpse at the protagonists in their intended form via the menu screen or only appreciate the art by the enemy sprites; I imagine it was a treat to finally see the other side of the battle line being just as artistically expressed.

Lord Cecil, you certainly look more badass than being the size of one tile.

However Square-Enix has always been the tease. Just as we were comfortable with the idea that the FF3DS engine is the best that they will offer in terms of graphical representation of the pre-FF7 games, Dissidia changed a few things both for the better and somewhat for the worst. Aside from a tech demo, and her FF Anthology appearance FF6's Terra was represented in quality 3D, along with Bartz from FF5 and what we could easily say an upgraded version of Cecil's FF4DS model which already featured cinematics that stirred up dreams for a more real-time offering on par with current gen productions.

See what a real cash grab effort looks like?

As some of the A-List games become more brown and grey it only reinforces me standing in the camp that games are getting far too realistic nowadays. Why push the boundaries of realism when you have at your disposal to create anything you want or want the players to see. At least with games like Loco Roco, Okami, Team Fortress 2, Patapon and other games we are beginning to see more developers trying for something more stylistic than realistic. In fact since the time I wrote this rant, many games had went to a non-realism route, with even some games changing midstream to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Borderlands before and after art style change

That's why I was always sort of torn whether any of the pre-FF7 games should ever be remade because in the end we'd just get photo-realism as opposed to something that rivaled our imagination at the time of playing those games. Granted the DS intro cinematics and Dissidia certainly did an exceptional job of CGing Cecil, Bartz, Terra etc. into the 3D realm and yet that isn't something I necessarily want to represent the moments or characters. Square-Enix basically painted themselves in a corner with FF:Advent Children because now if they ever remake FF7, the *have* to use FF: Advent Children quality and design to appease the fans. I guess FF7 is suited for that, but like I said not so much for the pre-FF7 games.

I'm a coward. A coward who denies his true art-style origins.


Last year's film festival had a film called Ten Nights of Dreams and it left me with the hugest smile on my face in a long time. It's basically a collection of short films that has 10 different dreams directed by 10 different directors. I didn't know what to expect from it and as I sat in the dark by the 6th film I believed this film was beginning to be a waste of a ticket. But once the title of the 7th dream and the credits for the directors shown I got a chill down my spine. I saw Yoshitaka Amano's name.

Yoshitaka-Fucking-Amano...directing...a FILM.

Now forewarned the dialogue is shit as is the voice acting which is the only one in English. The story itself is alright, but the ONLY thing that is important is the visuals.

I've always wondered if they could ever make a game using his style of water color and wispy artwork which is just awesome to see; but actually seeing it live, breath and be in MOTION is just a fanboy's dream come true. Even though the voices were grinding on my nerves, the visuals are so breathtaking and I was so surprised by this that I totally ignored it. This reminds me of when the artist Dave McKean decided to direct MirrorMask who also had an art style that I would have loved to see in motion. Problem was it did seem a bit lower on the quality end in terms of the CG. However with Amano, you can see they went all out to make his stuff totally true to what he usually does. It looks less CG and more like a living water color moving before your eyes. You want to see crazy stalagmite towers? You got it. Bizarre creatures from Amano's mind? You also got it. A little moogle cameo? Well there you go. Even though the animation is a bit stiff and not as smooth as most other CG films out there, the visuals totally make up for it.

If the Pre-FF7 games were ever to be remade on consoles this this is the animation style that I hope they will use. That art style is much better suited for those games than the more photorealistic FF7-Advent children application for the FF7 onwards games (excluding FF9 of course). Granted Dissidia did highlight the glaring weakness of Amano's artwork; the waif-ness of the leads which compared with their post FF7 breathren; look actually more feminine than Nomura's designs (if that were actually possible) and in contrast Nomura's designs of the Pre-FF7 characters looked more manly than their Amano counterparts. However if you are still a fan of his artwork, it certainly is a treat to behold. This was seriously the best thing I've seen at the film festival because it was such a surprise for my game geek self.

Seriously though, I just hope that Square Enix gotten wind of Amano's project because this might be the most awesome way to really show the fanboys they actually give a shit past remaking FF4, 5 and 6 on the FF3DS engine. If they gave FFTactics a bit of a facelift to have the cutscenes be reflective of Yoshida's artstyle, they should at LEAST consider to make some of the games reflective of Amano's style. However you be the judge, whether you hate it or love it, it's still amazing how far 3D animation has come and how far it still has yet to go.

In the end we might just accept the consulation prize for what we expect Square-Enix to do, but after seeing this short film I say fuck that consulation prize and so should you.


[embed]131783:19258[/embed]   read

1:32 AM on 05.04.2009

The Top Ten Greatest Moments in Video Game Movies

It'd be stupid to think that we have enough whole video game films to actually validate as being some sort of quality cinema. So instead the best we could muster so far is just mere moments and flashes of genius that we return to or remember in video game films. Here are the top 10 greatest moments in video game film history.

10) Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: Aki Ross wakes up from a dream and moves.

No this isn't the start of a joke list (that's much later). While FF:TSW was a total goose egg of which hurt Squaresoft possibly greater than any other venture in this business there was still something so awesome about seeing the first few screenshots of their project. Who can still remember the close up of Aki Ross screenshot years before the film came out? As it slowly revealed that the film was going to be less about Fantasy and more about Sci-Fi it pretty much put a few dozen nails in it's coffin. Some people might defend it to be a good film if you don't see it as a Final Fantasy film. I might be inclined to agree but it being only $9.00 NEW in my local bargain bin, it's hard to argue with logic like that.

While it still has it's place in history for probably being the biggest single video game movie flop ever I think it was still pretty amazing the way that Aki Ross moved in the film. You never seen anything in so much detail before in 3D let alone more photo realistic 3D. Even though mo-cap will most always be complete stilted shit, they did pretty well here. While everyone else had the benefit of short hair or ponytails (which probably saved a LOT of animating time) Aki was the real 3D star of the film being far more fluid and smooth than most of the other human characters. It took nearly 2 console generations to surpass the 3D detail present in FF:TSW.

It might have been a bad video game movie, but it did what no other video game movie did at the time. Make a 3D film that was more real world than any other CG movie at the time.

9) The Wizard: Super Mario Bros. 3 is introduced.

I know that The Wizard was from my joke list, but when this film was going to come out, anyone even remotely related to gaming was going apeshit over this film. This was light years before we wanted the gaming medium legitimized in the mainstream culture, the reveal of SMB 3 in a MOVIE of all damn things was like going to E3 when you were a kid. This movie wasn't for everyone, as much as Christian Slater and Fred Savage might try to bring in some sort of familiarity, it was for US the gamers. This was basically the first mega game trailer because when that game hit the pretty much lost it all.

8) Tomb Raider: The Robot Training sequence.

We want tits.

That's basically all we need. While there was a big huff over Michelle "Man Hands" Rodriguez not being cast because he breasts weren't as large as her digits; Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice for playing Lara Croft. Personally on a visual scale, I could never really draw a direct likeness with Jolie and Croft. Jolie's look is just too distinct and while Croft had similar emphasized attributes that Jolie possessed, Croft was far more convincingly represented by Mike Turner's interpretation in the comics IMHO. Likenesses aside there might have been some speculation whether Jolie could pull off the British accent or the action sequences.

The only thing that I really liked from Tomb Raider Movie was the first intro sequence. No character building, no crazy revelations, just pure action. You know that she raids tombs, but that's in the damn title. While the robot wasn't a dinosaur it certainly fought better than one. At the time it was one of the best choreographed fight scenes in a video game movie or even an action movie. It had enough physics defying movement to look like a video game on the move, but not enough to just totally cheese you out on believing it. It was cool, it was hot and all without having to specifically tit it out for us.

7) Resident Evil: The Laser Room

I'm sure that most of you remember only one thing from Resident Evil: The Movie. Alice Matrix kicking the dog in the head. While this almost set up an expectation of this bad habit to be reoccurring when you saw the trailer thankfully that was the only incident. Quite a few disappointments all around for this film. Little to no reference to actual Resident Evil content and a Licker taking the place of Tyrant for the end antagonist. Like FF:TSW RE: The Movie was a good film but for being a video game film it fell short of expectations. However the film wasn't a total abortion.

In an effort to almost force video game movies to be taken seriously they put some real gore into the film. The Laser Room was a sweet experience for any movie goer to see because it was tense, you were at the edge of your seat, it was a first taste of something actually going wrong for the protagonists in the film and resulted in some pretty fantastic deaths. Checkerboard Laser grid has hella priority over anything else. It's nice that the result of said laser room actually made it into RE4 which goes to show that perhaps it wasn't all that shitty. The only gripe was that Colin Salmon aka ONE had to sacrifice his character for a death worthy of any Predator.

6) Final Fantasy Advent Children: Cloud Vs. Sephiroth.

Like the worst kept spoiler in gaming history, Cloud vs. Sephiroth was totally expected even if it was cryptically revealed. In this thank you letter to all the FF Fans/Suckers (take your pick) we get an eye candy experience and a battle that was as cool as seeing the Omnislash the first time (once again coolness factor determined by own personal preference). While I could say what made this scene awesome, I think the more important question is #6? #6 ON A TOP TEN LIST?.

Why it's so "low" is as a movie it's a toss up into the air whether it was well done or not. After all the belts and zippers...I mean whistles; it really does boil down to a thank you letter to all the FF7 fans and then video game fans and then...well that's it. The next in line would be anime fans; in fact it'd probably appeals to more anime fans than general video game fans. However just catering to a single demographic that's even narrower than some sub-genres of film really makes this film suffer a bit. Ideally speaking, a film should be enjoyable on it's own; not because it's attached to nearly a decade of nostolgia. While some people try to bank on that feeling, I don't think it was as ever as blatant as FF:AC

The other major hurdle is against it is that as a video game movie; it doesn't represent the genre all that well. Yeah I know RPGs are hard to adapt, I mean afterall it's about the storyline. However when FF:AC seems more like a typical anime than something distinctly video game, you begin to wonder if this film was already made beforehand but at the last minute decided to replace the characters with FF7 models. As if to admit to their lack of video game roots in the film; take for instance one of the few defining gameplay elements in FF7 not being present in the battle. Yuffie holding the box of materia is like a kid wondering why she couldn't bring their game console to the birthday party...because there's no place for gaming at the party when there are other things that deserve more attention.

5) Mortal Kombat: Johnn Cage vs. Scorpian

One could argue that Mortal Kombat was the first good video game movie. When I mean good I mean not in "Doesn't like feel like you're being raped by a baseball bat covered in barb-wire." While some of the fights were pretty cool, like the Liu Kang vs. Sub-Zero fight, it still lacked a certain something. Showcases of actual special moves or power were seperate from the actual fighting. Actual fighting such as Sonya vs. Kano or Liu Kang vs. The Black Guy dies second didn't actually showcase anything video gamey. Even the Sub-Zero fight showed elements that were not originally in the game. However when it came to Johnny Cage vs. Scorpian, it was like someone actually got it.

Somehow...I don't know how they still did it, they managed to balance film elements with video game elements in this fight. The Harpoon was used in both a great way but different enough so it didn't show the one-dimensional trick pony that it really is. They had an awesome fight scene that just kicked mass amounts of ass. A fatality that could have been horribly done but didn't screw up. And best of all...even adding the right bit of video game wit with Johnny Cage's signed photo burning up at the end of the scene. As if nodding to the MK itself saying, "Yeah we know what we're doing. It's a video game film not just some film based upon a video game."

4) Street Fighter the Animated Movie: Chun-Li shower scene

Ok this was from a potential non-serious list as well, but hear me out. I'm sure that 99% of us have seen Chun-Li naked in one form or another. Whether through poorly drawn fanart or hentai doujins, aside from Mai and the DoA cast, she's basically the most molested video game character in hentai history. However it's always been a sort of weird fascination ever since she appeared on the scene in SF2. There's just something that attracts all the boys to her, perhaps a subconscious similarity to princess Leia with her hairbuns. Perhaps a little of yellow fever. It might be because she has that hair done up, much like movie prudes who let down their business hair, take off their glasses and are just sex machines wanting a good bang. Perhaps it's because it's long legs or we can see her underwear if we pause just correctly during her spinning bird kick. Whatever the reason we are still attracted to her (or at least hate her for being so overrated).

The shower scene in Street Fighter the Animated Movie is monumental because it basically legitimizes her nudity. It's basically if someone acknowledged a side heavily debated topic in some franchise as canon. It's the real world equivalent of waiting for a playboy pictorial of some never-before-nude celebrity or some sort of nude sequence. What makes it even better is that is given the opinion of DOA's Igataki getting up in a huff over his "daughters" it's like Capcom not only doesn't give a shit about their creation being nude, but they fully encourage it. Go ahead, fuck my daughter, I'll even pay the bill for dinner! However many times a gamer has busted a nut over unofficial art of Chun-Li, at least this time we can do it without the guilt of going to an outside non-sanctioned source. Those are official tits people. Enjoy them while you can.

3) Doom: FPS Mode

There hasn't been many games that are so ingrained in reality with consideration for making a film out of it. There has always been a some element of fantasy that made some aspects of a film unadaptable. Whether it be the costume design of Super Mario Bros. the movie or Street Fighter; or a fantastical element such as the Shadow Boss of Double Dragon. In the end a video game film often hinges on a seemingly innocuous characteristic that is either so badly represented or so blown out of scale, that the film suffers more than it should from something so small.

Doom is sort of an odd duck. There's nothing special about the protagonist aside from being a space marine. A noble profession for the future I envision but what makes Doom great for adaptation is that it's storyline is simple. Start off with Rambo, add in a bit of Hellraiser, a dash of Event Horizon and a shit load of ammo and have Doom. The fact that the only fantasy element in this series is the creatures from hell, shows that this movie could work. This movie can work. Hell has been something explored in movies for decades. This FPS adapted into a...wait.

First Person Shooter?

Ok I guess a bit too simple. I mean as much as the fantasy elements are in check therein lies the rub. How fun is it going to see a film about space marines killing the demons of hell on an abandoned space facility? Sounds like a great film. But how is anyone going to even recognize this as a video game film as opposed to say...Ghosts of Mars? Aside from the Chainsaw, the BFG and some recognizable enemies, there's hardly anything that would make this distinct from every other movie out there. HECK THEY DIDN'T EVEN MENTION HELL ONCE in the film! While we gamers want our video game movies to be able to blend into the cinema landscape; we still want our genre to be recognized. Perhaps Doom was a bit too non-special.

Until the FPS mode sequence.

Your opinion may vary but adding that basically made the film into a video game film. How it didn't suck great donkey sac was a Christmas miracle because they got it. It was like had a competent FPS pro as a consultant in production to say what worked and what didn't worked. It was possible the closest experience most of us will have to witnessing a FPS on a movie theatre sized screen.

A funny thing was that moment was a potential #2 until #3 usurped it's position.

2) Silent Hill: Pyramid Head Appears

When it comes to video game films, there's a certain pride in having some sort of big named actor or actress to join the cast. Perhaps they might be the one to make this movie awesome. Perhaps they might be the perfect looking person for the video game character to come to life. Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, The Rock, all of these people to whatever degree of Alphabetical-designated celebrity status was like a supernova of hope in the gamer's mind that perhaps THIS will be the actor who will finally bring some nobility to the fine medium of gaming. With the introduction of Uwe Boll perhaps what was more important is who was behind the lens rather than who was in front of it.

So we come to Christopher Gans.

And we come to Silent Hill. A franchise that is just ripe for the silver screen and the result? Unimaginable harmony. While we have few problems labeling genres of games, translating them into film is an entirely different experience. What is Super Mario Bros.? A Sci-Fi epic (perhaps given the setting of Galaxy)? Or a supernatural fantasy film? Even the relatively well done Mortal Kombat is hard to defined as just a "fighter" when obviously the film has so much else to present. However if you were to say horror, that's exactly what both the game and film are. It can't be any easier to show a behemoth of a demon with a metallic pyramid mask wreaking your shit. It could have been so easy to fuck up, but Christopher Gans in his vision managed not to. As if even the simplicity of genre classification was too easy a mark, he managed to truly bring a nobility of creativity and comparatively faithfulness, given the history of VG movies, to the source material to the film. Pyramid Head appearing on screen was as frightening as any other moment in horror history and once it did appear, you didn't think that he was a video game character. For this film, he was the lovechild of Jacob's Ladder and Conan.

And...the Number 1 video game movie moment is.....

1) The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters: The entire film.

For the longest time gaming has been looked down upon as a hobby of geeks, nerds, anti-social suicidal serial killers and children. While the idea of gaming culture has always been trying to find an outlet in legitimizing it's place in society as a perfectly normal facet of life, as normal as literature, movies, television or any other entertaining medium through higher production values, more realistic presentation, better dialogue, adaptation into a film or *gasp* celebrity endorsement there is seriously nothing that furthers the agenda of gamers from changing the perception of gamers than King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters.

Yes I know these guys are middle aged adults holding onto a game that should have an age range of 5-8. In some ways it feels like a step waaaaaaay the fuck back into promoting the stereotype of gamers. However if you could ignore that visual shit just look at it. Look at what these people are saying. Look at who they are. They are the fucking BLUEPRINT for gamers everywhere today. A generation ago is when gaming culture formed and basically written how gamers act. The competition, the practice, the strategies that would make gamefaqs authors shit a brick. The skill, the talent, the mindset of's all there 25 years ago as much as it is today. The drive to see the game, play the game, break the game, the drive to see people play the game, to see people win at the damn thing and strategize. To find the complexity in simplicity and enjoy the game for more than it represents. These aren't bad things because you have to see past the negatives and come out looking at what is accomplished here. They show that even gamers have normals well balanced lives outside of gaming.

How many times have you heard a gamer say "I played games all my life and look how I turned out." Pretty common eh? Pretty much the gut reaction to most negative comments about gamers that seem to pop up and discredit us as lawabiding citizens and not some videogame equivalent to the pedophiles in To Catch a Predator. However when have you ever explained yourself? When have you actually talked to someone to explain gaming to them and made them understand? It's hard enough to explain fucking instructions to anyone who's eager to find out how work their computer software but to have them sit still and absorb the idea and culture of gaming? Good fucking luck with that.

Well that is what KoK is. It is the explanation that all of us are trying to tell people but never quite gotten the right opportunity to do so. Where we can't keep someone to sit down with us for an hour and a half to explain gaming culture to them and why we like it; that commitment of that $10 ticket and that $8 in overpriced concession snacks basically affords to lay it out on people and lay it on thick. This isn't some lecture that they are forced against their will to listen, they WANT to listen to this. For better or for worse, they'll laugh, they'll cry, they'll cheer and above all else they will see gamers, the most hardcore of gamers exhibit the human qualities that they seem to fail to recognize in real life.

In the end King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarter is the best video game moment and best video game movie because it does what no other video game movie has ever done...put a human face on gaming. It gives a story that will engage the audience on such an emotional level, they finally have a protagonist they can relate to. In the end it shows that perhaps they shouldn't judge the gamer for it's place in society but the gamer instead.   read

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