Fan-Made Game Movies

Santafe.com - August 25, 2011

Ready for the masses?

During my wonderful time in Santa Fe, I have dipped my toes into the film world a few times.  I've managed to work on several great films and TV shows that are filmed in New Mexico, and even helped create a non-profit designed to help New Mexico filmmakers (more on that as it develops).

My friends also know that I'm a big gamer.  My console of choice is the Playstation 3, and I'm currently huge into Call of Duty: Black Ops.  (If you're on the Playstation Network, feel free to add me to your friends list - my gamer tag is skellington72.)

For the most part, however, these worlds never cross - I am not a fan of video game movies.  For good reason.  Case(s) in point - Doom, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Street Fighter, and worst of all, Wing Commander.  For the most part, I've felt that video games cannot make good movies.  Good games have plotlines that take hours to uncover, and require the player to immerse themself in that world.  Movies require squashing a plotline down into 2 hours or less.

However, some recent developments may have me reconsidering that viewpoint.  New technology has made it easy for fans to make their own movies, and these fans are usually better versed in the game world than the Hollywood directors and writers hired to make studio movies.

Just search on YouTube for game movies, and you'll find a ton of gamers recording themselves playing the games.  But, you'll also find some gems in there too.  Take, for example, a great video game called Portal.  Although originally just a toss-off from the makers of Half-Life, this game has taken on a life of its own, including a sequel.  And then, there's this fan-made film, Portal:  No Escape.

The internet has been on fire about this film, and it would seem to make a great case for a full live-action Portal film.

And then, there's the world that intersects with Portal's, the world of the Half Life games.  A group of fans spent two years creating a fan-made film called Beyond Black Mesa.

Also in the world of Half Life, there's Escape From City 17.

And thanks to Thomas on twitter (@MWproductions), I recently found out about Modern Warfare: Frozen Crossing.

Those are just some great ones.  Friends (including Lord Fagan on Facebook) have pointed out films about the Call of Duty series and the Zelda series to me, and I'm sure there are many more out there.  Not to mention, the new Mortal Kombat: Legacy series on YouTube is great.

The point to all this?  Maybe we've reached a time where game movies can be made.  But let's make sure they're in the right hands.  After all, a great game is like actually playing a movie now.  There's no reason, when creative people that know the property are involved, a great movie can't grow out of the game.

I look forward to seeing a great one in theatres soon!