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A medium to be left to the storytellers

A medium to be left to the storytellers
« on: February 28, 2012, 09:56:28 am »

VIDEOGAMES ARE FAR TOO RICH AND CAPABLE A MEDIUM TO BE LEFT MERELY TO THE STORYTELLERS.

(a quote from Mr. Greenaway)

Militans Lecture
http://petergreenaway.org.uk/essay4.htm

exchange the word "cinema" with "videogames", the word "film" with "game" - and see what you get Wink

example:

I am a game-maker... not a game-critic or a game-theorist... and I much prefer to be making games than talking about them and since the most satisfying and stimulating part of the game-making process for me, is in the conception of a new project, to amuse me, and hopefully to amuse you, as well as talking about games I am going to speculate about the conception of some new ones...
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 10:04:20 am by György Dudas »
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 10:19:01 am »

I remember Greenaway giving a presentation in Amsterdam and starting his lecture by empathetically exclaiming, with his deep voice and wonderful British accent: CINEMARRR IS DEAD! Cheesy

He's always had computer-envy. But his own attempt at making a game didn't move me as much as some of his films. And his attempts at making film look "interactive" are just silly.
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 10:37:06 am »

But his own attempt at making a game didn't move me as much as some of his films. And his attempts at making film look "interactive" are just silly.

I watched recently his "interactive" films, the Tulse Luper Suitcases trilogy. If you approach them as films or movies, they might be annoying. But - there needs to be a but here - if you approach them as encyclopaedic works like his very early works, like THE FALLS, then they make much more sense (at least to me). I will try the tulseluperjourney later, but what I've seen of it, it looks that it is much more an encyclopaedic work than an ineractive work, too. Maybe an elaborate interface to browse some of Tulse Luper works, I will see.

And I think a small minority of people will feel deeply moved by an encyclopaedia. Wink
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 11:24:14 am »

I am convinced there is a deepgoing difference between film and video games, despite their seemingly likeness in some respects. It struck me, what you, Michael, once said, that interactive 3D games are more like archtecture.
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 11:58:22 am »

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I am convinced there is a deepgoing difference between film and video games

of course there is a huge difference! But the storytellers were taking over the cinema (cinema is not a storytelling medium), now they are taking over the videogame medium (videogames are not a storytelling medium either)...

« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 12:56:29 pm by György Dudas »
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 01:44:24 pm »

Quote
I want to see games made with the freedom that a writer or a painter has with his material - which questions whether it is necessary for games - all games - to pretend to be the popular medium of entertainment many people still think it is.

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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2012, 03:44:52 pm »

It cannot be denied that film is an excellent medium for story tellling – you just sit down and get a story in two hours, without having to take the pains to read the corresponding novel, spending ten times as much time. (But people usually say: the novel was better..)
This does not mean to say that the film medium cannot be used for more serious artistic purposes.  I think of Tarkovsky’s Mirror. It is essentially autobiographical, but it tells its ”story” by a series of scenes that are visually so overwhelmingly touching. They really ”tell” you something, but in visions, not words.

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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 11:42:03 pm »

Is 'storytelling' here to be taken to be purely oral?

Otherwise I would think cinema (which to me, additionally, has no reason to be dead) and games are excellent media for storytelling. I would even say that storytelling is one of the high artistic purposes; and the one I feel most interested in.

It is all a matter of preference and style, of course, but both as an audience and as an author I like the reigns to be kept tight Smiley
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 12:32:22 am »

only can speak here for myself. Most of cinema is dead to me, if it is just illustrating some text. A picture story. Not interested in that. Same for many games which are simulating film or illustrating a story and nothing else. If there is more going on than a story, then I am interested. Maybe I am a bit old fashioned, but I prefer books for the storytelling Wink
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 07:44:32 am »

The director of the first Tomb Raider movie called his approach "post-content". I like that. Reminds me also of some scenes in The Matrix: cinema as pure spectacle, with no need for story.

All stories in popular cinema are more or less the same, aren't they? Maybe cinema is not about storytelling at all anymore. And the story format is just a convention. Maybe popular films are just "emotional roller coasters"?
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2012, 11:30:43 am »

When I still lived near an arthouse cinema I would go every week or so and there usually would be something which caught my eye - from emotional personal stories about transexuality to an epic about Genghis Khan or the later denied wife of Mussolini. I have never, during this time, felt that I now saw some format, or that the scenes where a character says nothing but you can see what plays on his mind would be better conveyed in a novel. They were always deeply engaging in a different way than I find books engaging.

I do not think it is 'old-fashioned' to prefer books for storytelling in the sense that theatre precedes books. Smiley

But perhaps I am considering those 'storyless scenes' as part of the story; as the countless dialogue-less scenes of Wagner endlessly dragging his piano through the snow to me is part of a coherent narrative about Wagner. Or perhaps I just do not see 'story' as a crutch and rather part of the whole, in varying degrees?

I must admit I am at a complete loss of how you see 'story', 'cinema' and what you consider good and bad points. I am half-considering that what you consider a film which is 'not merely story' to me is simply a normal film Undecided
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2012, 11:54:50 am »

Whenever someone tells me: you have to watch this movie, the story is so great, I don't understand what he/she is going for. Is it a great movie or not, I ask myself. Same with games.

Like, I watched the movie "Drive" recently. It was a great experience, interesting characters. So much was going on with their faces, and acting. And music. But was it a great or good story? No. I mean, the part that I bet was written down in the script. That was not what made the movie a great experience ...

or to put it that way. If I or anybody would write what he has seen in "Drive", it would not be the same. It could be great in a different way, but I still would want to see the movie again.

So, maybe story is a vehicle for something else, when making a game or movie
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 11:59:44 am by György Dudas »
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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2012, 02:48:16 pm »

I agree with you. Movies have been a terrible medium for story, and more importantly for me, interesting ideas. They are great for spectacle (this is not a bad thing) which goes back to the very beginnings of cinema, and for character. They manipulate emotion, mood, all that stuff. But story, nope. That's why the book is almost always better!

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So, maybe story is a vehicle for something else, when making a game or movie

Dan Pinback discusses exactly that in his paper "An Analysis of Persistent Non-Player Characters in the First-Person Gaming genre 1998-2007: a case for the fusion of mechanics and diegetics". Yes, I actually read it. Good paper.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 07:53:35 pm by ghostwheel »
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Irony is for cowards.
Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2012, 08:11:38 pm »

in a medium that is not primary a storytelling medium, I would think that it is very interesting how a story is told/presented.
There are many good films, that show that the "how" is the very essence of it. The "how" in how videogames are telling stories is often very uninteresting (cutscenes, audiologs). Greenaway told stories in almost all of his films! But how he told them made them interesting, very interesting to me. Also very enjoyable.

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Re: A medium to be left to the storytellers
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 09:10:27 am »

I'm reading this lecture now. It's quite wonderful, I think. Thank you for sharing!
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