Channel Zero #2: James Cameron's Ocarina of Time

by Rathe on Sunday, 6 February 2011

Personally, I don't think 3D is much of a blessing for cinema - it's far more technologically advanced and impressive than it ever has been, granted, and it has renewed some interest in film as a medium that's been dying a slow, steady death. On the other hand, I very much feel 3D sullies the purity of a film. Its application has fallen into one of two categories: films that use the clarity of its visuals, CGI and 3D as their primary selling point (Avatar, which, incidentally, I am dedicating my life to avoiding); or cynical post-production cash-ins (Clash of the Titans, for example). Either way, given the choice, Joe Public is usually going to spend a few pounds more seeing the 3D version, so regardless of why the filmmakers chose to add 3D to their film, financial reasons are always going to be at least part of it. Then again, compare and contrast to the original era of 3D movies - at least looking back it felt like they were being more honest; that they and everyone else knew it was just a cheap gimmick to draw in the crowds.

Robot Monster
But really, don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that 3D took anything away from the storytelling masterpiece that was 1953's Robot Monster. No sirree.
Basically, I don't like 3D movies. So why am I pretty excited for the 3DS? Why does it seem more...right somehow?

The reasons it's being implemented are largely the same as why Hollywood has - the technology is better these days and can allow it, and just like the original DS and the Wii, it's going to be the hot new toy for 18 months, maybe two years, until it eventually gets drowned in wave after wave of cheap, novelty shovelware and decent first and second-party releases become increasingly sparse. It's the gaming industry's equivalent of Susan Boyle.

Keith Chegwin, Cheggers Party Quiz
I have a poster of this boxart on my wall, actually. It makes me feel better whenever I hear about a particularly bad videogame, film, or natural disaster; knowing nothing else can be quite this miserably desperate.
I sat down and thought about it. 3D for a game console does not feel as forced as 3D for films. Throughout each successive generation of games, technological advancement has always been the key staple of it - from 8-bit to 16-bit; from touch-screen to motion-control, consoles have always been little gadgetry showcases in their own ways. 3D is merely yet another extension of that.

Another thing I realised was that the reason I disliked 3D films do not necessarily translate to the medium of games. I've never heard anyone clamour for a 3D remake of The Godfather, despite the fact it is generally considered one of, if not the, greatest films ever made - as cool as it may sound to see a depth-shifting 360-degree pan of Sonny getting riddled with bullets at the toll-booth, it would cheapen the experience. Great as a piece of visual splendor, but completely empty as a part the narrative.

Yet Ocarina of Time, generally considered one of, if not the, greatest videogame ever made, is going to become available within the 3DS' launch window and has the forums rabid with excitement and speculation. It's intangible - 3D feels more natural in a videogame (Virtual Boy notwithstanding). Perhaps because all the events are portrayed through computer-made characters we don't worry about the intangibles, like human actors in our favourite movies lending unique performances we can completely identify with - something games are still a long way from reaching, maybe. Even then, we'll have to wait and see - who knows what's going to be possible for storytelling in the 3DS' lifetime?

So, to finish in broadly simplistic terms, I feel infinitely more comfortable with 3D in my games than I ever will with my movies. Is that because there's less to ethically and aesthetically put at risk? Or is it just because I can turn it off  at the flick of a slider?

Leave your comment