06.04.12

Colson Whitehead explains the appeal of sci-fi b-movies. Will games ever get their Plan 9?

For Colson Whitehead, B-movies appealed because of their rarity. In the days before VHS and DVR, that time The Flesh Eaters was playing might be the only opportunity to see the film. He enjoyed A Clockwork Orange and Aliens alongside his cinema-going family. 

I didn’t draw a distinction between good movies and bad movies. For every science-fiction classic—such as “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (emissary from the Galactic U.N. warns humans about good citizenship)—that I discovered on UHF channels on bright summer days, there was a “Food of the Gods” (giant chickens rain pecking doom on a small island) that sent me twiddling the V-hold.

These days gamers have an overabundance of free games to choose from, and their motivation to play a game now is that they'll forget about it rather than that it will disappear forever. This overabundance requires players to weed through games, perhaps causing them to overlook initially unimpressive gems. When modern videogames imitate B-movies, it is often with ironic, reflexive self-consciousness rather than hilarious dead seriousness. For now, we'll have to be content with obscure SNES games and Resident Evil 4 to fill our gaming b-movie needs. 

[via the New Yorker] [img]