7 Reasons Why Video Games are Better than Movies

Updated on January 4, 2015

Introduction

Call of Duty Black Ops was notable for making more money than any movie ever made and yet gaming is still seen as more of a fringe activity than going to see movies are. However before you buy that ticket to yet another movie that you'll forget an hour afterwards, I suggest you read my list as to why video games are the superior medium.

Number 7. It's a global industry

Quiz the average movie goer what they've seen the past year, or even past five years, and I'd almost guarantee the majority you ask would only list movies from America. Hollywood is so big in the industry that foreign films tend to get swept under the rug. I consider myself more well versed in movies than the average person (not quite a film buff) and even I rarely watch a foreign movie. Gaming is the complete opposite. It doesn't matter what country you're in, you have a fair chance as anyone of creating a huge hit in the global video game market. Look at angry birds. A huge hit in America, yet it was created by a studio in Finland. Now try naming the last Finnish movie that was a hit in America. See my point? Even if you just casually play video games, there's a solid chance you occasionally play things from overseas. Sonic or Mario games? That's from Japan. Little Big Planet or Grand Theft Auto 4? Those games are from the UK. As you can see there are plenty of top tier games from other countries' whereas movies live and die by Hollywood. This global market is great for games as well. In my opinion, movies aren't nearly as good as they used to be, but because Hollywood is the only major source of movies, I just have to deal with it. With games being global, it's more free to shift and change and allow any country to step up to the plate and provide solid gaming experiences. Japan used to be the leader in the games markets. Now games have shifted towards the Western market and we're in the lead now. If Japan was the only country making games, then gaming would stagnate and suffer. I believe this has happened to Hollywood, but luckily my favorite medium hasn't suffered the same fate and being a global market is why I believe this to be the case.

Number 6. Entertainment is very important

You Know what's not featured here? Boredom
You Know what's not featured here? Boredom

When I say that entertainment factor is very important in video games, I actually mean that it's the number one most important aspect of video games. Time and time again games with plenty of good aspects sell badly because the gameplay is no fun. I'm perfectly okay with that. In fact I'm the type of gamer that would be okay if most games didn't have any story and devolopers' spent all their focus on making awesome gameplay. That's how games were when they started out and I mostly skip game stories anyway. I play video games to be entertained and luckily the majority of companies are making games for me. For every story and realism based game like GTA 4 there's at least a couple Saints Row and Just Cause 2 type games. Look at the Oscars verses Game of the Year awards. Oscars pick the most pretentious (and usually boring) movies around, but Game of the Year awards consistently nominate games you'd have no trouble recommending to your friends. I don't pretend to be someone with a taste for high art or intelligent things. Most of the time, I want mindless platforming, fast racing and lots and lots of video game carnage. Does that make me dumb? I don't think so, but I don't care anyway. I'm having too much fun to care.

Number 5. The settings are more fully realized

"Saints Row the Third" city skyline
"Saints Row the Third" city skyline

When I talk about this, I'm talking more about open world games. What I mean specifically is that rather than giving the illusion of a new world or setting, open world games actually have to painstakingly create it. When Ridley Scott made Blade Runner, he didn't actually create the whole futuristic version of Los Angeles...He simply used enough special effects to make the few parts he was showing look like a fully formed city. Had Blade Runner been turned into an sandbox game (not a bad idea, I might add), then every borough and every building would have had to of been created for the game. Another example is Just Cause 2. Its game world is massive and its filled with small settlements, airports and cities. In the game you can visit every location in the game provided you have the patience and time for it. If it were even a long movie, say 3 hours long, it could only show you a small fraction of the places on the Just Cause 2 island. This doesn't apply to linear games because developers justifiably see no use in creating the world outside of what you'll experience. This is why sandbox games are my favorite genre. You're being sold entire cities, countries or worlds when you buy sandbox game; Not just the appearance of a fully formed world.

Number 4. Currently, games are the best source of action

The sad fact about modern movies is the action genre is all, but dead. I'm talking the one man army, muscular, human wrecking ball type action heroes like Rambo or the Terminator. Sure we have gritty action heroes like Jason Bourne and Christian Bales take on Batman, but those don't quite do it for me. I prefer my action heroes to be larger than life. In this way games are stuck in the 80s and 90s and I mean that in the best way possible. Game after game comes out nowadays with main characters that take on unrealistic odds and almost always come out on top. Games are more enjoyable because of this. Gritty games where you can die with one stray bullet to the head have their place and I even enjoy those types of games occasionally, but the ones I come back to over and over are the ones that let me feel powerful.

Number 3. It's the most immersive medium

Notice I didn't say its the most well written medium. That would be a lie. The fact is games don't draw you in so well because of their outstanding character development and script writing. The reason games draw you in is because you get to be the main character. In the very best movies you're simply watching the main character and seeing the choices he/she makes. In games, you make the choices and ultimately you're the one responsible for the main characters fate. Without you, the character doesn't progress. In a movie, the character does whatever he/she does whether you're there to progress the movie along or not. If you got back from watching Men In Black and said to your friends "I chased after aliens and then shot them with a huge laser gun", they'd look at you like you're crazy and assume you have trouble separating fantasy from reality. However that first person sort of speech is very common when friends are talking about video games. When you talk about a game, you typically speak as though you're the one doing the action, even though it was a pre-made character with his/her own motivations that you were controlling. This just goes to show how immersive gaming is in comparison to movies.

Number 2. Games actually get quality sequels.

I can list the number of movie sequels that were better or even as good as the original movie on one hand. Movie sequels usually turn out one of two ways. Either they are complete rehashes that bring nothing new to the table, or they're huge deviations that give us nothing that we loved about the originals. Gaming has nailed sequels though. There are countless games that only got better as they went on. Take Timesplitters for instance. The first one is the worst one. Game developers know what makes a good sequel. They add or change enough things to warrant putting down money for a second game in the franchise, while taking the things that worked and polishing and improving those aspects. Bad video game sequels are the exception, not the rule which is the complete opposite from Hollywood. To be fair, Hollywood has been getting a lot better at making sequels to their movies, but they have a long way to go until they have the hit ratio of the games industry.

Number 1. A reason to come back

More and more games are offering morality choices. These choices let you decide if you want to play as a good guy or a bad guy. Depending on what you choose, the game will play out differently. It will offer different story arcs, and alternate endings. The gameplay often changes as well, like in the Infamous series. This can turn a 20 hour game into a 40 hour game because it offers you incentive to come back and play it again. It's not just limited to morality choices either. Some games offer various classes to play as. Will you play as a warrior who's up close and personal, a stealthy assassin or a long range marksman? You can play different ways each time you play. You have to pay a fourth or even a third of the cost of a game (if its new) for a movie that only lasts two hours and never changes. Suddenly the 60 dollars for a new game doesn't seem like such a high price for something that will last you ten times as long, at least, as the average movie.

Questions & Answers

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      • CYong74 profile image

        Kuan Leong Yong 

        2 years ago from Singapore

        I kinda think it has something to do with how books, arguably, are generally still better than movies. A lot is left to the imagination, thus making the experience more immersive. (?) Games might be very interactive, but they still aren'ta complete tell-and-tell-AND-tell like movies. One gets more involved than he would realise. On a deeper level too.

      • harliquinn profile image

        harliquinn 

        6 years ago

        Haha no I completely agree! I always play good first too as my "serious" game I guess. But it's always fun to follow up and be bad just to run around and destroy everything

      • DonkeyKongKiller profile imageAUTHOR

        DonkeyKongKiller 

        6 years ago from Texas

        Thanks a lot. Yeah I usually play as the good guy first, that way I have an incentive to play again. To me, not having to worry about innocents getting in the crossfire or doing everything right, is more freeing. Maybe I'm evil, but being the bad guy is way more fun to me, so I save it for the second playthrough to fully enjoy it the second time. I think being the bad guy is funny. Punching a bad guy in a terrorist organization = justified. Running up and sucker punching some random dude on the street for no reason = hilarious. I guess that makes me look bad, but whatever.

      • harliquinn profile image

        harliquinn 

        6 years ago

        I like that you brought up sequels and morality in this. Part of what makes games so great is being that character and then getting to be them again in a new game that's usually better than the last (though there have been some flops, but that's going to happen). Plus the moral is a great feature that's being used more and more often. You might be a good person, but its fun to just be crazy and be bad in video games. Plus you have alternate endings and it makes it so you can play the game over without getting bored with it. Great hub.

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