Mamo #344: Narrative

News about TIFF Kids, the Time Bandits Podcast, and Shorts That Are Not Pants; followed by further discussion of narrative and storytelling in the genres we call “video game movies” and “comic book movies.” It’s a Marvel! Join us.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo344.mp3

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Sean Kelly
Guest

As a big WORLD OF WARCRAFT player, I can say that it definitely has a story (even more so with the recent expansion packs). Also, the Warcraft mythology dates back to the original (real time strategy) game from 1994.

The closest videogame adaptation I’ve seen was Takashi Miike’s adaptation of (the mostly text-based role playing game) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, which was a direct adaptation of the story. Sadly, the film never got a proper North American release (I saw it at a one-off screening).

As for stories IN videogames, I was a huge fan of the MASS EFFECT trilogy, which had a great story that rivals most movies. Also, often games that did receive film adaptations (like Resident Evil) have much better stories in the games than the films (i.e. Even though there’s plenty of shooting, the Resident Evil games are more survival horror than action).

Goon
Guest

I forgot about that iTunes review!

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Kurt Halfyard
Guest

This narrative in a video game, morality, politics, ethics, and other conundrums is pretty effective, either of you guys play “PAPERS, PLEASE?” (a “dystopian document thriller”)

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-08-09-papers-please-review

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Here’s some interesting quotes from Dan Houser, who wrote and/or produced most of the Grand Theft Auto video games, explaining why there hasn’t been a movie adaption yet via:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rockstar-games-dan-houser-la-174859
“Virtually all movies made from games are awful, while many games made from movies are also pretty horrible. This will change, but with an ever more discerning audience, the goals of taking something from film-to-games or game-to-film have to be more than financial. If you feel the property has something about it that is universal or could work in another medium, and it is not simply about making easy money, then that is something worthwhile. Too often, however, the aim appears to be to cash-in on the success of a particular game, book, pop singer, website, etc., and that usually produces mediocre results.”

“We have explored a lot of movie deals, but we have just chosen not to make a movie. We love movies, but we also love games and that is what we remain focused on. If we were to attempt to make a movie, we would like to make it ourselves, or at least work in collaboration with the best talent, so at least if it is bad, we can know we failed on our own terms. But doing that takes time, and making games properly takes a lot of time. So, we may make movies one day, with the right property and the right partnership, but we have not found the time to do that yet.”

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Also thanks for the spoiler warning on The Woman in Black. It was enough time for me to stop the podcast. Yeah, it’s been quite some time since it’s come out but I never got around to seeing the movie and would like to eventually do so. It’s sort of fallen off the radar but perhaps this is a good reminder to check it out.

Rick Vance
Guest

There are video game narratives on the level with any narrative. It is just statistics that there will always be gold and always be shit.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

I believe the phrase is “90% of everything is crap.”

Rick Vance
Guest

The other huge problem with SHIELD always is that there was a point where that comic was drawn by Jim Steranko the grandfather of graphicly represented spy fiction. Nothing on network TV or mainstream film will ever be as cool as that

Robert Reineke
Guest

Did you know there was a fourth underwater film from 1989, LORDS OF THE DEEP? I had the misfortune of sitting through that.

Dan Gorman
Guest

Totally – I was thinking of sitting through the other two or three underwater movies from 1989 for our Time Bandits episode, but I didn’t end up having time.

There’s Lords of the Deep, The Evil Below and The Rift – which says both 1989 and 1990 on the wiki, so who knows about that one. It was a good year if you liked water.

Rick Vance
Guest

There is also an example of a comic universe that has maintained a consistent continuity and a huge amount of stakes and some of the best comics of all time as a result, the Universe of Judge Dredd.

Due to the science fiction nature of the world they are able to keep Dredd front and center while still telling stories about him getting older and about generations shifting around him and policies changing and 20 year grudges coming back to haunt him.

Also as much as I enjoyed Dredd it was an action film with a coat of paint not really a Judge Dredd movie it was missing some very key aspects that make that Universe so dynamic and appealing and continually relevant and applicable.

Other series have tried it (Hellblazer being the big one) to varying degrees of success.

Robert Reineke
Guest

Also, I’ll throw this out there, the ratings of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. are very mediocre considering its pedigree. It gets smoked by THE VOICE and N.C.I.S. every Tuesday. The Sif episode was close to the season low, which was the week before. And, it’s lost over half its audience since the premiere. It draws ratings similar to THE BIGGEST LOSER while costing significantly more. And the trend isn’t working in its favor. The Fox comedies are the only thing keeping the show from real embarrassment in the ratings.

Of course, I don’t think the show is very good either. Apparently I have lots of company.

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