Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DocuGame - Where Gaming and Movies May Evolve

David Dufresne is not your typical documentary director. While working on his recent release Fort McMoney, about a booming oil town in Canada called Fort McMurry, he found the story more compelling when he approached it from a gaming angle. Thus, the docugame game to life, a hybrid of documentary and video game. The interactive document is not new, and has moderate success, allowing users to select scenes and interviews as they go. But the gaming component was never really there. Dufresne wants to change that with “McMoney.”

His team created an interactive landscape of “a very complicated world, a very secret world, a city of complexities.”

Maybe not the best description, but at least they’re trying. The idea behind the game is to get the viewers/players more involved in the lives of the people. Early on you interview residents of the town, the oil tycoons, and through their responses can make decisions that affect the future of the land. It’s very much Sim City meets social politics. It’s a game meant to compliment the narrative and spur people to think, react, and become involved.

This is the type of research that I have been focusing on over the past few years with my studies. I love the merging of game and movies into one. Not movies based on video games or vice-versa, but borrowing components from each medium that can coexist in the same space without diverting attention. I want more interactivity in movies, just as I want more dynamic character development in video games. We’re all yearning for more gameplay in our films, and we’re seeing it more often with films like The Hunger Games. Not the literal concept of a game within a movie, but the nature of the film drawing in the audience to participate in the event. Baby steps people. It’ll be a while until we see full immersion of movies with the gaming world, but documentaries like McMoney are just the beginning. The documentary is being released over a series of 4 to 5 videos and games (all free) and can be found on iTunes.

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