When the Filmmakers Actually Understand the Gameplay - hecticspace2.com

When the Filmmakers Actually Understand the Gameplay

Like Stories of Old
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About this video essay:
An analysis of Fallout, The Last of Us, and the philosophy of adapting video games

0:00 The problem of adapting interactivity
2:39 A new philosophy
3:44 What was missing
5:20 A comparison with comic book adaptations
7:02 Back to video games
7:50 A good, but easy video game adaptation
11:15 Why Fallout was the real challenge
13:00 How Fallout adapted gameplay
15:38 Why it just works
17:28 Adapting a Fallout’s broader themes, meanings & vibe
21:27 What all this means
22:45 The problem of subjectivity
23:41 Why we should want more video game adaptations
25:50 The pantheon of humanity’s storytelling

References:
Patrick Willems’ video on video game adaptations:

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55 Comments

  1. I think there's one HUUUUGE element to Fallout 4 that helped it stick the landing that most people miss. It gave itself the freedom to be its own story, and I don't mean it's own reimagining of the main story. I mean it's own story. Every Fallout game is a unique narrative. The TV show was another unique narrative. It followed the same sort of idea that has made video game books successful and allow Andor to break out from the recent subpar Disney Star Wars content. It was it's own story free from the constraints of remaking a narrative. It just existed in the same world we love and was free to do its own thing without stepping on any toes.

  2. You mostly picked the wrong Fallout game for referance. Fallout 4 provides the vault aesthetic and some minor things, the rest, the geographical setting, the cowboy themes, the story references are more from Fallout: New Vegas. By most to be considered the best in the series.

  3. God, makes me dream of getting a Mass Effect show so hard now.
    Don't give me any allusions to a Commander Shepard, a Normandy, or anything involving the Reapers. Just a good original story with good original characters set in a well-established vibrant universe fans know and love, but more than welcomes newcomers to such a universe. Do a neo-noir story on the Citadel with a human and a turian as a buddy cop duo, do anything that the imagination can allow inside of the spiritual confines of the games' lore and universe. That's what "qualia" is to me.

  4. And here I thought the writing for Fallout was poor and extremely contrived.

  5. No, they didn’t. Both of these adaptations were bad

  6. This reminds me of what Oliver Sacks said about the scene in Awakenings where the patients all wake up. “It wasn’t really like that, patients woke up over several weeks. But it felt like that”.

    Which is more accurate…?

  7. Main issue with failed adaptations is that creators were not fans of the game and were not familiar with world, atmosphere and how it would feel to be there.

  8. One thing that's a big part of Fallout's qualia for me is the use of music. Fallout has many scenes where they use the games' music while showing the characters wandering around in the wasteland. This captures the exploration aspect of the games, and firmly establishes the core of the games theming for me: the juxtaposition of 50s optimism and the end of the world. You have the musically nostalgic and comforting sounds of Bing Crosby or the Ink Spots, singing their songs of longing while seeing the images of a lost world. This is exactly what you experience in the game when you move around the wasteland, and this is also what you describe the last of us is missing, the area in between where you actually end up spending the most time. To me it works even better in the series than in the games.

    The scene that you describe where Lucy leaves the super duper mart definitely made it click for me as well. But for me the show already captured the feeling of the games in the start of the second episode, where you see Lucy exploring the wide an dead remains of Los Angeles to the tune of "don't fence me in".

  9. No, just no. Fallout: Nuka Break and Fallout: Red Star did a better job for a fraction of the cost. If you want to praise an adaptation, nothing even comes close to Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.

  10. The blame isn't really on capitalism and is more so on human nature.

  11. You know, while watching this, as a non-Fallout-player, I was wondering if there is also an element of just… how deeply invested people are in a game, I guess, that makes it harder or easier to adapt it. I don't know that I'm wording this right, but basically: Because Fallout has this extremely dedicated fanbase, and then on the other side loooots of people who just laugh at that fanbase, is it more likely to have a more complex qualia to capture than something like The Last of Us, that's pretty much universally acclaimed but doesn't have the level of die-hard fans that Fallout (*cough* Bethesda *cough*) does?

  12. I would love to see a Final Fantasy 9 adaptation. They could make a shot for shot remake and it would be amazing.

  13. One of the only channels I get excited about when I see they've released a new video. Especially on a topic I love.

  14. I watched the show two times, one time alone in the original language, the other in italian with my dad, the second time i got to see all the easter eggs, bc the first i was wayyy more interested on what was going on, not the thinga surrounding it

  15. Why this vídeo does not have subtitles?

  16. We are finally getting video game adaptations made by people who actually play the games, the difference is so stark

  17. 3:40: Wait, is Mary an ALBINO? Because she can see HERSELF. Even if we don't give her mirrors, she can still see her hands. What happens if she cuts herself? Was she born in a pitch-dark room? Who changed her when she was a baby? This is why philosophical thought experiments don't work.

  18. Maybe I only noticed this because I played them back to back, but I think The Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding were both kinda trying to solve ludonarrative dissonance. Druckman made the story as dark and regretful as possible to match the fact that players are gonna murder several dozen human beings and a couple of dogs.

    Kojima went the other way completely. Sam is a non-violent hero. Violence is severely punished. I feel like Kojima has been trying to do this for years going back to MGS3, trying to punish killing but it never really worked.

    Anyway I disagree that TLOU2's dissonance is that Ellie gets stronger in gameplay while she breaks down in the narrative. She faces consequences for her revenge-motivated violence, but the consequence is not that she gets worse at it. The consequence is that she loses herself in the process.

    The dissonance for me comes from literally every play through I get better. I'm John fucking Wick in this game. And then in every cutscene Ellie screws up her interrogation because she's not as cold and cruel as Joel. As soon as I get control again, I'm John Wick again. That's what's weird to me.

  19. Possibly your best essay since Cloud Atlas' "How beauty will save the world" theory. Your passion for art is inspiring.

  20. Just wait for Todd Howard & Niel Druckman to nuke us back to square one for season 2

  21. I got to say the Last of Us game I felt had better acting than the show. I'm biased, but I particularly felt Ellie was much better in the game.

  22. I don't think it's a coincidence that Jonathan Nolan played and loved the games. I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it but there is often a very game-like sense of agency to the way the plot is constructed. Usually plots in non-interactive media don't have such sharp branches hinging on single decisions. And now that I think about it, the whole "okey dokey" response is so much how playing a game usually goes.

    And you're not wrong that Day After Tomorrow felt like being stuck in a game that doesn't have enough ability to save to keep it from being a brutal grind. Like seriously, I would never have completed Dark Souls if I hadn't figured out how to copy the autosave file before going into fights so I could more efficiently save scum it.

  23. fuck sake, did you have to ruin your point and start your little anti-capitalism rant?

  24. "Capitalism prefers war over peace"

    A random ferengi shook his head in disappointment.

  25. I'm so glad you mentioned Edge of Tomorrow! I was preparing mentally to finish the video and write a comment about it. It's not just you, it totally dawned on me halfway through my first watch and I laughed out loud so much, realising the way the filmmakers had captured that kind of qualia about playing hard games with little room for error.

  26. Thats when I had an expected no light bulb moment and I thought, how in the world is she going get the blood out of the whites (it'll never get fully white)….. there it is, this is a great Tide Pods commercial

  27. I think you should play the original Fallout. Most people forget about the old story of Fallout, and it saddens me to watch the original legacy of Fallout and the great story it holds begin to fade into obscurity. The original story was about the fall of civilization and the beginning of a new dark age, things have changed, and the wasteland holds many secrets, but the way the new games and the show adopts the original source material is completely stupid, they keep putting the same old crap in there games and show no interest or regard putting cool ideas and stories into there world. The original game already had a world meanwhile the new games and show is the death of that world.

  28. I wouldn't say capitalism is the source of all evil. Long before such a system existed we had various society rise and fall. Most of history has been feudal societies. The reason for all these falls is that always in every system the most evil of people rule. It is true for today as well and in a few centuries every nation today will no longer exist.

  29. broadly speaking, I think animated video game adaptations (even the CGI ones) are better than live action; Cyberpunk Edgerunners, Resident Evil: Death Island, Persona etc.

    plus I didn’t love Fallout until the season finale because too much of the plot was kept in the dark and some scenes deliberately misleading

  30. The section from 17:3021:30 was especially wonderful. Beautifully said and astutely observed. Parts like that are why I subbed

  31. It would be great if season 2 had one of those scenes where a character viciously murders someone they're talking to only for it to be revealed they didn't do anything and it was just their imagination, adapting quicksaving and quickloading.

  32. movie adaptation should be about me playing the game as the character in the game. and im a dumbass a-hole loser… sometimes i wana win. most times i just hang on. im not a hero. im just lucky. do a movie abt me the loser who win and call it Indiana Jones.

  33. 9:03 God damn it, Tom, you don’t drop the “OK” from TLOU without a warning like that… it chokes me EVERY TIME!!!

  34. Mark Fisher reference in a fallout video!!??, ultime crossover episode !!!!

  35. Im glad that we are entering a new era of video game adaptations that are actually recieved well by fans and wider audiences. Obviously, the copy/paste formula for more cinematic games makes sense, and franchises like Fallout provide a challenge to live up to, however, I think the most challenging property to adapt would be Half-Life. Someone must make this attempt.

  36. Why are automatic captions turned off? 💔

  37. Side note: Edge of Tomorrow is based off a manga inspired by video games.

  38. Hearing your perspective on the gameplay, makes me wanna pick up New Vegas again, in ways the Fallout show just doesn't. I do like the show, too, and for many of the reasons you express.

  39. Do you think Cooper is detached? Or maybe in truth super connected to himself and his needs and boundaries? Like approaching this world in a meditative state where can watch himself feel what he needs to feel and regulate accordingly?

  40. Edge of Tomorrow is based on a light novel called All You Need is Kill. Many light novels have a heavy videogame influence.

  41. What did you think of the new Fallout show? And what video game adaptation are you looking forward to the most?

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