Watching someone play video games is so boring.
The last time I played and enjoyed video games was during the era of Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario and GoldenEye on Nintendo 64. Since then, die.
By default it is of no surprise that the idea of sitting and watching someone play video games could not thrill me less. I remember watching groups of grown men playing COD as if they were actually accomplishing something. It all just seemed so mindless to me.
Many years later, I found a game changer.
I was first introduced to Uncharted hungover, eating breakfast. At first it was just another game, but then I heard actual dialogue that wasn’t skipped over. An hour later I was fixated as I followed a treasure hunting avatar, Nathan Drake, who was conflictingly attractive.
I later found myself immersed amongst an action-packed adventure involving less than average holiday destinations and a not-so-dead brother. Plot twist! I was engrossed.
Granted the player must fulfil a series of quests and challanges, which in itself isn’t ground-breaking, however Uncharted is outstandingly led by its progressive narrative and first-class graphics almost making it less of a video game and more of a cinematic experience. Alongside the graphics is also incredible orchestral compoistions, more commonly associated with films.
Furthermore Uncharted moves towards open gaming as a RPG (role playing game).
It’s unlike anything I’d, personally, ever seen from a video game. At least that is until I saw the trailers for Death Stranding.
Death Stranding is Hideo Kojima’s first venture through solo studio Kojima Productions, since his split from Konami. At first I thought it was a movie with a gaming aesthetic to produce a unique and quirky style. I experienced fear, my muscles clenching and intrigue over a video game.
Personally, I cannot recall, this is the first time that I have seen actors voice and act in a video game which is not directly tied to a movie franchise. I believe in the gaming world this is what is refered to as the next level.
Set in an apocalyptic and seemingly dystopian nightmare, the trailer incorporates cinematic techniques which ambigously advance on Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro and Mads Mikkelsen.
On top of Hollywood appearances the viewer encounters skeleton soldiers, questionably undead babies in and out of jars, a sea of oil, washed up crabs/dolphins and snippets of a soundtrack that lies somewhere between Drive and Stranger Things. These features are all very a-typical and enigmatic motifs found in film trailers. Considering it’s a ‘fictional’ game, I’m already identifying climate change, pollution, dictatorship and misplacement of identity. Whether or not this will be as immersive as Uncharted, I don’t know. But Death Stranding is already incoporating intrigue and involvement towards the storyline which I’m really eager to follow.
In my eyes, this new era of video game overlays the CGI elements of techniques used on characters in film. For instance, take Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher’s virtual treatment in Star Wars. It is them, but it isn’t. Are the boundaries starting to merge? Is this the birth of a new hybrid genre between video games and films?