Wolf’s Wicked Words: The Gaming Oscars?
No, this is not some smart title to mock a local tragedy.
I’m referring to The Oscars that showed during the wee morning hours at 3:30. It simply is a feast for the movie enthusiasts. The extra special movies receiving recognition for their brilliant storytelling, superb visual effects, best director and everything that goes with it. Special appearances are made for musical segments in between the announcements. Everyone’s wearing special evening attire and no expenses are spared.
This got me thinking.
Why does gaming not receive this treatment?
Films have come a much longer way than games and that surely counts in its favour, but I still think the majority of the populace underestimate the gaming way of storytelling. Not every game out there will be able boast a truly marvelous example in terms of narrative, that’s for sure, and I know what you’re thinking, gaming does have “Game of the Year” awards. That is true, yes, but nothing as official and big as The Oscars. The presenter boasted about more than 1 billion viewers, and I would be so ever thankful if gaming could swank such numbers for an event like that.
Imagine all the developers neatly encased in their tuxedos and fancy vestments. The Steven Spielbergs and Hugh Jackmans of the gaming industry all stealing their very own slice of limelight.
I feel the same way about books and their way of telling a story. Every form of narrative deserves the best form of recognition and a major calamity based solely around the achievements made in that specific framework of entertainment.
Films are much more widespread than games and the amount of people I encounter throughout my life with the attitude of “Gaming is for children and you need to find a more appropriate grown-up hobby” are staggering. Sure, you’ll find your mindless games with little to almost no story, but why do people forget about the equivalent of that in the film industry?
A ninety minute popcorn movie with badly written dialogue and gunfire alongside explosions from start to finish. It is there, no doubt about that, but they focus on the best of the best. (See: Life of Pi, for example.)
The same can be done in the case of gaming. We can focus on the best and what feels best while playing.
That may be another aspect we forget about. Films are us, the audience, playing the role of a witness. Games however places us in the shoes of someone and it is not only just about the story. It can have the best story, the most spectacular looking visuals and voice acting beyond your wildest dreams, but if it plays like absolute sewage water in a plastic cup, the audience will run away with flailing arms above their heads. It’s not just a narrative, it is an interactive way of telling a story. You have control over the pace, you have control over the time it takes for you to move from point A to point B. A movie is a settled length and therefore the audience have a rough idea of how long they will be in this world the movie provides.
Gaming on the other hand varies rather drastically. When you go to the cinema, you know you’ll be watching flickering images for about ninety to one hundred and eight minutes. A game will not always be seen as relevant if it’s even remotely as short as that. RPG’s will rob countless hours of a gamers life if it does its job correctly and lure the player in properly.
If you were to announce your movie will be around one hundred plus hours, how many people will cue up in a line to feast their eyes upon it? Very little, I imagine.
The point I’m trying to make here, if you’re still reading, is that it is not fair to associate these brilliant ways of telling a story with one another. They are both able to excel in their own way.
As much as I’d like to see the scale of a “Game of the Year” awards on par with The Oscars, I think we’ll have to do with what we have for now.
Who knows? Perhaps we’ll have something on a grand scale for gaming in 20 years from now?
We can only hope.