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Rampant Games - The Literary vs. The Cinematic

by Couchpotato, 2013-08-13 00:15:18

Rampant Coyote posted a new post a few days ago about,"Old-School vs. New-School – The Literary vs. the Cinematic."

Now, I’m sure there’s an argument to be made that nothing has changed in the modern era – the majority of fantasy movies still suck, but if it weren’t for their appearance on Netflix category lists, I’d never know they existed. But today, we live in an era where our fantasies are informed by the spectacle of cinema. Our modern vision of knights leap around with lightsabers pulling kendo moves. We’ve had the full palette  of visual imagery from stop-motion skeletons to CGI dragons – with muppet goblins, latex demons, hand-animated horrors, and everything in-between.

So while there’s no dearth of fantasy literature these days, I think the modern gamer is probably informed far more by cinematic experiences than literary ones. I don’t know if many people would argue with me on this point. Nor would they argue that the two aren’t fundamentally different. While there have been a few excellent movies based on fantasy novels, they are pretty different beasts, and it’s challenging to bridge that gap.

But the odd thought that comes back to me is how this may have impacted game design. Is part of the hard-to-define “feel” of old-school RPGs (the ones that tended to more consciously imitate dice-and-paper gaming) because they were (indirectly) following the lead of print media – to bring literary-inspired fantasies to life.

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