That’s right – I went there.
While young compared to the movie industry, Video games have rapidly progressed and evolved to become, in my opinion, the greatest medium there is. (For more information on the history of video games, click here.)
Here are three reasons detailing why I believe games are better than movies in terms of sheer entertainment.
NUMBER ONE: LENGTH
The above picture is from the movie Snatch, one of my all time favorites. It will enthrall and entertain you for every single one of it’s 104 minutes. However, once that time is up, you’ve seen everything there is to see. Your time spent enjoying the movie is so brief; it’s over in an evening. No more to experience.
Now take a look at Skyrim. Do you know what you’ve done after 104 minutes in Skyrim? Nothing. You’ve escaped the starting level and fiddled around for a while. You haven’t even begun to experience the wonders and locales of the world you’re in. With Skyrim, you’re easily looking at 100+ hours before you can claim to have fully experienced all their is on offer.
People may point out that the purpose of Bethesda’s games are to be huge, therefore such length is to be expected and can’t be used to highlight the gap in length between movies and games. Yet even a relatively short game like Limbo is twice as long as most movies. In terms of length, games clearly provide more content.
NUMBER TWO: INTERACTIVITY
Ever wonder what would have happened if Anikan had killed Obi-Wan? If Gollum bested Frodo and Sam? Films, no matter how great they are, no matter the quality of the tale told, are completely inflexible. (I’m going to ignore Lucas and his tinkering.) No matter how many times you watch them, the same events will unfold in the same sequence. With a lot of games? Not so much.
I killed Grunt on my first playthrough. Sent him out the airlock without another thought. It was only coming back and replaying as a Paragon that I decided to let him live. In doing so, I was introduced to a fascinating character with a unique philosophy and a fantastic loyalty quest.Through a simple choice, I changed how Mass Effect played, using him as a solid team mate. He was a new part of an experience I thought I had drained. It’s this power, this influence over what you’re doing that renders games such a unique medium, and such a great one.
NUMBER THREE: IMMERSIBLITIY
Apparently that isn’t a word. You know what I mean though. Films like The Lord of the Rings introduce us to sprawling fantasy worlds, and suck us into it’s troubles and glories. Yet, we as the viewers are always detached from them. We are merely omnipotent viewers watching over unfolding events. No matter how immersive a film attempts to be, we just aren’t a part of it.
However, take a game like Skyrim, or Ocarina of Time, and you quickly become far more immersed in those worlds than any movie. Why? Because you’re in it. You can interact with the inhabitants, kill or spare them and save the world. Include a gripping lore and fantastic story like in Bioshock, and you can almost smell the world as you run around shooting fireballs and bullets. For me, this is the ultimate reason why the video game medium is the best form of entertainment yet created.
You’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to save Gotham my way.
I’ll leave you to watch Bale do it.