V For Virtual
It occurred to me, as I’m sure it did to you, that certain parts of Children of Men bear an uncanny resemblance to a video game.
For example, when Theo and Kee are discussing the future of her baby with the assembled terrorist group of “Fishes,” the way that Cuaron directs the sound, and the way that the screenplay has random Fishes enunciating obvious objections (“Who’s he?!” “Yeah, it’s our time!”), is exactly the way that groups of people talk during “cut scenes” in video games. Furthermore, when Theo is sneaking out of the camp at night, the way that pairs of guards move close by is just like Perfect Dark or other such games. The guards perform routine actions, talk to each other, and loudly scuff the dirt with their boots. When they see Theo, they do what all video game bots do — they say idiotic things like, “Hey!” and “Stop, you!” This virtual feeling is only reinforced later, when Theo has to run inside a building while it is being shelled by tanks.
I don’t know whether Cuaron considers video games an influence, but I’ve already begun writing up some pitches for other games, based on the best movies of 2006, as ranked by me after at least ten minutes of thinking about it. A few features to keep in mind: most movie tie-ins let you play a couple different plots with different characters, and most of them have a series of “episodes,” each of which requires a different skillset.
The Queen: Repression City
In this game, you get to play The Queen. Ultimately, you are trying to win the OSCAR away from your arch-nemesis, Judi Dench. The game is incredibly complicated: you have to push all the buttons very quickly and often, and nobody tells you how you’re doing. There is no manual; the manual is everything you’ve ever wanted to do, but weren’t able to do because you were born a monarch. So, you, the player, are pushing these buttons frantically, but it turns out that this is just what you have to do to keep your “repression” meter from reaching dangerous levels. Your exquisitely rendered “avatar” does absolutely nothing except smile and nod slightly. Sometimes you have a cup of tea.
Shortbus: The Game For Adults Who Are Brave Enough To Buy This Game
OK, so you get home, and you tear open the game packaging, and right there is 1,000 dollars. Because we are just so proud that you bought this even though everybody in the line at Fry’s Electronics could tell that you were a total pervert. In this game you have sex with everybody, all the time, in order to avert major world disasters. So, for example, let’s say that global warming is about to start and will ruin everything. Then you go have sex on top of a glacier and it turns a brilliant turquoise and we are reminded that everybody is connected by invisible threads of desire. Plus the glacier doesn’t melt because you have taken all that heat inside your bodies, through the physical act of love.
Other levels include “Famine,” “Couples Therapy,” “Nuclear Proliferation,” “Nothing On Television,” and “The United States of Persia.”
Casino Royale: Bond’s Not Into Baccarat Anymore
In this game, you play a shitload of poker. You play poker all day and all night, because you fuckers wanted a movie that was about nothing but poker, and now we, the movie producers and video game moguls, have to watch certified crap like Smokin’ Aces and that one that I just saw where the guy has to play Hold ‘Em against his father, and his girlfriend, played by Drew Barrymore, keeps yelling as though it’s Dirty Dancing and he’s Patrick Swayze. So anyway, you can play as Bond, or as the bad guy who cries blood, or you can play as Eva Green and just drink yourself silly wishing you were anywhere but here, even in a sequel to The Dreamers, perhaps called The Disrobed Realists. The game includes a network option so you can meet other secret agents and play Spades or Crazy Eights with them, and you’ll be allowed to stay up late and drink all the soda you want!
An Inconvenient Truth: The Game For People Who Are No Fun
In this game, you get to play the role of a big, caring dweeb who realizes that he has a terrific personality when it’s too late. The best you can hope for, if you do a really good job at “Designing The Slide Show” levels, and complete all the “Snide References To My Boring Campaign” side missions, is that you will get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize before all the game designer credits start scrolling.
You can also play as The Snowballing Droplet. This is way more fun. You start as a frozen droplet high up in an Argentinian glacier. You are very old, and the tiny air bubbles frozen inside of you have a low carbon dioxide content (they also contain less plutonium, strychnine, and free radicals). All of a sudden, thanks to a sudden rise in the Earth’s temperature, you melt…and that’s when your adventure begins! Other droplets will join you, and as you grow larger (first Rivulet, then Cataract, then Wavelet, then Tsunami) you will get to deprive enormous, majestic whales of krill. Then you will travel to inhabited coastlines around the world, crushing buildings and enabling the growth of seaweed inside submerged ghost cities. In the final, climactic “cut scene,” you will return to your humble origins as a droplet of water, when you splash onto the arm of Kevin Costner. He is searching. Searching for land.
Pan’s Labyrinth: Forgot About Pan (Still P.A.N.)
In this game you can play anything you want. The limit is your imagination.
You can play the role of Ofelia, the daring orphan who alone is powerful enough to defeat Voldemort. Actually, she’s not an orphan, her father is a mandrake root and her mother smelt of collaborationism. The ultimate test of your skill will be to die strategically. Because we had a giant ton of money for this game, we were able to get Christopher Walken to play the toad. You will enter a level we call “Blind Men See With Their Hands,” where you will have the sordid affair of your life with a blind monster with a very gentle touch, who thinks you’re his tiny monster wife because you’ve blindfolded his hands.
You can play the Tempting Grapes of Ravenous Torment. Get eaten. You can play the Fairy Helpers of Pan. Get eaten. You can play the Rabbit of Peasant Resistance. Get eaten. You can play the Lozenges of Nauseous Toad Entropy. Get eaten, but only for a short time. See the inside of a toad!
Waiter, I’ll have what he’s having.
Brilliant, but TQ:RC needs to have “hunting” gameplay a la Oregon Trail. Only instead of shooting deer yourself to feed your starving pioneer family, you put yourself in the line of fire. Left mouse button is for “dodge,” right is for “contemplate symbolic significance.”