Movies Based on Video Games — March 28, 2014

Movies Based on Video Games

I read an article the other day listing five video games or franchises that are just begging for a movie. The author included The Legend of Zelda. While I would love a Zelda movie, I’m not convinced it should happen.

┬áProbably the best option, the least of all evils should a movie version of any LoZ title be made, is that the game’s script writers create a brand new Zelda story and write it as a screenplay straight off the bat, bypassing the game platform entirely.

Why would this perhaps be the least of all evils? Doing it this way would ensure the story was cohesive start to finish and made sense outside of the gaming world.

Think about it. If Ocarina of Time were adapted to a movie, what story would be told? They’d probably forgo Young Link’s adventures through the Deku Tree, Dodongo’s Cavern, and Jabu-Jabu’s Belly. But that’s not right because that’s so much of the setup to Adult Link’s journeys in the Hyrule of the future.

So if they focus only on Adult Link, where do they focus? How do they incorporate freeing the sages, earning their medallions, and the final fight against Ganon(dorf)? They can’t. They’d have to find a way of him freeing the sages, but without it feeling disjointed and like so many superhero sequels that have too many villains.

Now, if Peter Jackson got his hands on Ocarina, and money became absolutely zero object, he could make an 8 movie series, one for each temple and show the entire journey.

But that would never happen.

If any Zelda title were to successfully be adapted to the big screen, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword are the most likely candidates. I say SS only because Girahim is such an ever-present villain and the one who sets bad guys after Link that he could more easily be made into the film’s villain.

TP you’ve got the single object being searched for and that leads to the villain fights. Which would more easily be adapted to the big screen as well, fitting a standard 3-act structure a bit better.

I’d still be nervous sitting down in the theater no matter what happened if a Zelda movie were ever made.

Gaming and Attitudes Toward Female Gamers — September 20, 2013

Gaming and Attitudes Toward Female Gamers

I was thinking last Sunday about some gaming history that I really haven’t talked about here on the blog. Recently, Diablo III launched on console in addition to PC/MAC. I haven’t played it yet but I kind of want to. But all that contemplating whether to commit to it or not brought up some high school memories.

My brother had Diablo II when I was in high school and he was in college. (We’re seven years apart so our interests haven’t always coincided, though they’ve merged more in recent years it seems.) He let me play it from time to time one summer when he was home. (I think.)

Then I bought it for myself so I didn’t have to rely on my brother’s generosity to play it. I loved it. It was a stress reliever for me, to get angry at something and go whack a tree with a sword for a while. (It’s better than taking out frustrations on real people, if you ask me. And I’ve never had a problem differentiating reality and fiction, lest anyone bring out the violence and video games argument. Which I will keep my opinions to myself on that matter.)

One day at school I was sitting around talking to some of my guy friends and for some reason it came up that I was playing through Diablo II.

I got the very incredulous, “You play Diablo?” Emphasis on “you.” It honestly surprised me that anyone would be surprised I would play a video game. I mean, I’d had my N64 since 8th grade (and I think I was probably a junior or senior at this point). I’d grown up begging my brother to let me have a turn playing Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis or Monkey Island. Even King’s Quest, which I never could get the hang of.

Ever since that conversation in high school, I’ve struggled to identify myself as a gamer. Even here on my own blog I’ve called myself a wannabe gamer. But I’m a gamer. I really and truly am. It’s one facet of my personality, one interest. But it’s an interest all the same.

But that one sentence has deeply impacted me, more than I think I ever even realized. I attended a panel on women in gaming at Salt Lake Comic Con. And sitting there in that room, I was impressed at the seemingly even mix of women and men in the room. And the intelligent, non-belittling questions some of the guys asked. And then I was surprised and disheartened at my being impressed. Because why should I be impressed that men are interested in equality with women in even one industry? Why are we still having to fight this crap?

Slaying a Gaming Demon: Ocarina of Time — August 19, 2013

Slaying a Gaming Demon: Ocarina of Time

I’ve decided this is the year of finding my geek self. I’ve always been, at least considered myself, a nerd/geek. (I use the terms fairly interchangeably.) But there’s always been one major blight (among several smaller ones) on my nerd cred card.

Never in my life have I beat The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. A little history:

I first got my N64 in 1998. We were living in Boston at the time, for a one-month stay in an apartment whilst my dad had to remain close to Massachusetts General Hospital following his bone marrow transplant. It was Christmas time (and my birthday) and I’d been pulled from school a week or so early for the holiday break. I didn’t have any friends in Boston, obviously, and I don’t recall attending church while there.

I had a duffel bag full of school work and a suitcase of clothing. When not daring to brave the frigid temperatures (seriously, how do you people do it?) and give little old me a living history lesson, we were in the apartment.

Over the ensuing few years (before Game Cube), I obtained several games for the N64. Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Mario Kart 64, and Yoshi’s Story.

I know it’s a lot. Sadly, the only one of those I know for certain I beat is Majora’s Mask. It was a fairly easy and redundant Zelda game, but that made it ideal for my skills back then. (As for the rest? Well, Banjo-Kazooie had so many collectibles to unlock the later stages of the game I hit a wall. Same with Super Mario. Donkey Kong? I could never beat that blasted jack-in-the-box level boss or the classic Donkey Kong arcade game.)

I have no excuse for my lack of completion when it comes to Ocarina of Time. I freed all six sages and created the bridge to Ganon’s Castle. But I never entered that last dungeon.

Flash forward a few years, and N64 has been replaced twice. (My N64 is still in a box somewhere with all four controllers, the gold OoT pack and rumble pack.) Now on the Wii I felt it was time to slay this demon.

I bought OoT for the virtual console, purchased the classic controller, and conquered the new ocarina and item controls. (Seriously took me forever to figure out how to access and play the ocarina and my items. I’m not ashamed of this.)

After weeks and hours of playing (since I work and write books and don’t have the endless hours of free time I once had), it came down to one decision. I had created the bridge. I could save and turn off the console, waiting for another day with a couple hours of free time. Or I could enter the castle, save, turn off the console, and wait.

I took the latter option. I really had run out of free time for the day so I needed to be at a save point. The monkey danced around on my back as I sent Link on his first tentative steps across the Sages’ bridge and opened the door to Ganon’s castle.

The next day, that monkey continued to do jigs all over as I worked to clear every room and eliminate the barrier to the tower.

It took at least two hours, two blue potions, some magic bottles, and three fairies, but I did it. I dealt Ganon one last blow with the Master Sword and watched as the Sages sealed him in the Realm of Evil. (I may have gloated a little early at his defeat, forgetting that there would be a second phase to the battle between Link and Ganondorf/Ganon.)

At last I duct taped that stupid monkey’s legs together so he’s no longer dancing on my back.

Now I just need to beat the other two Zelda games I have. (Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.) And lest you think me a complete inept, I have beat Lego Lord of the Rings three times, Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga, and Skylanders Giants.

A Wannabe Gamer — June 7, 2013

A Wannabe Gamer

I sometimes like to consider myself a gamer. Growing up I had a Super Nintendo then the N64. A few years back I happily joined the casual game market and have played many a computer game that way.

But, at least when it comes to the Nintendo, I’ve never actually beaten any game but one. That game was The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I think I actually beat it twice. (I take it back, I’ve beaten two Nintendo games in my life. The other being Lego Lord of the Rings for the Wii. Which I’ve also played through twice.)
I owned several games for the N64. But I always came up against one boss and got stuck. Or one set of challenges my skills weren’t up to snuff for.
Currently, I own several Wii games, including two Zelda titles, that I haven’t beaten. I’m replaying Ocarina of Time and Majora’s mask now in the virtual console, too. Which puts me at four active Zelda titles at one time.
So, yeah, I enjoy video games but I’m a total wannabe gamer. I’m a nerd in many other ways, though, so this lack is perhaps compensated for in some degree. I’m keeping my nerd card for now.