Licensed to shill: How video and computer games tarnished the silver screen
AuthorRuggill, Judd E.
AdvisorDeming, Caren J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation outlines the material and aesthetic origins of the game film in order to show how video and computer games are altering film's role in the media economy specifically, and the form and function of the mass media more generally. I argue that game cinematization is emblematic of the culture industries' (1) new economic practices and (2) aesthetic and technological convergence. Chapter One introduces the dissertation and offers a precis of the history of film-based licensing in the U.S. In the chapter, I suggest that one of the primary functions of American commercial film is to brand and sell consumer goods, and that understanding the origins of this licensing function is crucial to understanding how games are redefining it. Chapter Two provides a political economy of the institutional and industrial factors that made the game film possible, focusing specifically on a sea change in game business during the late 1980s, and the joint Congressional hearings on game violence in the early 1990s. Chapter Three complements Chapter Two's historical materialist analysis with a textual one, analyzing why game films seem to draw primarily from a single genre--the fighting game. The fighting game's ability to facilitate "safe looking," along with the ways fighting games embody the very essence of genre, have helped ease the transformation of game content into film content. Chapter Four revisits Chapters Two and Three in order to show how the material and aesthetic forces that birthed the game film are among the most influential forces affecting film today. The chapter analyzes the evolution of media makers' attempts to explore and exploit the game medium, and describes the ways games have begun to reshape film business, production, and aesthetics.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies