People tend to think of video games as pure entertainment. Some think of them as a waste of time. Yet as the media platform matures, more and more people are recognizing it as art. Specifically because recent high-profile game titles have raised the bar on the emotional ties people form with the stories.
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IMAGE CREDITs: Techland
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Note: This video is not for the faint of heart. If you're not used to graphic game trailers or horror movies this might prove to be a bit. unsettling. In mid February a firestorm of concern erupted over the Internet in regards to what, to many gamers, was just a simple preview trailer for a video game. What was alarming to parent groups and people outside of the gaming industry/community as a whole, was the emotional impact of the trailer. Specifically, they were outraged that the trailer for 'Dead Island' by Dutch game studio Techland showed the death of a little girl by her own father's hands.
Good story-tellers know that in order for a story to resonate with audiences one has to get them emotionally invested. Audiences are suckers for children and animals.* The trailer struck a nerve because we are not used to seeing children being physically treated in this manner. Swap out an adult male character for the little girl and the trailer might have passed without any notice. Even veteran gamers were remarking that it was one of the most moving pieces of digital film they had seen in quite some time. Before you go off on a rant, know the source of this raw emotion is the presence of attacking zombies.
"TechLand has just released the official trailer for the upcoming survival horror first-person shooter and it is certainly worth watching. Even if you’re not a gamer. Trust us on this one! It’s better than a lot of movie trailers."
Shown in slow-motion, like a silent super-8 movie played in reverse, the trailer takes the viewer from disbelief to understanding, to the desire to watch it one more time. It is like a car-wreck, you want to look away but, morbid curiosity prevents you from doing so. An Internet meme was even started with fans of the trailer posting it in reverse order on YouTube. Trust me when I say that it loses some of its impact when you can see the action telescoped so you can anticipate the next actions/moves this family in peril will take.
What is odd is that it has taken the general public this long to realize that game designers and developers have been crafting their art for years and realized that story is now as important as game-play. In some cases, like Rock Star games' 'Red Dead Redemption' and Remedy's 'Alan Wake' story drives the game-play.Even Hollywood has taken note. Though I fear the movie studios are more interested in the blockbuster sales figures than they are the medium.
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