Zombies, polar bears, science fiction, westerns: when genre films inspire video games

FILM AND VIDEO GAMES: THE MARRIAGE OF THE CENTURY (3/8) Since the rise of video games in the 1980s, this industry and the film industry have multiplied approaches, to the point of influencing or even merging. Blatant example: how the video game universe has been heavily inspired by codes established for decades by horror, war, gangster, fantasy, and other movies.

Of course, you can “play” in the universes of Star Wars, James Bond, The Lord of the Rings, The Blair Witch Project and many others. But the cinema not only pursues direct video game adaptations of its greatest successes. It insinuates itself into a broad category of games that willingly borrow its visuals, its aesthetics, its character or situation archetypes.

“Video games are not created in an empty space, says Selim Krichane, professor-researcher at the University of Lausanne and author of The Imaginary Camera (history and theory of video game display modes), published by Georg. The people who produce and consume them have had, since the 1970s, a certain number of cultural references, among which the popular Hollywood cinema is a key reference: war films, science fiction, horror or action, the first blockbusters from George Lucas or Steven. Spielberg…”

This influence, on (at least) one or two generations of game designers, is mostly that of genre film. We find there, much more than in other regions of the seventh art, “immediately recognizable and identifiable codes”, says Marion Poirson-Dechonne, professor of cinema at the University of Montpellier, who directed the collective work Videogames and cinema, an interactive space creation ( ed.Charles Corlet).

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