Game Idea #48

The Final Cut

In The Final Cut, you play an actor who is performing on a film set. Your goal is to deliver the required acting performances in as little “takes” as possible. If you forget the script for the particular scene or perform bad for any other reason, the director asks you to perform again, so long until he gets the shot he desires. Unless you perform in all scenes as is being demanded of you, the film remains incomplete.

The game ends when a) the crew runs out of raw film, b) the shooting schedule is violated (there is a limited number of shots that can be made per day), or c) when all scenes are completed within time and raw film constraints.

Your acting performance will be evaluated based on a “cutting ratio”, that is, the amount of shots you wasted with your bad performances compared to the minimum number of shots that were required to complete the film.

The interesting thing about The Final Cut as a game is that it points out the similarities between film-making and successfully completing a sequence of actions in a game. Whereas in a game like Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, failure sends us back to the previous save point until we succeed; upon failure in a film shooting, the director asks us to perform again, until he gets what he wants. This makes me think that we can liken the repetitious gameplay in certain games to the shooting action on a film set.

One thing that is highlighted through this, is the wrong idea of many game scholars in regard to the “linearity” of movies. It becomes apparent that it takes a lot of effort from a film crew to achieve what game scholars criticize as linearity. During shooting, the film is as undecided as a game. The second thing that is highlighted is the opposite: that games may look quite undecided, but that in a lot of them, we re-play in order to make possible (cut together) an “ideal story”. To me this is an important blurring of lines which renders the divide between games and narratives ineffective.

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