The Devil Wears Prada game:
- A game about climbing the ladder at a fashion magazine. Lots of special event parties and lots of character customization
- A game about attempting to edit a fashion magazine successfully — including taste-setting and photoshoots and budgets and ambitious editors
- A game that teaches you that even the most frivolous-seeming of professions and activities have surprising depths; and people who passionately dive deep into the minutiae; and more, even consider it to be important to human civilization
- A game that seems to be about the prices we pay to be at the pinnacle of a profession, and about what we sacrifice; but that in the end reverses it all, and becomes about the fact that we all make a commitment to something, even if it is inactivity, or a balanced life, and that in the end, we always still sacrifice everything we chose not to do.
The Cabin In the Woods game:
- A game wherein you have to stay alive during a vacation while someone is trying to cause a horror movie around you.
- A game where you run a facility that generates fear and horror to feed an elder God. You have to put teenagers into horror movie scenarios (lots of theme-park style building game) and run them through your gauntlet, hoping to get them all killed.
- A game about rituals that hold us back from disaster, and whether the sacrifice of a few for the sake of the ritual is ethical; but that manages to also raise the question of whether the imprisonment of all-powerful and presumably advanced quasi-deities for the sake of the survival of a bunch of entities that are nowhere near as advanced is ethical either
- A game that seems to be about the construction of artworks that subvert tropes in a genre, but actually ends up being about the gleeful exercise of said tropes while knowing that it is a betrayal of the higher-minded ethos we lie to ourselves about; about the fact that by questioning the tropes we are perpetuating them through critique.
The Jiro Dreams of Sushi game:
- A game about making sushi, with lots of motion controls.
- A game about running a sushi shop, with supply chains and choices on fish quality, and the issues of when and whether to promote assistants
- A game about alienation of family due to artistic passion. Points are scored by how many family members and followers you manage to suck into your world, balanced with the artistic perfection of the pursuit. Multiple failure states: lots of followers, low quality; no followers, high quality; no followers, low quality.
- A game that seems to be about the prices we pay to be at the pinnacle of a profession, and about what we sacrifice; but that in the end reverses it all, and becomes about the fact that we all make a commitment to something, even if it is inactivity, or a balanced life, and that in the end, we always still sacrifice everything we chose not to do. Hmm, wait, we did that one already.
Your turn. Pick a movie, and post the four levels of difficulty.
I clearly needed to explain this post, based on some of the reactions I got.
Basically, these are the difficulty levels for game designers. Easy mode is the cop-out game adaptation, the easy answer. A more adventurous team might go for normal mode. But Hard and Nightmare are the regions we rarely venture to in games… some would argue because they aren’t commercial enough. But the movies mentioned all get these points across — in commercially successful content even… so why couldn’t the games?