Due to the fact that the movie industry has shown great potential for the last several years, the plots of numerous films became the basis for a number of games which the fans of the movies accepted with flying colors.
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Thus, the video game industry is prospering now, taking into account the abundance of cinematographic masterpieces worthy interpreting in a video game. Game creation might seem quite close to movie-making, yet it possesses certain unique features which become obvious only at the stage of game-making.
However, even the most complicated movie plots can be transformed into an enticing game with help of a bit of fantasy and the most general knowledge of video game making. Linking it to a certain movie will make it ever more popular and even become a major hit in the game industry; as King explains, this can be explained rather easily:
At the level of industry more generally, the linking of the cinema and games is far from being arbitrary in an environment in which some of the key producers and distributors of both forms of entertainment are located within the same media corporations and in which game spin-offs offer substantial additional revenues to the Hollywood studios. (7)
One of the films of 2010 worthy taken as a plot for a video game is the one called A Book of Eli. Owing to the peculiarities of the movie plot, the game can be shaped in a most intriguing way, with a lot of turns of the plot which lead to the most effective denouement. Thus, the game which is going to be created comprises the elements of a quest, an action game and a puzzle game – with such an intricate structure it is bound to be a success.
Speaking of the opening scene of the game, I would suggest that there should be a short intro which initiates the gamer into who the lead character is and what brought him to the place where he is at the moment. Taking some ten to fifteen seconds, this piece will be most helpful for the people who have never seen the movie and yet are willing to play the game. As Newman marked wisely,
Another major fact to consider when using the game theory is the idea that players begin all games ignorant of the rules of that game. A game’s concept must include the information regarding how a gamer is to learn these rules and guidelines, and how strategy, difficulty and opposition will be used. (14)
Thus, the wisest decision in this case would be to drop all the scenes narrating the story of the world which survived the nuclear war. Squeezing the information to fit the introductory lines, it would be possible both to help the “newbies” get acquainted with the plot and not to irritate more experienced people.
Therefore, beginning the game at the bar, the player starts his world rescue mission as Eli, the only man who possesses the Bible. The first piece of the game is supposed to possess the elements of quest – Eli has to charge his IPod, then he must find another bar to find the water to sustain his life. Realistic to the hilt, the game must look in the most convincing way, so that the gamer could feel that Eli is his/her reincarnation. Thus, the game graphics must be taken into account when creating the game.
To complicate the matter a bit and make the game both more enticing and closer to the movie plot, it would be a good idea to include changing water for the clothes. This piece would illustrate the poverty and despair which the lost world was trapped in after the devastating war and at the same time make the game more interesting to the players.
Constructing the close-up for this part of the game, it would be a nice decision to arrange Eli’s encounter with Solara. Making this the necessary piece of Eli’s journey without which it will be impossible to continue the game, one can insert an element of puzzle into Eli’s quest and make it ever closer to a refined brain-twister.
Another two-minute episode which the game would feature certain elements of action. To add more of dramatic elements to the game, it would be a good idea to bring some action into it.
Thus, the target group of the game players can be expanded from the quest-lovers to those addicted to action pieces and enjoying scenes of fighting in video games. Thus, Eli will spend the next two minutes in the house of the old couple known as the local cannibals.
On the one hand, it could be a good idea to make the situation as tense as possible and draw various sound and visual effects to enhance the blood0thirsty impression of the scene. Yet on the other hand it seems quite unreasonable since the age group would be restricted then to an older group.
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In addition, it is doubtful that the person loving quests will eagerly take part in rough action games. Thus, it will be most reasonable to make the scene of the house fight less violent than the plot of the movie demands.
Although logically, it would be most reasonable to make the lead character of the game invisible for the game player so that the latter could associate Eli with him/herself, it seems that the scene featuring the fight in the house should be made in such a way so that the game player could see Eli and control all his moves. Considering Pedersen’s idea of action games, it becomes obvious that the player must see the character in the scene of fight:
Action games are those in which you move, attack, move, react, and move again. They revolve around the gamer who is always central to the play and in control. During an action game, action is the emphasis, not storytelling (Pedersen 34)
Thus, making the emphasis on the central character, not on the fight itself, it would be possible to balance between the tough action and the absence of excessive violence in the picture.
Since the age group which the game is designed for is supposed to be diverse and include all possible elements, there must be a line toed between the “fight for justice” which is a necessary element of all action stories and blockbusters, and violence.
In spite of the fact that action games do not presuppose a lot of dialogues between the characters, there must be the ones in this scene. Bearing crucial importance for the entire storyline of the movie and the game, the conversations between Eli and Carnegie must be inserted into the body of the action.
Making the situation in the game as tense as possible, these short pieces of conversation fill the game with the philosophy which lies in the basis of the movie. Thus, most of the key phrases of Carnegie and Eli must be inserted into the action.
Quite a risky trick, it will prove the most efficient way to enhance the intrigue of the game. Such approach will contrast with the typical “helmet-mounted display”, though this will deprive the game of certain reality elements; as Jones emphasizes, it is the very effect of the information being “at once outside and inside of the visor of your character” (Jones 75).
Since Eli is the lead character of the game which the player associates him/herself with, it would not be a good idea to follow the plot of the movie blindly and make Carnegie shoot Eli. Though this will add reality to the game, such turn of the plot might upset even those who know the movie well, not to mention the people unaware of the film.
Thus, instead of being shot, Eli encounters an obstacle which makes him lose the Bible – say, the book is stolen by a member of Carnegie’s gang. At this point, it would be the wisest decision to apply the scheme of “multiple exit roots” (235), as Young puts it.
Allowing the game player to choose the ending which fits him/her best, one can help the player contribute to the game as well and feel the pulse of the game action.
The third and the final act of the game should be converted into a puzzle. In accordance with the movie plot, Eli is supposed to read the Bible, yet the game player is yet to discover that the book is written in Braille code.
To unlock the mystery of the text, the player has to decipher the mysterious scriptures, which means that (s)he is supposed to solve a game puzzle. To find the key to the weird signs, Eli must use some brainwork.
As Eli opens the book, a table with certain letters deciphered appears, yet there are not enough letters to unlock the secret writings.
Designing the riddle, it is reasonable to use the most widespread letters of the English alphabet, such as e, t, h, and a, along with a number of the most specific letter combinations, like “ph” or “cs”. Designing the puzzle, one must keep in mind that the game player must not get bored by a riddle which is too complicated to solve in less than ten minutes.
However, as Eli continues solving the puzzle, it appears that he is under a considerable time pressure – such turn of the plot will add acuteness to the situation and evoke another adrenalin surge – isn’t this what an avid game player is waiting for? However, not to make people too overwhelmed with emotions and give them the opportunity to win the game, Eli gets time bonuses with each letter guessed correctly.
While Eli deciphers the scriptures, he realizes that what has been deciphered so far is not enough – most of the text is missing. It turns out that he is supposed to recollect the rest of the Bible text. At this turn of the plot, the game player will have to solve another puzzle and read the text concealed in Eli’s memory.
Thus, the game turns from harsh and rather tough action to quite complicated yet intriguing puzzle. It is clear that those who are keen on playing various games will love the way the game parts switch and interact with each other, and the turns of the plot will add to the overall excitement.
Trapped in his own memory, Eli becomes an integral part of the game player – it is the matter of life and death for the player now as well to make Eli recollect the forgotten Bible.
However, this puzzle turns out to be much easier than the previous one. Making Eli pick the Bible and look at the poster on the wall will lead to the solution – Eli will see the snatch of a phrase reading “lies ahead”, which triggers the recollection process: “No matter what lies ahead. Hold onto your faith”. At this point the book which Eli holds turns into the Bible written in English, and the game ends with the triumph of the mankind.
Lines up with the licensed music from the motion picture, this scene would look in the most impressive way; as Rogers emphasizes, music is of paramount importance for the game: “Emphasis shifted from the programmatic issues with music and sound to what to do with it creatively” (394).
Although this game might seem another attempt to advertise a movie brand, there is more than meets the eye in it. Suggesting a picture of the distant future of the mankind, it persuades people to hold fats to their knowledge and beliefs, and not to give up even when the world is collapsing down. Once playing this game, one will feel that there is always a way out, no matter how hard the journey might seem.
Jones, Steven Edward. The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Studies. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis, 2008. Print.
King, Geoff, and Tanya Krzywinska. Screenplay: Cinema/Videogames/Interfaces. Brighton, UK: Wallflower Press, 2002. Print.
Newman, Rick. Cinematic Game Secrets for Creative Directors and Producers: Inspired Techniques from Industry Legends. Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2008. Print.
Pedersen, Roger E. Game Design Foundations. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2009. Print.
Rogers, Scott. Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.
Young, Paul. The Cinema Dreams in Its Rivals: Media Fantasy Films from Radio to the Internet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. Print.