Saturday, November 26, 2011

It Loses Something in the Translation

Although I'm not much of a gamer anymore, I still occasionally flip through video game magazines such as Nintendo Power or Game Informer when I get the chance.  Since I used to be a big-time Nintendo fan, reading about the latest Mario or Zelda adventure, even if I have no intention of playing it, is very similar to an update from a friend I haven't heard from or seen in years.  Anyway, several months ago, one issue of Game Informer I got my hands on had a full-page ad for a Wii game based on the movie Beastly.  Those of you who have seen or heard about the aforementioned flick probably immediately realized that such a film wouldn't make for much of a video game, and I felt the same way when I saw it.  Still, my curiosity was piqued, so, just for giggles, I went online to do a little research on the game.  I was only able to find one review, which said pretty much what I expected it to say.  You can click the link if you want to read the whole thing, but the first paragraph sums it up pretty well:
Some properties don't translate very well into video games, no matter how enjoyable they are in the original format. The movie "Titanic," for example, may be considered a modern classic by some, but very few fans would even entertain the notion that the romantic tale of Jack and Rose could be good material for an interactive endeavor. People still want to try the seemingly impossible and make a video game out of any and every hot property on the market. Such is the case with Beastly, which is a modern retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story; it was critically acclaimed as a book and was just turned into a major motion picture. Storm City Games and Visual Impact decided to make a video game tie-in on the Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, they proved that some things can't ever be translated into video game form.
There are countless other examples in the entertainment world.  I still remember watching a patriotic concert on one Memorial Day or Independence Day when I was a kid where this guy droned out a horrible rendition of "The Age of Aquarius" from the musical Hair.  Not only did it sound quite dull, but "Aquarius" is supposed to be a group number, not a solo.  That cover still haunts me to this day; rarely do I hear the original or any other version without thinking of it. Some movies, such as Super Mario Bros. or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, were largely hated because the original media they were based on (a Nintendo game and a British book, respectively) just didn't work in cinematic form.  The former movie was so terrible that Nintendo Power, on a timeline of the red-clad plumber's history, said this about it: "Yes, it happened. Let us speak no more of it."  The latter flick was a dud just because Douglas Adams' humorous narration, the main appeal of the novel, was largely impossible to put into a movie.
Why do I bring all that up? It's not just to discuss media going from one form to the other; instead, it's because I've noticed that much of what I say and do doesn't seem to translate very well to others.  People often wonder why I do...well, pretty much anything I do.  They don't seem to get why I'm not doing the "normal" thing that they think I should be doing.
I've used this analogy before, but it's worth repeating: Most of you who know me know that my oldest sister, who died in 2005, was severely disabled and unable to do much of anything.  Having an immediate family member like her put my mom, my other sister, and I into a strange situation that most people were at a loss to understand.  However, that didn't stop many folks from making suggestions that, although usually well-meaning, just wouldn't work.  One "friend" of my mom's saw fit to spend at least thirty minutes haranguing my poor mother just because she (that is, my mom) taught my other sister how to change my oldest sister's diaper, but wouldn't even begin to let me do it.  That "friend" even accused my mom of treating her kids unfairly and being sexist in the process.  It turned out that the half-hour lambasting session was nothing but a waste of breath; my mom never did let me change my oldest sister's diaper.  Frankly, I don't see what right that "friend" had to say anything about the matter; it wasn't even her decision to make, nor did it affect her one way or the other.
The same could be said of me and certain things I do, such as being an outspoken Victoria Justice fan, watching Disney Channel Original Movies, or reading romance novels: People, for whatever reason, see fit to tell me why I shouldn't be doing those things.  They tell me that it isn't masculine; they ask what my guy friends would think if they knew I was doing it; and they probably wonder why I can't be like the other guys they know: watching sports, working with tools, drooling over cars, etc.  There's one problem with their argument, though: It's not up to them.  Unless the one(s) who has/have problems with what I'm doing are my parent(s) and/or God--and that is almost never the case--then their opinions, frankly, don't matter.
I will end by saying this: I have my reasons for liking the things I do and do not.  One such reason I'm such a devotee to certain celebrities and/or TV shows is because they help keep me grounded.  Pretty much everyone reading this already knows about last year's Love and Other Drugs incident, but what you probably don't know was that I spent most of the first two or three months of my freshman year of high school in a snit, only because Growing Pains, which was pretty much my only favorite show at the time, had been removed from ABC Family's weekday line-up.  That may sound like "small potatoes," but, without a show to love, I was lost; that 80's sitcom helped keep me sane.  Without it, I was ready to throw my television set in the trash, and that unhappiness was shown in other aspects of my life as well.  Thankfully, someone I knew introduced me to Lizzie McGuire, and we all know what happened after that.  My point is simply this: No matter your opinion of Vic, Jen, and friends, I can almost guarantee you that I wouldn't have very many friends if it weren't for them.  You can sit there and decry the whole thing until you're blue in the face, but it won't make any difference; I know I'm right.  The bottom line is: If you're truly my friend, then you don't want me to totally give up on Tori, Jennifer, and crew.  If I did, the results could be disastrous, and that's not a joke nor an exaggeration.
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