Video Games & Television: Closer Than Ever

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Video Games & Television: Closer Than Ever

It wasn't so long ago we were all looking at the connection between "Defiance" the video game and television show with something like concern. After all, we knew that video game conversions of movies didn't work out so great, and the converse was just as sadly true. But there's been something of a push on of late, and it comes by combining a couple news stories together to get what may be a trend.

First, there's word of the new trailer for "Dead Rising: Watchtower," a movie that will be available for viewing on Crackle, Sony's generally lesser-known streaming video service, starting March 27. Featuring Jesse Metcalfe, Dennis Haysbert--otherwise known as "that guy with the voice from the insurance commercials"--and even Rob Riggle, this one focuses on what looks like an area where Zombrex suddenly stops working. If you remember your earlier Dead Rising plots, the idea that Phenotrans might actually send dummy Zombrex units out to fire up a little apocalypse seems perfectly rational. Featuring a military overreaction par excellence, humans trapped in a quarantine zone, and of course, psychopaths, everything about "Dead Rising: Watchtower" looks exactly like you'd expect a Dead Rising installment to look. And personally, gets me all drooly over the thought of "Dead Rising 4" when and if it ever shows up.

Better yet, Sony actually released its first original series for a TV series: "Powers." Essentially a superhero cop series--which actually isn't too far off from what we normally get with this sort of thing. But as a report from the LA Times suggests, television and video games are starting to mesh. Start with the inevitable conversions from one genre to the next, and then the odd intermingling--events in the "Defiance" game decided plot points in the series--and you see a pattern show up. Add to it the increasing number of episodic games that are starting to resemble television series, like "The Walking Dead"  and the Telltale lineup.

So what does this mean? Well, frankly, it was kind of inevitable. Let's face it; video games and television shows are a closely related market. We generally interact with both platforms in the same places--either in our living rooms or while we're out on the road--so seeing the two separate elements start to draw together in some ways only makes sense. This isn't inherently a bad thing, and in some ways, it's actually quite good. Studios are taking a few chances and showing us something new and different, which is exciting in its own right. We may see some stuff we'd rather not, but then, we might well see some particularly exciting new things. This could have some great ramifications for television in general--think about ad-free television you interact with, and how engaged you'd be in such a process. Replace the advertising with product placement deals--let logos show up throughout the narrative--and you'd get all the necessary aspects for an art form to carry on.

Only time will tell just what form all this takes on, but we're seeing a lot more intersection between video games and television. That's a point that will likely be both great and terrible by degrees, but the end result is likely to be that we'll see something very different before it's all said and done.

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