|Can a man consider what it is to turn a video game into a movie and not lose his mind?|
If you were ever six years old (and most of you have been at one point), you've played the game Telephone. This is an important game that reveals to each participating child whether they are boring, deaf, or an asshole. Everyone sits in a circle, and a message is passed around the group by each kid whispering to their neighbor. The boring kids will pass the message on dutifully ("Mr. Reynolds looks like my grandpa."). The deaf kids will garble the message unintentionally ("Mr. Reynolds shook Mike's lamp. Ha!"). The asshole kids will pass on whatever they god damn feel like ("Mr. Reynolds kisses donkeys all day long!").
The same basic Telephone archetypes apply to people adapting a work of art from one medium to another. Sometimes the original vision will be preserved faithfully. Sometimes it will be somewhat distorted or marred in adapted form, despite good intentions on the part of the creative team. And sometimes the original vision will be so horribly disfigured by that process of adaptation, so mutilated beyond any bit of its former self, that you have to wonder if somebody somewhere is just having a laugh.
But I realize that a lot of times I don't appreciate how tough it is to take a story meant for a completely different form and make it work in a foreign medium. Maybe it's not that people don't get it or don't care; maybe it's just really, really hard. I feel like this is a point I don't instinctively grasp.
Which is why I came up with this exercise:
What better way to really distill what makes adapting video games difficult than forcing myself to adapt the same source material over and over? So, to better understand how challenging it is to switch a story from one medium to another, I've decided to theorize about what would happen if Super Mario Bros. was repeatedly adapted from game to movie and back again, on infinite loop.
Interested? Follow me! Frightened? Me too! Confused? You're about to be more confused!