One of Press Play’s favorite video essayists, film scholar Matthias “Chaos Cinema” Stork, recently unveiled an exciting new video on UCLA’s film studies website Mediascape. The video, “Transmedia Synergies: Remediating Films and Video Games,” is an eye-opening look at the evolving relationship between movies and video games, and how each is influencing the other to create what Stork terms a “transmedia aesthetic.” As popular and pervasive as “Chaos Cinema” is, I think this is an even better video in terms of what it explores as well as how.
Stork’s video gets into pretty brainy territory by touching on numerous concepts circulating in contemporary visual media culture, but the observations and theories are made coherent, palpable, and yes, even fun, through his brilliant use of the video essay form. We get to dive through an arresting array of images from cinematic video games like Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, as well as video game-like movies such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Matrix and The Amazing Spiderman. Stork makes inspired use of this rich image bank: split-screens to compare similar elements between video games and movies, and a playful, game-like progression through each phase of his thesis. The clever use of gaming icons, video game fonts and sound effects suggest a video essay version of Super Mario Brothers.
This is essential viewing for anyone who wants to see what elements are driving the evolution of our entertainment. Just press play!
– Kevin B. Lee
Stork’s own introduction to his video can be found at Mediascape.
Matthias Stork is currently an M.A. student in the Cinema and Media Studies program at UCLA. He is interested in the intersections of cinema and digital media, especially the synergies between films and video games, the aesthetics of neo-spectacle, and video essays as emergent forms of film criticism and scholarship. You can see his video essay experiments at http://vimeo.com/cineessais.