Monday, October 24, 2005

'King Kong' Blurs Line Between Films and Games

New York Times: "Video games are among the fastest-growing, most-profitable businesses in the entertainment world. In the United States, domestic sales of video games and consoles generated $10 billion in revenue last year, compared with movie ticket sales of $9.4 billion. But with the exception of a few well-known directors - like George Lucas, who created a series of Star Wars video games, and Andy and Larry Wachowski, who wrote and directed 'The Matrix' movies and helped create Matrix games - few in Hollywood have been able to successfully operate in both worlds.

But that seems to be changing. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) is among a generation of mainstream movie directors who grew up playing video games. He, and a few others, are now looking to create video games, branding themselves to keep control over franchises while sharing in enormous video game profits.

Having recently completed shooting on a remake of the classic film "King Kong", Jackson wanted to create a video game that allowed players to experience a universe he created that otherwise would be confined to a two-hour movie."

I have great expectations for these kinds of technology "marriages". Years ago I wrote to some game companies suggesting that their technology could be used to create dynamic learning environments and all I got back in reply was a curt "we're in the entertainment business not the education business". Perhaps this imposed segregation was the result of the game industry's reliance on programmers that understood computer logic but lacked the artistic experience needed to produce compelling narrative or cinematic storytelling along with the flash and dash of CGI wizardry.
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