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Column: Cinema Pixeldiso

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Gamers

January 5, 2007 6:01 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that takes a look at movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with a focus on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week’s selection is an independent feature that examines the lives of a couple of role-playing geeks.]

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/gamersthemovie1.jpg

Previously on Cinema Pixeldiso, we examined the tale of a player who achieved greatness due to his dedication to the game, and by complete surprise. This time it's five players, just as dedicated, and who actually seek greatness, in the movie Gamers.

Also, this particular entry is a bit different from our previous ones. The focus isn't on video games, but RPG, the pen and paper types. But since players from both camps share much in common, we figured it was worth the spotlight. Plus it's another independent movie, and those always deserve the extra attention, and its a straight-forward comedy, so the laughs its gets are supposed to be intentional. Though whether it gets all the laughs it aspires to generate is an entirely subjective manner...

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – The Last Starfighter

December 23, 2006 10:36 AM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that takes a look at movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with a focus on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week’s selection is another gem from the 80s, one that's sure to appeal to any shmups aficionado...]

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/laststarfighter1.jpg

Last week we looked at Tron, which featured a person forced to tap at his prowess at the arcade in a scenario that mirrors a video game, except its "for real". Pretty much the same thing here, plus its also from the 80s, and another cult classic of sorts. It's...

The Last Starfighter

Let's just dive head-first into the plot.

The film immediately opens up in a dusty old trailer park in the middle of Nowheresville. Among the assorted wacky elderly residents is young, able-bodied and free spirited Alex, who's basically Luke Skywalker: dreams of something better, primarily a chance of scenery, maybe some adventure, but is stuck where he is, forced to waste his time and talents. But when opportunity finally comes knocking...

After yet another day in which hanging with friends (and girlfriend) must take a back seat to fixing stuff around the park, Alex decides to blow some steam with yet another game of Starflighter, a sci-fi dog-fight shoot 'em up (or more commonly known by the kids today as a "shmup"). And like virtually every other video game portrayed in a movie, the graphics are unbelievably great.

Alex is pretty good at the game, but tonight, he's extra good, and once it appears that he's about to shatter the record, everyone in the park gets all excited and decides to see history happen. Though once again, virtually everyone in the park are all old people, and even though everyone reading this is perhaps an avid gamer, one has to wonder if any of us will truly give a damn about a video games, at least enough to get really excited, when we're all in our late seventies and wearing adult diapers.

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Tron

December 8, 2006 9:08 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week looks a true classic in every sense of the word...]

Last time we looked at two films that asked what would happen if video game characters came into our world. Well this time, the opposite takes place...

TRON

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/tron1.jpg

Tron is quite simply the grand daddy of all video game movies. It was the very first film to feature video games in any capacity whatsoever, but more importantly, it came at a time when the general public had no idea what video games were about; the medium was still in its infancy at the time, and that made a huge impact.

The abstract (translation: primitive) nature of video game concepts, along with their visuals and sounds at that point, coupled with the state of technology as a whole, in relation to people's perception of it (the idea of computers being part of everyone's day to day lives was just starting to sink into society's minds), helped to create an environment that spawned a movie like Tron, as well as allow its various messages to be so highly effective.

[Click through for more.]

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Post Halloween Horror Special (part 2 of 2) - How To Make A Monster

November 2, 2006 11:34 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This particular installment is the second of a two-part look at couple of horror films.]

Last time we checked out Stay Alive, a film that featured a video game character crossing over to the real world and going on a bloody rampage. The film itself was rather slick, with very contemporary sensibilities (meaning that it's basically The Ring with video games), but for a variety of reasons, it misses the mark. On the otherhand, tonight's film, How To Make A Monster, despite its use of very modern elements, goes for a more 'classical' film attitude, and results are quite different.

[Click through for spooooky moooooreness!]

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Halloween Horror Special (part 1 of 2) - Stay Alive

October 31, 2006 11:02 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This special Halloween edition is the first of a two part look at couple of horror films.]

It's that time of year again, Halloween, which means a couple of things: candy, costumes, and scary movies. And since this column is all about video game movies, how about a look at some scary video game movies? And there's a couple out there, like Silent Hill for example. But what about films that aren't simply scary because of the games they're based upon are also supposed to be? Well, a popular theme in most film dealing with video games that are not based upon one is the concept of video games coming alive, and asking what would happen if pixelated or polygonal character crossed over to the real world. And some filmmakers happen to find this idea "frightening"... two of which we'll be talking about, Stay Alive and How To Build A Monster.

[Click through for more Halloween scariness!]

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Super Mario Movie(s)

October 20, 2006 4:10 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week looks at two very different approaches toward the same subject matter, Super Mario Brothers.]

Previously Cinema Pixeldiso featured 8 BIT, a documentary that focused on artists who used video games as a source of inspiration, and even tools. One such individual was Cory Arcangel who takes NES cartridges and alters the information printed on them; the one example that most people are familiar with that he's most famous for is Super Mario Clouds in which all the information in a copy of Super Mario Bros was erased with the exception of the clouds, and was also featured in the documentary.

But a similar piece that wasn't highlighted was Super Mario Movie, in which Cory along with several artists hacked a SMB cart to produce a 15-minute movie using just the original assets from the game to tell a story. And what exactly is this tale? Arcangel described it as: "Mario's world [as it's] falling apart. Like Mad Max, but in 8bits."

[Click through for more on molto Marios - including handy screencaps!]

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – 8 BIT

October 5, 2006 11:51 AM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a bi-weekly column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins that spotlights movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with an emphasis on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week’s selection is a documentary that explores the world of art that has sprung forth from the medium of video games and which will have its world premiere later this weekend.]

8 BIT

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/8bit01.jpgVideo games have been around long enough that most of us can't even remember a time when they weren't. Everyone has either grown up with a 2600, NES, or whatever else machine in our homes, or at least knew someone who had one, and more than likely when we weren't playing games, each of us were talking and thinking about them well after the power was turned off. Looking back, we now have fuzzy warm memories of our favorite games and all the things relating to them, hence why video games have become a part of us, our identities, even our culture. Naturally, anything so pervasive in people's lives will become the subject of analysis and self-expression via art, and that is what 8 BIT is all about.

[Click through for more.]

COLUMN: 'Cinema Pixeldiso' – Resurrection of the Little Match Girl

September 21, 2006 1:56 PM |

['Cinema Pixeldiso' is a new column by Matt 'Fort90' Hawkins, which takes a look at movies that are either directly based upon or are related to video games, with a focus on the obscure and the misunderstood. This week’s selection hails from South Korea and was produced in 2002.]

RESURRECTION OF THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/matchgirl1.gifSo most video game movies are based on video games, right? Well here's one based on... an old Christmas story by Hans Christian Anderson?

Resurrection of the Little Match Girl tells the tale of Joo, a quiet, downtrodden regular Joe who spends his time either working a crappy Chinese food delivery job, or in the arcades playing various arcade shooters - which help fuel his fantasies of blasting away all the rude customers he has to deal with. His main aspiration is to be a pro gamer like his best buddy GG. Why? Women, naturally. In one of the film’s earliest scenes features both guys having dinner with two girls, and when GG tells the ladies about the StarCraft competition he’s set to participate in, along with all the money and fame that’ll come if he nabs the top prize, both get into an argument in the bathroom over the chance to bag him. Joo on the other hand is completely cast aside.

[Click through for more.]