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Published On: Thu, Sep 7th, 2017

Dunkirk: Hideo Kojima on War in Video Games and Movies

For an estimated 120 years of development, movies have become a central part of entertainment. For the gaming industry, it is a much shorter lifespan at an estimated 59 years. As I have stated writing my essay, there is a central theme of violence, when it comes to most of the games and the movies, most of which borrow from each other in a back and forth embroidered relationship, defeating the enemy. This is one of the most common themes in the movies and the games where the key characters are always trying to beat their enemies to the final minute. However, there is a flipside to this violence, where the characters, through the storylines are focused on using every arsenal in their path to beat their enemies. This is an approach that is used in the most recent movie, Dunkirk. It is also an approach that closely relates to the way that I have designed my work in the game series Metal Gear.

The movie is a perfect example of what the industry has been missing, lack of focus on violence as a way of defeating the enemy. For most of the part, the director focused on escaping. This is a new experience even for the audience. One of the aspects that are quite interesting is the fact that this is a war movie where the audience does not even see the German soldiers that the British were fighting. The director turns the focus on its head and the entire movie simply focuses on the escaping from the enemy soldiers. For most of the movies that are about the war, it is common that the audience is going to interact with gory scenes, where the army and their adversaries kill each other using all manner of tactics, legal or otherwise. The image of the war that is portrayed in the movies is mostly what has been the norm, rape, murder, hunger, and disillusionment. In the case of Dunkirk, the movie is full of suspense and not many details that are given about the soldiers.

Using a three pronged approach, the director is able to bring out the escape plans from the land, sea and the air. The British soldiers are trying to escape from the Germans’ attacks.  This is a different approach, where victory at war does not come with the fighting the enemy, rather it comes from the plans to evacuate the soldiers from the warring zones. The element of having to fight is taken away from the platform and the heroes of the war are those that are evacuated right before the war escalates. It is a war tactic, which is used by the British in the movie where they tend to confuse the Germans and even the audience. While most of the audience and the Germans are expecting a resistance that involves armed conflict, the British escape from the warring areas.  This is quite a contradictory from what the audience is used to; armies fighting their way through the frontlines until they are able to beat the enemy and overrun their defenses. This has been considered victory for most of the movies.  

The Metal Gear is set on the premise that, it uses limited graphical capabilities of the computers. This is relative to the fact that most of the computers at the time of the game release did not have the capabilities today’s computers have. As such, there was a need to reduce the element of graphical intensity and demand on the systems. To achieve this, I had to make sure that, I avoided the scenes where there was direct fighting.

As such most of the time, the characters are supposed to be looking for ways to sneak past the enemies rather than engage them in combat. This design allowed for the players to experience the game in a different manner as they now had to take the choice of maintaining their cover, other than facing the enemy head on. This is a rather deep experience and one that allows better interaction with the environment, other than the normal way where characters shoot their way through the enemy frontlines.

In a way, this was revolutionary relative to the fact that, the players now had the ability to interact with a much richer environment. Ideally, most of the games that involve more action, also meant that the players had to work with flimsy figures with very little detail when it came to the graphics and the story lines. This is relative to the fact that, the story is based on the need for competition and as such, much of the other details that may require the player to stop and think through other strategies are blinded.

All the players need to figure out is how to beat the opponent to complete the mission that is in the game. As such, they are not as involving as a game where one has to plan an escape. Like Dunkirk, the game is designed in a manner that it creates suspense and an entirely different experience for the player.

Author: Anastasia Kotsiubynska

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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