How Not To Play Games On TV, From Someone Who's Been There

Uncool

Power Member
Aug 27, 2006
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#1


Tell an actor to play the part of a butcher and what you see on screen will be a butcher, chopping slabs of meat as if he's done so his entire life. But put a real butcher in front of a camera and what happens? He turns into a bad actor.
Good actors excel in their ability to perform tasks with which they are unfamiliar and portray the action in a believable manner as if it's second nature.

Oh, except for when they have to play video games.
I've seen it a thousand times. You hand a controller to an actor and tell them to pretend to play, oh I don't know, Quest 64. Before long they are hunched over, rocking the controller side-to-side like a Wii steering wheel and button-mashing wildly while biting their lower lip with intensity. This is, of course, absurd, since we all know if they were really playing Quest 64, they would be flipping over tables and punching through walls in a profanity-laden fanfare. (Been there!) Why? Why do TV actors turn into overly determined buffoons when pretending to play video games?

The Big Bang Theory is a long overdue comedy series about extreme geek and gaming culture. However, the characters, who so convincingly represent socially awkward uber-nerdom, seem to have an extremely hard time pretending to play video games. For example, in an episode where the boys gathered to play Halo 3, each recklessly pressed every button on their controller as quickly as possible before proclaiming their victory with something like, "Take that, suckers!" But that's not how you play Halo at all. If you recorded someone utilizing correct Halo 3 controls and then compared it to the actors on the show playing the same game, the result would be night and day.

Some would argue that it's because most actors are unfamiliar with gaming and are therefore unsure of how to portray a "gamer." But that's what actors do. It's their job to become a different person and accurately simulate their activities and occupation. I'm sure that a high percentage of loyal BBT viewers are also avid gamers, so isn't showing them such a poor representation of a gamer almost… insulting?
Okay, maybe not insulting. Maybe disappointing, since The Big Bang Theory certainly isn't the first or last program to show gamers as maniacal, screeching monkeys. Perhaps it wouldn't be such an outlandish idea to have the actors test out the games before acting the part as character research. Gaming is so mainstream these days that gamers deserve that level of authenticity.



Commercials for video games are even more inaccurate. While pretending to play a game on a blank TV without "over acting" is admittedly difficult, I've experienced the opposite, which also turned out to be difficult.
I did a series of commercials for Raving Rabbids TV Party, and it was a rare instance when my castmates and I actually did play the mini-games during each scene. Our controllers were on, the game was running, and the Ubisoft representative set up the levels before each take.
This should've made "pretending to game" easy since we were really playing, right?

NOPE. I got so into playing and kicking the butts of my castmates that I didn't look excited enough. I'd hear off-camera: "More jumping around!" and "Flail your arms more!"
See, the director didn't care that I was concentrating and looking like a real gamer. He cared that I was showing home viewers that this was the single most exciting moment of my young adult life.



What do I think is the most accurate depiction of gaming on television? Simple: GameFly commercials. They capture the true essence of an angry gamer and then take it to a level that turns it into comedy. Screaming, crying, and throwing things out windows… It's like I'm playing Quest 64 all over again.
http://kotaku.com/5517821/how-not-to-play-games-on-tv-from-someone-whos-been-there

Its somewhat of an old article but highly debatable as how media in terms of commercials and some of your favorite shows depict gamers as such.
 

jinsoo

Superior Member
Feb 22, 2009
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#2
I agree with the first part about actors portraying video games but disagree with the second part about video games in commercials. Have you ever just watched someone play a video game? I mean the person and not the game on the TV itself. It's boring. How are you supposed to sell a game like Raving Rabbids which is known for its insanely fun game play by showing a guy sitting on a couch focused like a Zen Buddhist? Commercials are supposed to be over the top so that it's clear to the viewer what you're supposed to get out of it. No one really sighs loudly with their mouth open and has a mini orgasm after taking a sip of Coke but that's how it's portrayed whenever they drink it in a commercial. I have never once smiled or laughed after taking a bite out of a Big Mac but those people in the commercials are acting like there's more than ketchup and mayo in that special sauce.
 

mickice

Ultimate Veteran
Oct 8, 2006
22,326
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Australia, In a Kangaroo's pouch.
#4
Clearly their not really playing the games. I've seen the boys play quite a few games on The Big Bang Theory over time and their all wildly unrealistic compared to your average laid back gamer who is generally quite calm and precise about his or her movements and button presses.

If the actors played it like this, I think it'd be rather boring to watch.

Also Kaley Cuoco is hawt.
 

squirrelbo1

young rich and tasteless
Jul 27, 2008
18,364
100
63
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London
#5
[QUOTE="mickice, post: 0]Clearly their not really playing the games. I've seen the boys play quite a few games on The Big Bang Theory over time and their all wildly unrealistic compared to your average laid back gamer who is generally quite calm and precise about his or her movements and button presses.

If the actors played it like this, I think it'd be rather boring to watch.

Also Kaley Cuoco is hawt.[/quote]

this post is soo very very true, on all 3 points. especially the last one :snicker

but i do agree they look unrealistic when playing games, but meh.
 

Danny2304

Master Poster
Feb 13, 2008
3,336
7
38
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Liverpool, England
#7
It's always annoyed me this :lol:

They're playing FIFA on role models and they're bashing every button on the controller then when it goes to the screen to show a goal it's clearly a replay and they're acting like it's just happening. FML :lol:
 

Nocturne

Apprentice
Aug 18, 2006
341
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#8
[QUOTE="mickice, post: 0]
If the actors played it like this, I think it'd be rather boring to watch.
[/quote]

That's pretty much the issue. I saw the Big Bang Theory episodes where they were playing Halo and if they had played like normal gamers the scenes would have failed.

For me it's enough that they are accurate with their physics. I'm prepared to let them use a little artistic license with their gaming scenes.
 

Tyrien

I'm a real boy!
Jul 8, 2007
12,496
110
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#9
[QUOTE="jinsoo, post: 0]I agree with the first part about actors portraying video games but disagree with the second part about video games in commercials. Have you ever just watched someone play a video game? I mean the person and not the game on the TV itself. It's boring. How are you supposed to sell a game like Raving Rabbids which is known for its insanely fun game play by showing a guy sitting on a couch focused like a Zen Buddhist? Commercials are supposed to be over the top so that it's clear to the viewer what you're supposed to get out of it. No one really sighs loudly with their mouth open and has a mini orgasm after taking a sip of Coke but that's how it's portrayed whenever they drink it in a commercial. I have never once smiled or laughed after taking a bite out of a Big Mac but those people in the commercials are acting like there's more than ketchup and mayo in that special sauce.[/quote]

The answer is simple. You don't show someone playing the video game in question. Why? It's ambiguous.

Show the game, highlight the features, and benefits.
 

jinsoo

Superior Member
Feb 22, 2009
787
5
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#10
[QUOTE="Tyrien, post: 0]The answer is simple. You don't show someone playing the video game in question. Why? It's ambiguous.

Show the game, highlight the features, and benefits.[/quote]

But that IS the benefit. Especially for a game like Raving Rabbids. Having buttloads of fun is the whole point of getting this game. And flailing your arms wildly while shouting gets that point across a lot clearer than a guy sitting on a couch staring at the TV with a slack jaw.
 
H

helpmeoprah

Guest
#12
[QUOTE="jinsoo, post: 0]I agree with the first part about actors portraying video games but disagree with the second part about video games in commercials. Have you ever just watched someone play a video game? I mean the person and not the game on the TV itself. It's boring. How are you supposed to sell a game like Raving Rabbids which is known for its insanely fun game play by showing a guy sitting on a couch focused like a Zen Buddhist? Commercials are supposed to be over the top so that it's clear to the viewer what you're supposed to get out of it. No one really sighs loudly with their mouth open and has a mini orgasm after taking a sip of Coke but that's how it's portrayed whenever they drink it in a commercial. I have never once smiled or laughed after taking a bite out of a Big Mac but those people in the commercials are acting like there's more than ketchup and mayo in that special sauce.[/quote]


whats this guy talking about i always *** in my pants alittle after biting into a big mac!