How have games influenced cinema/TV - if at all?

Hi all!

Writing a thing, but wondered if anyone else has some thoughts on this? Thinking about influences outside of actual translations of gaming properties. ‘Gamey elements.’

I think the very origin of any element of influence doesn’t matter as much as if it became a mainstay of video games and then influenced other mediums again. Also, specificity of genre on both sides, etc is probably key.

It’s all not very important as the world crumbles, but I’d appreciate any thoughts! :smiley:

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Real sports broadcasting companies like ESPN have worked with game companies for years to match broadcasting graphics for things like on screen information (e.g. first down line in Football). This largely came about as sports games became more realistic and offered on screen information that arguably improved the player’s understanding of the game and gameplay. Networks like ESPN strove to match this to both attract audiences and to provide a seamless integration across mediums and thus improve cross marketing potential. Thus game design directly influenced broadcast TV.

P.S. there’s plenty of writing on this by academics working in communications, media and advertising/marketing studies but it’s been a while since I’ve cited anyone specific so forgive me for not doing so now.

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That’s an absolutely ace example! I didn’t even consider UI as it comes to broadcasting graphics. Interesting that it allows for cross-marketing potential.

Writing another feature on 3D virtual events in the pandemic and that’s the same kind of direct link. Out of the purview of TV/games, I think. Although, in the UK we had this TV show called Time Commanders that used Rome: Total War as its game engine.

Cinema might need more vague connections. Bloodless violence? First-person camera? Cinematic universes?

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Direct game reference in things like Scott Pilgrim. While the comic borrows from game design the movie is able to directly pull visual aspects from games to reference those same games. So we have at least one example of a game that models cinematic language on game language while also emulating a visual style developed for video games.

I know there are more examples, because as filmmakers who grew up playing games continue to make films there is always a potential for influence to seep from one to the other. There is definitely an influence on music, with the popularity of synthwave among contemporary horror filmmakers. Given synthwave is inspired by both 70s-80s horror and video games we have an example of reciprocal media relationships being formed. And then you have artists like Disasterpiece who compose for both games and films, bridging a gap between the two and bringing a game influence to musical styles in cinema. It Follows has arguably had a significant influence on other horror, and I have no doubt the soundtrack is an aspect of that.

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I remember not quite believing my ears when I heard Disasterpiece in It Follows. Just amazing.

Thank you so much for all your suggestions, by the by. Really means a lot.

I found this excellent book - ‘Gaming Film - How Games Are Reshaping Contemporary Cinema’ that’s worth a read if you have a means of accessing it. Thankfully, I’m now doing a master’s and have access to the library ebook!

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I imagine that my university has access to copies. I’ll take a look into it, thanks.

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