In the latest series of Five In Focus articles we ask a group of computer game designers to list the movies that have influenced them most in their work.
At 5 years old, I experienced Metropolis in the pre-VCR ‘70s, on Super-8 borrowed from a public library. Its Early Modern version of the future, a tale of biblical proportions shot with unflinching invention, has haunted me ever since.
The Muppet Movie
Jim Henson not only invented a new cultural form (the marionette/puppetry hybrid “Muppets”) but he pursued an aggressively Brechtian sensibility – if you don’t remember how outrageously metatextual it is, see the film again! At 10 years old, I cried for hours after experiencing The Muppet Movie’s sublime de- and re-mystification.
A Clockwork Orange
A high school favorite, I loved how this scandalously taboo film toys with the viewer. You loathe Kubrick’s amoral Alex, only to pity him when the state remaps his psyche, but then question your own sympathy when his true nature rises again. That degree of emotional interactivity tickles my game designer’s fancy.
Le Mystère Picasso
This little-known documentary consists primarily of Picasso rapidly painting canvases in real-time. When I saw it as an art student, the raw voyeurism of Picasso’s process was transfixing: as in a game, choice layered on choice begets meaning.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Every game designer is a closet structuralist, and this film unfolds like a mechanistic symphony. Perverse moral fable + sumptuous aesthetics = fabulous viewing.