While I do tend to like foreign films and independent films most, I have always had a soft spot for action films, even the gratuitously violent ones. No matter how fantastical or b-class it might be, I find myself jumping in my seat, cringing, cheering for the good guy and on occasion covering my mouth in disbelief. I am a sucker for this stuff, no doubt.
When I designed Hit Me! I was looking for inspiration — anything — with the idea in mind that I wanted to create a game that was intense and exciting — not just to play but also to watch. I went through my mental rolodex of action film memories, and stopped at Jean Claude Van Damme’s Lionheart.
I studied games such as Twister, Sumo and Fencing for inspiration too, but at the end the fight scenes from Lionheart had a big influence on the game. The circle of spectators, the performance, the spectacle of the 2 fighters fighting a bare fisted, no holds barred fight, and the raw, spontaneous setting of the abandoned parking lot where the fights took place — It had it all. These were elements that I wanted to incorporate into the look and feel of Hit Me! Here is an example:
Movies are wonderful inspirations especially for games played in the physical world, because they contain scenarios that connect space, story and characters. Also because it uses a visual language that has been understood by viewers. The latter is actually an useful tool. For example, think of all the nail biting scenarios in all of the action films you have seen over the years — there are certainly patterns we can identify — not just in story but also with the characters and the environment that is involved. These patterns can be used and recreated in the game in order to evoke the same feelings in the player and also the spectators.
So I am so excited by Jean-Claude Van Jam, because it highlights the potential of using films as inspiration for games. I can’t wait to see what parts of the films the jammers will use in their games. I hope there will be physical games too!
Jean-Claude Van Jam — August 17-19, 2012 7PM
Eyebeam Art & Technology Center (540 W 21st Street, NYC)
Sign up at http://jeanclaudevanjam.com/