Sunday, September 16, 2007

Playable Cinema - The Fusion of Gaming and Movies

Playable Cinema
As I finished up both my review of BIOSHOCK and my interview with the composer of the game's score, GARRY SCHYMAN, that phrase "playable cinema" kept running through my mind. That is where the gaming and film industries have been moving toward for a number of years now. With the release of games like BIOSHOCK and perhaps even moreso, HEAVENLY SWORD, we might just be there. I can't say that I've ever seen any game like the visuals of HEAVENLY SWORD or been as enveloped by a games atmosphere like BIOSHOCK. I've been addicted to the short animated back-story shorts presented at the HEAVENLY SWORD site. I've been swept up in the depth of 2KGames' official sites for BIOSHOCK. Both of these games and LAIR as well, have created new, detailed worlds, that are as interesting as the games themselves. For as long as movies have been made, audience members have said to themselves "I wish I could do that!" ...and the day has come where they can.

If you look at the history of it - the two mediums have been on a collision course for decades. We first saw game-spin-offs of movies and more recently movie spin-offs from games. As processing power continues to exponentially increase, the merging of the two seems only natural...if not inevitable. I, for one, am ecstatic at seeing this media evolution continue. As I've remarked elsewhere, with the storage, bandwidth, and processing power available for game development ever on the increase, this affords game producers what they need to hire grade-A composers and grade-A orchestras for these game scores. And we won't even speak about the budgets. They certainly have plenty of bucks now-days.

Let's not underestimate the power of symphonic music in these games. While the visuals cause our jaws to drop, just how much less impacting would the game play be without the contributions of a MICHAEL GIACCHINO, INON ZUR, or JESPER KYD? As it's been said before "Audiences will put up with bad picture, but they won't put up with bad sound." 128-bit+ graphics with 16-bit sound would be unforgivable. So as we are witness to "playable cinema" emerging before our very eyes, I hope you'll join in the anticipation for where this will lead musically. If the music matters within film and it matters within a game - just how much more when the two become one? As gross as it ears salivate at what's to come!

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