Sometime in the 1980s, the videogame market took a turn from being an american-centered market to a Japanese-centered market.
The videogame crash of the 80's
The market crashed in the west, but from the ashes rose a pheonix, with the breath of the east, the Spirit of Japan. A little company called Nintendo was being managed by an ambitious business man, and an ingenuous engineer. Together they brought to life, the famicom. With the spreading of the ambition to American soil, Nintendo revived the video game market from its death in North America. For many generations, the market was standing on the legs of the Japanese development giants, such as Nintendo, Konami, Squaresoft, Capcom and others.
The NES SKU, in North America
This legacy was carried forward by Sony, with the Playstation, culminating in the game Final Fantasy VII, which was a video game legend in both sales and impact.
Slowly, but surely, however, with the arrival of the Xbox and the growth of Western developers in general, more western franchises began to emerge.
American developers have been growing quickly since the Playstation 2 generation, in part thanks to the Xbox, but mostly thanks to their own appeal to western audiences.
In growing, these western developers have been also becomming more capable of very large-scale projects. Their latest endeavors take visible cues from hollywood.
Assassin's creed, set in the period of the Third Crusade, draws from historical references for both its storyline and its environment, in the style of movies like the Kingdom of heaven. The action can easily be compared to what we would expect to see in movies. The body movement, the speed of action, the motion blur, the perpectives and camera angles.
Max Payne 3 is a game that borrows from many sources of hollywood. From the character's persona, to his psychology, even to his style. The fancy clothes and shoes, but also classy (in comparison with hitman), the setting of latin america and the underground world, with all the web of jealousy and political turmoil that entails, it's all in the plot and in the dialogue. This game can be compared to movies like Scar Face, Cartel, The Godfather, and many others, in its storytelling and setting.
Al pacino lays back, smoke in hand, with a glass liquor, in the movie scarface.
Hollywood is not always top moviemaking
Now of course not all movies are equal, and some movies show more depth and evoke stronger emotions and have deeper intricacies than others. A great many movies today look for a quick buck and easy action, without bringing anything new to the watcher, and without engaging them emotionally in the piece they are watching.
However, there are also a number of movies which capture the imagination of their viewers, and that can be said for movies like the Bond series, Indiana Jones, Braveheart, Titanic, Jurrassic park, and many non-hollywood movies that participate in other film festivals as well.
When video games break out of their niche
Video games are still in their infancy, and have yet to break out of their niche, a world where they appeal only to a minority of an audience. There is coming a day when video games will be able to branch out of that state and achieve the success that the movie industry has met, thanks to the efforts of extremely creative and talented individuals, who knew how to draw emotion and inspiration in their viewers, touching themes that people were curious about or could relate to, things that mattered to them.
So long to the days where games are cliche and pulpy, and a big welcome to games being aware of the audiences they are aiming to reach, maximizing their appeal and excitement to the audiences they aim to reach.