After Yet Another Video Game Movie Fail, I Still Think Good Video Game Movies Are Possible

After Yet Another Video Game Movie Fail, I Still Think Good Video Game Movies Are Possible

There is no reason why video game movies shouldn't work.

Yet another video game movie has graced the box office and―lo and behold―it sucks!

Granted, I haven't seen "Tomb Raider" yet, which might completely discredit what I've just said and will say, but judging from the critical consensus (50% on Rotten Tomatoes, 47 on Metacritic), it seems like Hollywood's attempt at another video game adaptation has resulted in yet another stinker. To its credit, it did do better than 2016's "Assassin's Creed" and pretty much every other video game movie ever aside from 1995's "Mortal Kombat."

But while it might not be the worst video game movie ever made, does it represent a milestone for the form? Will this movie be the poster-child for video-game adaptations moving forward? Will it show executives that video game movies are safe to invest in? I highly doubt it.

What frustrates me though, is that there's no reason why video game movies shouldn't work. After all, how much of a difference is there between AAA video games and film? Both have actors, a director, a team of writers, an art department, a soundtrack... even cutscenes employ techniques typically associated with cinema. There's also no doubt that both are MASSIVE production undertakings. Just look at the 12 minute long credits for Uncharted 4.

There isn't as much of a difference between the mediums as one would think. In fact, we could boil down the difference into one word: interactivity. Whereas films are motion pictures, video games are simply interactive motion pictures. That's all there is to it. I think it's a dated notion to think that games need "an objective" or "must be won." We've seen plenty of new games this decade that break convention, redefining what a video game can and can't be. With the advent of TellTale style games and Walking Simulators like "Gone Home" and "What Remains of Edith Finch," the line between games and film is as blurry as ever.

At its core, video games are just like every other narrative and artistic medium―they create stories, they carry themes, and they explore the human condition. Therefore, there isn't anything inherently wrong with the medium that makes it impossible for it to translate onto the big screen. Instead, I believe the problem with video game adaptions lie with a broad public misconception about games.

It's time to stop dismissing video games as nothing more than childish entertainment filled with brainless and over-the-top action. When we make video game movies, stop trying to recapture the parkour in Assassin's Creed or the blood, gore, and action of games like Max Payne or Resident Evil. Focus on stories. Focus on narrative. Because games do that too, and that's the kind of stuff that translates into a good film.

Also, when searching for a game to adapt, stop choosing video gamey and narrative-less source material. Don't go for games like Doom, Angry Birds, Hitman, Need for Speed, Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Bros, or Street Fighter. Why do these movies even exist at all?! They are based on games with barely functioning narratives, and their sole focus is to export good and fun gameplay. Sure they may work as games, but they are destined to fail as movies.

Start picking battles that can be won. Pick narrative-driven games like Bioshock, Mass Effect, and The Last Of Us. These are the types of games that can translate well onto the big screen. They are well-written, engaging, and contain memorable characters.

And when picking a game like Tomb Raider, don't try to recapture in-game firefights by making a pulpy action movie. Instead, capture elements from the source material that are less video-gamey and more filmic. 2013's critically acclaimed video game reboot of Tomb Raider reimagined Lara Croft; it featured an emotional narrative journey, a strong protagonist, and heavy character development. Focus on those elements instead. Because that's what made Tomb Raider 2013 great, and it's also what will make for a great movie too.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?


Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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