Clancy Xbox

Clancy Xbox

Video Games Are Stealing The Spotlight by Michael Connelly

Thirty years ago the fledgling video game business was struggling to make a name for itself as it competed with toys, playing cards and board games for customers. The early games like Pong, Pac Man and Donkey Kong were very basic in terms of technology, and they had very little creativity involved with their designs and functions. Today, the computer game industry is a multi billion dollar extravaganza that has progressed dramatically, and it is starting to steal some of the spotlight from the glitzy and glamorous motion picture industry.

With technological advances like next generation motion capture systems, high definition graphics, Dolby Sound and Motion Sensor Remote controls that enable the players to actually get up off their chairs and get some exercise as they kick, swat, punch, jump, fish, golf and dance their way through sessions, video games have become more than just toys. They are an escape that offers a whole new reality. Kids and adults alike are playing Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii games more than ever before and the industry itself is growing bigger every day.

You only need to look at the recent Video Game Awards on Spike TV to see just how far they have come. This televised show was an awards ceremony much in the spirit of the Oscars or Emmys, but with more attitude. It was hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, a major Hollywood movie star, and throughout the show several other celebrities like Michael Irvin, Method Man, Eva Mendez and Seth Green showed up as presenters. James Gandolfini even showed up on the live satellite screen to accept an award for the Sopranos computer game.

Celebrities are starting to notice that video games are getting a lot of attention these days. If there is an awards ceremony that is televised, you can be rest assured that they will show up to get some face time. They are like moths to a porch light with that sort of thing. While the celebrities at the recent Video Game Awards were not quite on the Hollywood A-list, it will not be long before the ones that are will be showing up. They are already starting to license their names for the games, so it only makes sense that they will all be showing up at this event in the future to accept their awards.

The Video Game Awards show began this year with a big-budget open that looked like something out of a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Samuel L. Jackson made his way from his dressing room to the stage as he encountered various strange characters along the way, much like a video game. When he arrived on stage he picked up a laser gun and began to shoot the members of the classic rock group Kansas as they played their signature song Carry On My Wayward Son. There was impressive choreography, elaborate lighting and laser effects. Guys were being shot with laser guns and flying off the stage on harnesses, and the whole thing looked like a high-tech computer game that had come to life.

While the format of the show was very much like a Hollywood award show, it had a certain independent feel to it with a bit of a raw edge. Presenters and award winners were constantly saying things that needed to be bleeped out, edgy, young bands played loud music and Samuel L. Jackson seemed like he was infused with the energy of the crowd as he scream-talked his way through the night.

Being true to the Hollywood awards ceremony format, there were clips of video games that were played throughout the show. This was one of the highlights of the show, for it allowed the viewers to see glimpses inside the worlds of these games. I am quite certain that many viewers who had never seen any of these new games before suddenly had a new found respect for them. They even had clips of games that have not been released yet, like the new one by Tom Clancy called Ghost Recon and another new one called Big Shock that is due out in the spring of 2007.

It is not by accident that the video game industry is starting to look like the film industry. Sony, who makes Playstation 3, also makes movies for Hollywood. They have incorporated many of their filmmaking techniques into the production process of their video games, as have the makers of the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii games. The result is that you get games that seem like movies. The camera angles, storylines, lighting and sound effects are very similar to what you would see with a big budget Hollywood movie that plays in theaters.

All of the old classic movies like Scarface, The Godfather and Star Wars have all been turned into video games. A lot of the old actors like James Caan and Al Pacino were actually involved with the making of these classic movie games in which they offered their voice-over talents.

But there is one great advantage that video games have over movies, and that is that they offer interaction. You can actually be involved with what is happening on the screen, instead of just watching it like you do at a movie theater. This gives one a feeling of empowerment that one just does not get from watching a movie. These games offer more than an escape, they offer a journey into another world where your actions have no real negative consequences on yourself.

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong, Pac Man and Donkey Kong. While the Video Game Awards are not quite the Oscars yet, they are certainly on a pace to give them a run for their money in the future in terms of publicity. Celebrities are starting to notice that the spotlight on Hollywood is being shared by a newcomer to the world of entertainment, and they are following the light, as they do naturally. It is an inevitable natural progression, much like the relationship between a whale and a pilot fish. Big celebrity names are starting to integrate into the computer game industry, and as this happens it only means more publicity for both parties involved. This is ultimately good for gamers too, for as the industry gets bigger and bigger, the games and the consoles will only get better and better.

Michael P. Connelly is an Author, Artist and award-winning Filmmaker who writes on a variety of topics that effect people in their every day lives.

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