Problems in Translation

A short introduction. Cap’n Perkins came by his name from my college gaming group. We played a plethora of games: Dungeons and Dragons, Kobolds Ate My Baby, Munchkin, HeroClix, videogames, et cetera. At one point we commandeered a ship and our rogues aboard said ship called themselves To the Pain. We went through a sea-faring phase and Cap’n Perkins was considered the figurehead of our group (though he had graduated a year earlier). While I had talked about starting this blog for months, he was the one who spurred me into action. Along with discussion fodder for this blog, he and I have exchanged thoughts on the possibility of his writing something for this space.

He sent me this link via e-mail last night. While I believe we can all agree that the critical language of films (or comic books, literature, music, et cetera) hardly does the best job of giving us a plane in which we can work, comparisons will be drawn. After all, we still do this with adaptations, even if they are two separate mediums which should attempt building their own separate strengths (I stand guilty of that one far too often).

Tasha Robinson is not alone. While watching one of the plethora of comic book adaptation films this summer, I saw a trailer for the film Death Race. Looking over at the friend who accompanied me into the theater, I commented that I would likely pass this film up, but would be interested in playing a videogame as such (though not an adaptation of this particular film). He wryly remarked that we already had such in titles such as Carmageddon.

What does it mean when we want that interactivity, however? Despite my bemoaning the lack of romantic relationships between characters (I do believe they exist between character and player due to attachment), videogames do offer us a lot. Interactive stories draw us in and keep us tapping those keys, pressing those buttons, and watching the screen in front of us. It also seems to speak to the ability of gamers to make up for barebones storylines.

Yet, in her review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tasha points out, “And with its simple-goal-driven plot, its wordy, cutscene-like interludes, and its stiffly modeled characters, it wouldn’t even make for a particularly high-end videogame.” It’s nice to see someone acknowledging that some things are simply not desirable in any particular medium.

Though, I suppose we’ll always have those moments of imagining what it will be like: the book into film, film into game, game into film, comic book into film into game (I worry for Watchmen, the episodic brawler).

And while videogames don’t need to be on big screens, I still recall the amusement that came from loading up the Gamecube and projecting Super Smash Brothers Melee in our small presentation hall in the Fine Arts building of my college.

About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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One Response to Problems in Translation

  1. Quick note of Death Race. It’s a remake of a the film Death Race 2000, which you would love to death.I highly recommend finding a copy or having a friend netflix it or some other such thing. It does involve Sly Stallone as a pimp gangster and points for killing the elderly. Needless to say it was made in that wonderful decade of ideas and boundary free entertainment: the 70’s.Here’s a link to the trailer: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZLYEbkykCI-Cap’n Perkins

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