Watching video games: the Uncharted experiment

Those who know me well would know of my love for video games. Unfortunately this doesn’t align well with certain circumstances including but not limited to my sensitivity to motion sickness and lesser free time. But that’s where I think the future of video games will not just be about playing them, but also watching them.

Just because I don’t want to play certain games doesn’t mean I can’t experience them.

Over the past month, I’ve watched something called “Uncharted The Movie”. What it is is a video recording of someone’s complete playthrough of a Playstation-exclusive game series Uncharted 1, 2 & 3. I have heard good things about these games, but had no motivation to play them nor do I even have a PS3.

YouTube user morphinapg explains, “Considering this is the best game series I’ve ever played, and certainly the most cinematic, I decided to make them into movies.“. And he did very well.

The result is a 2-3 hour immersive movie experience for each game that I thoroughly enjoyed. And if the 144,000+ view count is to be believed, I’m not alone.

Here’s why I think watching video games is not such a crazy idea and why I would recommend it to anyone.

  • A lot of modern AAA-title video games are story-driven with a three-act structure that is no different to books or movies. The fact that modern games are heavily judged on story compels game-makers to create more interesting storytelling.
  • Modern graphics rendering capabilities combined with ever-growing budgets for game visual and audio productions has led to movie-grade character models, animations, virtual sets and even voice acting.
  • Cutscenes and quick-time events, especially in adventure games, were always cinematic experiences in small chunks. The uncanny valley between formerly pre-rendered cutscenes, in-game cutscenes and real gameplay is shrinking and it’s no longer such an obvious transition between cinematics and game.
  • Video editing is easier and more accessible. These aren’t just videos of someone’s shakycam of them playing for 20+ hours – it’s an edited and refined version of the game enough to make the story coherent.
  • Last but not least, it’s free and requires little time and resource investment. You can watch it for a few minutes to see if you like it and stop it if you don’t. You can also pause and resume on a mobile device riding public transport like I did.

If you even have the slightest itch to watch Uncharted, I’ve embedded the third movie above, but the first and second are linked respectively.

5 insightful thoughts

  1. This is exactly why the idea of the game “L.A. Noire” intrigued me so much. It’s the first new game I’ve played in a couple of years, and as usual, Rockstar (& Team Bondi) did an amazing job. The technology used to create it (they used real actors’ faces) is stunning. I’d highly recommend it for this sort of experience.

  2. There are already games that has the same function as sport, I’m thinking of Starcraft II and League of Legends, personally I’m a huge fan of SC2, so I wouldn’t be surpriced if we’ll get the same for non-sport entertainment aswell. Minecraft seems to be a good option here with people like the Yogscast creating some vert entertaining stories.

  3. I watch my husband play video games all of the time. We keep a couch in the office and I’ll play with the baby or crochet while he games. That’s how I watched Oblivion and Morrowind and Skyrim. So it makes sense that we should just watch through playthroughs–especially when we’re sick and we need to burrow down with some chicken soup and a blanket and some video game action.

  4. Hello, I have been wanting a online game but really don’t have the bucks :(. I was thinking if there ended up any website pages or suppliers the would allow for me to trade an individual video game for an extra.
    The games I’m seeking to trade Lifeless Soaring two for Uncharted two.
    Also I was questioning if there ended up any webs had been I could check out films and get details for watching them and preserve up for video video games? ( I heard this from my dad’s woman mates older brother.)
    If there is could you show my he backlink? Also I heard you need an invite? If someone is a consumer, Remember to, invite me!
    Thanks!

Leave a Reply