Acclaimed American film director Steven Spielberg has spoken at length about his seemingly deep interest in video games, but also criticised the way in which gaming still draws a huge dividing line between narrative and gameplay.
I play a lot of action games,” Spielberg told Yahoo!. There have been a lot of games, including all the sequels for Medal of Honor, that I’ve really admired. I love the direction it’s taken. I also like the competitive games. I’m currently playing Call of Duty 4. A lot of these first person shooters are very interesting.
You know the thing that doesn’t work for me in these games are the little movies where they attempt to tell a story in between the playable levels. That’s where there hasn’t been a synergy between storytelling and gaming.
They go to a lot of trouble to do these movies that explain the characters. And then the second the game is returned to you and it’s under your control, you forget everything the interstitials are trying to impact you with, and you just go back to shooting things. And that has not found its way into a universal narrative. And I think more has to be done in that arena.”
However, Spielberg still believes that the film industry is increasingly being influenced by the games market: I think filmmakers are learning things from video games. Movies are starting to look more and more like videogames, like the digital introductory teasers videogames give you before they turn control over to the player.
A lot of movies, like this movie with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy called Wanted. It had a lot of videogame savvy. The Bourne Ultimatum had a lot of videogame savvy in the quick cuts and the audacity of camera angle.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the director also recalls his first foray into the world of gaming: I was making Jaws and living on Martha’s Vineyard. Somebody plugged in a coin op game called Pong at the merry-go-round in Oak Bluffs. I remember Richard Dreyfus and I, playing Pong together, got hooked. After shooting every day we’d come back and unwind by playing Pong. That got me into the whole video gaming world.”