7 Reasons Why Video Games Are Better Than Movies
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 a movie. However, before you buy that ticket for yet another movie that you'll forget an hour afterward, I suggest you read my article outlining why video games are the superior medium.
7. It's a Global Industry
Quiz the average movie-goer on what they've seen the past year, 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 better 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. It was 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?
Go International By Playing Your Favorite Games
Even if you just casually play video games, there's a solid chance that you occasionally play games from overseas. Sonic and Mario? They're from Japan. Little Big Planet and Grand Theft Auto? They're 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, they are flexible to 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.
The Market Is Constantly Expanding
Games have shifted towards the Western market. 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 it has continued to expand.
6. They Are a Great Source of Entertainment
Entertainment is the most important aspect of video games. Time and time again, games with great graphics or storytelling sell poorly 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 developers' spent all their focus on making awesome gameplay. That's how games were when they started out and I mostly skip game stories anyway.
There Is Something for Everyone
I play video games to be entertained, and luckily there are plenty of companies that are making games for me. For every story and realism-based game like GTA, there's at least a couple of games similar to series such as Saints Row and Just Cause. Look at the Oscars versus Game of the Year awards. The Oscars are 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.
5. The Settings Are Fully Realized
Open world games have the most immersive settings. To create these games, developers and designers must work painstakingly create it from scratch. 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 a sandbox game (which isn't a bad idea, I might add), then every borough and building would have had to of been created just for the game.
You're Buying a Whole World
Another example is Just Cause 2. Its game world is massive and it's filled with small settlements, airports, and cities. In the game, you can visit every location, provided you have the patience and time for it. It's so large that if the game was a long movie, say three 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. You're being sold entire cities, countries, or worlds—not just the appearance of a fully formed world.
4. Action-Packed Activity
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 with main characters that take on unrealistic odds and almost always come out on top. Gameplay is 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.
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.
2. 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.
1. Games Provide 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 it's 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.