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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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The Arts of Entertainment: Quitting while you’re ahead

This photo is from the game “The Last of Us” and shows the scene where the Protagonist and Supporting Character, Joel Miller, is grappling.

To chase the approval of outsiders is to doom yourself to the garbage bin of obscurity and this concept can be applied to many things but proves increasingly relevant to the gaming industry.

The allure of Hollywood has drawn the eye of many an industry and this envy is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in gaming.

With seeds planted as far back as 1998’s Metal Gear Solid,” a cinematic approach to pixelated storytelling has gained in popularity.

Perhaps it was the side effect of genuine innovation once, but there is little doubt the style has become anything more than trend-chasing in the modern day.

To say this change has done nothing but harm to the industry would be a bald-faced lie, some truly exceptional efforts have been taken out of this change, but the potential pitfalls of this approach are plain to see.

Not only does it negate the existence of a big-screen adaptation, it profoundly limits the types of stories gaming can tell.

Consider the Mortal Kombat franchise or really any fighting game.

For a product whose purpose is largely to entertain large groups of friends at get-togethers, the franchise is home to a rich story and lore that could nary exist anywhere but gaming.

Utilizing tutorials, character bios and character endings to weave a vast tapestry of story that spans multiple planes of existence inhabited by dozens of living and breathing characters, Mortal Kombat was a narrative marvel that was sure to make fans of other mediums green with envy.

But that was in the distant past, what is it up to now?

Well, after a reboot, the series has adopted a decidedly cinematic storytelling attitude to regale us with the stirring tale of G.I. Joe battling the evil armies of Skeletor.

In the games industry’s bid to become an easier lay for Hollywood, it has completely sanded away any of the shade that might make them worth an adaptation in the first place.

But that doesn’t mean Hollywood needs to be relegated to the place where creativity goes to die.

HBO’s The Last Of Us” recently beat the odds and turned out a series that has made fans of the faithful and newcomers alike, but that “cinematic” approach can only bear so much fruit.

Consider the films that shocked the world by seeming to break the infamous video game adaptation curse: 2020’s Sonic The Hedgehog.

Birthed in the retro womb of the 90s, the source material lacks any of the movie-level flashes of modern-day blockbusters.

But by utilizing the unique storytelling devices of gaming, the franchise was able to create a world that fans would clamber to see on screen.

The same can be said of the upcoming Super Mario Brothers film.”

A redo of the first gaming movie flop, the adaptation’s marketing has already capitalized on bringing the unique video game-style wonder to the big screen.

But where are our modern-day Marios, where are our current-day franchises that offer something wholly unavailable to any other?

Classic franchises may provide us salvation in the short term, but there are only so many beloved series from yesteryear.

Gaming has finally done the seemingly impossible and staked a claim in Hollywood.

Now is the time to quit while we’re ahead and get back to crafting stories that will be worth adopting.

Otherwise, the future of gaming on screen is a dark one indeed.

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About the Contributor
Lukas Luna-Arellano
Lukas Luna-Arellano is the co-community editor for Talon Marks. He plans to shore up his literary credentials while at Cerritos before transferring. He enjoys reading, working out, and listening to various types of metal.
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The Arts of Entertainment: Quitting while you’re ahead