Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hall of the Great Unmade Games: The Twilight Zone

   It can be said, quite easily, that certain properties lend themselves better to different creative outlets. For example, Christian Bale might be the world's best voice-based paper shredder, but he also happens to be the world's finest narcissistic bag of loose phlegm.


 This is a very well established fact. Sometimes something that is incredible in one form will suck a bag full of dicks in any other. This phenomenon can be easily demonstrated by almost any professional actor that decided to branch off into a "musical career".

While this typically holds true to most forms of entertainment, one of the only notable exceptions to this rule of "quality properties staying in their genre" might be the video game industry. Now don't get me wrong, the game industry has had its share of shit-stain crossover titles -- most infamously the film-to-game genre. I would argue that the issue with even those titles, in almost every case, wasn't a problem with the concept of the games but with the team that developed them and the studio that had been trying to turn a dime out of the property by cutting as many corners as possible.

Games, if created by the right people with the right mindset, have the potential to not only hold onto the quality that the original product had, but also to increase it in a number of ways. You can almost throw anything out there and it would conceivably work as a game. Albert Einstein's Biography the Game? Hell yeah, it could work.

Assassin's Creed with numbers

Video games have this versatility because of the core concept of what makes a video game a video game: interactivity. Being able to interact with something always creates more immersion than something that is passively observed. On the flip side, if that immersion is lost --through any number of horrible design decisions or lack of creative talent-- the game will become an unsaveable failure. The unfortunate truth about video games is that the good ones are fantastic and the bad ones are painfully shitastic; that's just the way the medium works.

Here comes the interesting part: if you could, what game would you to choose to have made? Imagine if you had the ability to assemble a dream-team out of the best developers in whatever genre you would like the game to be made in, and then could be absolutely assured that it would turn out great no matter what. What ideas would come to your mind? Myself, I would choose The Twilight Zone.

Games like L.A. Noire have already blazed a trail through the old-timey TV and Film territory. Why not have a full budgeted triple 'A' title based on an early 60's TV show? A game like that would even be able to resurrect the old fashioned video game level format without beating you over the head with a "retro feel". With the right set of writers they could open up brand new stories, both interesting and terrifying, for a modern audience. With good writing it would create an excellent opportunity to tell stories with a moral interpretation attached, which is something very few developers have succeeded at doing correctly. Even better, they could replace the dated special effects of the show's time with more believable fare.

 Back when the SFX industry was based on Playdough and good intentions

Everyone has their own dream game. Some people want a return to form like, perhaps, a long dead game to have a returning sequel that does justice to the original. Some want a game that has already been made, done better; like a Halo franchise that actually tried to create some sort of emotion in the player besides rage-induced tea bagging.

In the end, even though all of these are still dreams, what would you want to see?

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