The Color of Money

Jul 1, 2012 quarter past six pm

I watched The Color of Money last night.  Two things struck me about the film:  1) Holy crap is Tom Cruise young and 2) I really wish Paul Newman wasn't dead.

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know Martin Scorsese directed it.  He's one of my all-time favorite directors and I keep thinking I've seen every movie he's done, and then some movie pops up with his name on it.

The reason I watched The Color of Money was I had just seen The Hustler.

The scene with "Fast" Eddie playing Fats is simply amazing.  It's goes on and on and you're feeling the exhaustion Eddie must feel.  Then Jackie Gleason gets up, goes into the restroom, freshens up, puts his coat back on and comes out for more.  A new man.  My heart sank with Eddie's.

It's hard to imagine a scene that long in a modern film.  Movie audiences need things to go go go.  It feels like we've lost the ability to sit back and enjoy something that slowly unfolds.  Really slowly unfolds.  Sometimes that's important.  A few quick cuts and we could have been told "Fast" Eddie was tried, but we needed to feel it with him.

People said Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a slow movie in the mold of 70's thrillers.  True, it was slow by today's standards, but still felt like it moved along.  Try going back and watching The French Connection.  That's a slow movie, but it doesn't suffer one bit as a result.

Adventure games are slow affairs.  I worry few modern gamers have the patience for them anymore.  Today, if someone spends more than 5 minutes trying to figure a puzzle out, they wonder where the pop-up hint is?  They become anxious.  Go go go.  Good puzzles are meant to be chewed on for a while.  Thought about.  Mulled over.  Put aside.  Then spontaneously come rushing back as our subconscious figures it out.

A good adventure puzzle never leaves you wondering what to do, only how to do it.

Other people's comments:

Posted by James on Jul 2, 2012 twenty five to seven am

Well I agree, and I would love to still be able to play a really slowly unfolding game, but at the same time the older I get the more impatient I seem to be getting. In my youth I could spend hours playing games, and I didn't care if I was progressing or not, these days I get an hour of game-time and I don't know what to do with my self, I wanna play 6 different games and only seem to have the concentration to play 10min of each.

Maybe I've been conditioned by the gaming industry, as I still enjoy painfully slow movies, games just seem to be different.

Posted by Marshall on Jul 3, 2012 twenty to eleven am

I fully agree with your comment.  For me, I used to have unlimited hours a day to play games when I was a kid.  Now that I'm 35, I'm lucky if I have 15 minutes a day... As a result, it's tough for a game to grab me.

I would love to be able to spend hours trying to figure out puzzles, but I have to go go go in the game, otherwise I'm going to throw away those 15 minutes I have, and not get anything accomplished.  Once that's happened, I find that I rarely go back to it.

That's one of the reasons I find myself being glad that games aren't 40+ hour affairs like they used to be.  Four or five hours is, for me, a perfect length for a game.  Also, I hate to say it, but I'm glad that they hold your hand more than they used to in the old days (please don't hate me :) ).

I guess I can sum it up by saying that I like when games are more about adventuring and experiencing the story, instead of being stuck chewing on puzzles.  One of the best games that I've played in recent memory is Sword & Sworcery for that reason.  It had a fantastic atmosphere, presentation, story, and didn't leave you stuck at any point.  It let you sit back and enjoy the experience in short increments.

Posted by Noah Falstein on Jul 2, 2012 ten am

Ron, I think you probably say something worthwhile here but I was too impatient to read past the first few sentences.

Posted by D'Skaarj on Jul 2, 2012 half past four pm

The movie industry in tandem with the gaming industry has become like the fast food industry.  If you view the marketing models and the addictive properties all these factions use to garner audience and donations to their service the instagraphic representation is going to layer it closely.

It's a simple human behaviour it seems, like learning and creation, maybe designers need to take longer in developing their product; slave over the stove and pour ingenuity like no tradesman has ever done.

As a narrative tool, apprehension is a tough cookie to bake well.

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Jul 3, 2012 five to eleven am

Yeah, a couple people have pointed out that they don't have time anymore for long games and I can completely related to that.  I play more games on my iPhone that I do on my Mac or XBox for that very reason, but I still enjoy games that take their time and don't assume everyone has ADD.

For me, tutorials are one thing that really bug me about modern games.  It feels like they are rushing me into the game when I want to take my time and figure the game out for myself.  I realize I am in the minority with this view.

Posted by brawsome on Jul 3, 2012 half past eight pm

Getting figures on how big that minority you're a part on would be very interesting indeed. Maybe there's enough people in this minority that could be served by a micro-studio.

I would love to say I'm part of that minority too, but doing the indie game developer thing 10+ hours a day, then having the rest of the time taken up by my young family gives me scant little time to play games, let alone exercise, read, see friends, watch a movie etc...

I think you CAN cater to both audiences though, with "difficulty" settings in games akin to what you were doing with Monkey-Lite in Monkey 2, if you build it in from the start. Call it "ADD" mode, if you like. One mode can have tutorials and hints aplenty, or maybe faster timers on the tutorial information becoming apparent, and the other mode could offer no such help (or slower timers). Being able to switch difficulty during the game would be an important feature to have too.

I find I enjoy playing old adventure games as an adult, because I remember what I have to do, and I get enjoyment from the dialog, art, and music, similar to an old movie or tv show I enjoyed. But as a kid I enjoyed taking a long time to chew over those challenging puzzles, taking weeks to get past some sections (post-internet!). Maybe there's an opportunity to allow people to play through the game once on easy mode, then play through again on hard mode, and try to remember how to get past sections, so they can enjoy the experience, with less stress. At the very least I figure all games should have a built-in hint book present, because why would you want someone leaving your game to find the answers?

Posted by William Johnson on Jul 3, 2012 twenty past ten pm

I think you might be surprised at how very ignored and starved for content that minority that you belong to, is.

So, I just bought Analogue: A Hate Story, and beat the crap out of it. Now I do not recommend it for everyone. On top of being a very niche genre, visual novels, its also very deeply disturbing on so many levels. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, its a very slow game. And how slow it is, it really adds to the experience.

I don't want a quick and throw away game. I want an experience. And I honestly think a lot of people do.

Just as a bit of circumstantial evidence, the retail space for games is shrinking, rapidly. A lot of people like to use used games or digital distribution as scapegoats. Me, I think its a combination of anti-consumer policies (ie DRM, online passes, and pay wall DLC) and poor game design. By poor game design, i mean developers are not exploring their game mechanics enough or telling an interesting enough narrative, or both.

Also, to be clear, Mr. Gilbert, I don't think you design poor games. I think there is a reason why a game like Pajama Sam was able to turn James Paul Gee in to an advocate of video games as a new form of literature.

Posted by Anonymous on Jul 4, 2012 twenty past one am

This is the reason why action movies are hopeless for me.

Sometimes they have up to 5 cuts per second for extended periods of time. It's ridiculous.

Posted by Paul Du Bois on Jul 4, 2012 two am

People thought Tinker Tailor: The Motion Picture was slow?! I thought it moved so fast it was almost incomprehensible, especially compared to the (admittedly sedate) miniseries.

Posted by Mo on Jul 4, 2012 quarter past three am

Fez is a relaxing, slow-paced game where the exploration delights, and the puzzles follow you around well after you've turned off the Xbox.

Or as the comment section on every game website describe it: "nothing happens in the game!"

Posted by tom jones on Jul 4, 2012 twenty five past eleven am

i'm rewatching Buffy with my girlfriend, and i'm surprised how long they took to set things up. Oz is introduced in the first episode of the second season, but he and Willow don't kiss until 15 episodes later.

today, something like that wouldn't happen, even on TV where they have all the time in the world to kill. the only modern thing that comes close is The Game of Thrones where things are often foreshadowed several episodes in advance, but that's probably just because they are following books closely..

Posted by Someone on Jul 5, 2012 ten past two pm

I'm not so sure about that.  Have you tried watching Mad Men?  I just started the 3rd season, and the first two seasons have to be the slowest-moving show on tv.  Good, but slow.

Posted by chaco on Jul 4, 2012 twenty five past one pm

i remember roaming the Tri-Island Area for almost 2 years and a half in my youth and loved every minute of it. i wish there was a forget pill so i can roam it again with the same curiosity. but i dont know,  this is another time, theres an interesting concept that red letter media talks about in their star trek 2009 review wich is the bluring effect on modern pop culture. From a market point of view we all are ADD.

Posted by Kiko on Jul 5, 2012 twenty five past five am

Ron, little OT, I really like the new style of the site.
Small but elegant change.

And your answer about Monkey 3 on IGN, right now, has a great momentum everywhere on the web.
Ron, why publisher (i.e. LucasArts: the worst videogame company of this gen) are so blind?

Posted by basto on Jul 6, 2012 half past four am

I read that, too.

Ron assumes Lucas won't give up on the IP, because they don't need money and they never do.
Ron, ask them for a price^^, there are not many who can ask that, but maybe you can. If it is 30 Million, a kickstart for something like MI might be possible.

Posted by David T. Marchand on Jul 6, 2012 ten past six pm

Ron already asked! Here's your handy evidence.

Posted by basto on Jul 9, 2012 ten to three am

Thank you very much!

I think 10M should be doable via kickstarter.

Posted by Louis on Jul 8, 2012 twenty five to three am

I agree so much. I love "old" films to the point where I don't even realize they're old : they're about the only films I like to think about. I'm irritated almost everytime I go to the cinema today, with pointless camera movements and camera cuts. It's not as much a question of speed as it is a question of purpose : things must happen with purpose, not for so-called "style".

I also find a lot of players turn down the sound and listen to their own music when they play ; that would be unconceivable with a game like MI2 : the music is part of what makes the game so enjoyable - you're in that world.

Well, what you say is true with music as well I'm afraid. Most people stopped listenning to good music because it requires too much attention. They can't sit back and listen, it has to have drums all over the place !

Fortunately we can still count on people like you to provide us with great entertainment and art :)

Posted by viebrix on Jul 8, 2012 twenty five to five am

Last month I have seen an old tv-movie called "Welt am Draht" (World on wire) which was directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973.
The movie is based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye. It's a two-part miniseries. During the movie I thought I can't watch it till the end - because it was extremly slow. But the idea was very fascinating so I watched it till the end. It's an similar topic as matrix is, but it was written 35 years before...
The story world on wire is telling you in very long dialogs in more than 200 minutes something which will be told in modern films only with few words and thousands of action scenes.

So "World on wire" vs. "Matrix" is a extrem example of different possibilities to tell you a story...

I'm not sure if it's possible to turn back time because people often do not have the peace of mind... to concentrate ...
on the otherside.. why people (me included) still reading books... why every day in the tube I can see people reading books and loving to be enchanted by a story in a slow way...

Posted by lemonhead on Jul 9, 2012 quarter to two pm

For me playing games is mostly about:

1. Story.
2. Game-play that enhance the story.

To achieve 2, I need to it properly. No rushing. No cheating. No tutorials. If possible exploring everything methodically. I think it is partly the feeling of achievement, something you work for is worth more, and partly that the game-play is part of the story and my playing style is my way of pushing myself into the story.

Posted by Mike McP on Jul 18, 2012 eight pm

I remember playing Zak McKracken with my buddy over an entire summer.  I'd ride over to his house after school on my bike, go back for dinner, then head out again after I ate to try again.  This went on for WEEKS.  I spent most of my dinners trying to solve puzzles in my head, putting different inventory items together, etc.

My kids struggled with the 'bad' graphics of my old favorites, but the Lucas special editions were a hit.  We played Monkey Island every night until we beat it, and it was great because I still remembered a few solutions.

On a tangent, but none of us enjoyed the new Monkey Island series.  Too many cut scenes where you just sat their silently as they dragged on...

Posted by alerafaela on Aug 11, 2012 twenty past seven am

I dreamed the solution a couple of times...

Posted by Gary MulQueen on Nov 22, 2012 five am

Immersion and a Quick Fix.

We need both to be available. When I was young there was Pong, and there was D&D. There was Cinema and there was the Television... There were Books and there were Comics.

I don't see many people going to libraries to search for and read thereby creating and enhancing their own internal knowledge bank. I see many people pick up their research from Wikipedia and commit to their short term memory store, then move on...

Cinema Adverts are speed reeled second long clips tied together and flashed at us ending with a grin or an explosion... The actual film itself is now approaching this.

Vehicles of immersion are disappearing...

Immersion and a Quick Fix.

We need both...


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