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Games, film and TV: A point of comparison


"Videogames are nowhere near as good as film. Videogames should be respected as much as film."

Every now and again you may come across the old argument of games versus film. The film community claiming that games do not deserve the respect that film does, and the gaming community claiming that games deserve the same respect as film, maybe even more.

The problem with both sides of this argument is that they both are comparing videogames and film using their content and subject matter as the point of reference. This is where I believe people have it all wrong.

With so many wildly different genres of film, games and TV shows, it is silly to compare them on content alone as there are way too many variables. You can't compare Gone with the Wind to Spyro to Lost, just as you can't compare Event Horizon to Shadow of the Colossus to How I Met Your Mother, they are all too different.

However despite all of the differences there is a constant between all these mediums that can be used as a point of reference to compare them.

The audience.

I'm not referring to target audiences or demographics, I'm talking about the people right there in front of the screen, and how they experience each medium.

For example;

When an audience watches a film, the lights are out, people are quiet, mobile phones and other distractions are all silenced and the audience's undivided attention is given to the film. Whether they are in a crowded cinema or in a lounge room with friends, it becomes a one on one experience, just them and the film.

Now when an audience watches TV, things are a little different. They're usually on the couch alone or with friends, the lights are on, they are able to chat with others and answer the phone and they even feel free to get up and grab a snack without disturbing people watching the show. It's a more relaxed and social experience, the TV still has your attention, but not exclusively.

Videogames are different, the way audiences experience this medium sits in a grey area between film and TV, some games are best experienced in solitude with the lights out, others are best played with friends, watching the game and sharing the controller as they chat about their day.

This grey area fills the gap between TV and film, turning videogames into a flexible medium where the best way to experience it can change freely genres and titles.

This is what makes videogames what they are today.

Sadly people don't seem to recognise this, instead they demand that games be elevated to a status equal to film. What's wrong with videogames being videogames? You don't hear people complaining that 24 should be respected as a film beveause of it's mature subject matter, and you don't hear people complaining that Wall-E should be regarded with the same respect as a children's TV show because it has cute characters.

Both mediums are respected in their own right, so why insist on altering the status that videogames already have?

Videogames are not film, Videogames are not TV.

Videogames are videogames, it's the new medium, it's our medium, and we should accept it as it is and allow it to grow and evolve in its own way.

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About Puppy Licksone of us since 9:13 PM on 12.18.2007

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