Are Movies Turning Into Video Games?

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 15 2013 3:56 PM

Are Movies Turning Into Video Games?

Movies and video games have been closely linked for some time now, from cinematic adaptations to promotional tie-ins, and it’s no secret that the two media have increasingly come to resemble each other over the last 20 years. With a great video essay posted on UCLA’s film studies site Mediascape, M.A. student Matthias Stork takes these simple facts and creates a compelling visual argument as to how each medium continues to inform the other.

“Transmedia Synergies: Remediating Films and Video Games” is as scholarly as it sounds—but it's also entirely accessible thanks to the straightforward narration and, especially, Stork’s visual storytelling. Remediation, as defined by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin (who are cited in the video), is the process of incorporating elements of one medium—photography or painting, say—into another—video games or film, e.g.—while “paying homage to, rivaling, and refashioning” the former. Stork focuses on this relationship between film and video games with side-by-side images and a historical look at the cinematic quality found in today’s games (like the slow motion techniques in Max Payne) and the gaming experience of certain movies (from The Matrix to Wreck-It-Ralph).

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The video wisely begins with straightforward points before moving onto more complicated ideas, starting with an analysis of the visual similarities between the two media and concluding with a more complex interpretation of how and why remediation might be employed in movies and video games in particular. We recommend staying with it until the end.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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