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Rip-off/Tribute?


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#1 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 05:26 AM

There is an old tradition in film, of remakes. I think remakes are something that happen because Hollywood execs are too damn lazy to write a new story. They make a Beverly Hillbillies move, or all of those SNL-based movies so that they don''t have to worry about the risk of showing the public something *gasp* new! But there''s another kind of Rip-off. It''s the Tribute! By far, the most tributed man in film history is Akira Kurosawa, the prolific Japanese director. For instance: Last Man Standing = Yojimbo The Guns of the Magnificent Seven (and A Bug''s Life) = The Seven Samurai STar Wars = Hidden Fortress (not really, though. I''ve seen the movie, and Lucas only took bits and pieces. Star Wars is really more of a Tirbute to Kurosawa''s entire career...) Kurosawa himself was a tributer, remaking many of the works of Shakespeare in a fuedal Japanese setting. My question is, do we do this in games? Why or why not? So far as I can see, this is legally untouchable and morally decent (just don''t deny your sources...) and could make for some much better writing in games if done well. So far as I can see, there might be two kinds... Non-game A game with plot or character or various other elements taken from movies, literature, etc. In a way this happens already, but it isn''t terribly well done. Every Fantasy game ever made is technically a rip off of some literature, but they seem to take only the superficial aspects and leave the substance. Game This is the most common, but I''d like to see this well done also. Games rip eachother off all the time, but it''s to the point now where some old games are old enough to be used as inspiration for new ones. Riskier, but more appropriate... I just wonder if there''s anything old worth ripping off? Thing is, Ripping off stuff is the oldest writing technique ever. Everything you ever write borrows from something, a tribute just forces you to admit your sources. ====== "The unexamined life is not worth living." -Socrates "Question everything. Especially Landfish." -Matt

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#2 runemaster   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:01 AM

Just watched the 7 Samurai ..full version, 3 and a half hours...awesome movie !!!!!!

Runemaster now working on Acronia : Secrets of Magic
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#3 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:17 AM

One of my all-time favorites. This is what I''m saying; such a great movie should be exposed to as many people as possible. That''s why I approve of attempts to re-package Kurosawa''s works into more accesable settings (i.e. Star Wars, the Western, etc.) These are fully archetypal themes and hence translate easity! (The Samurai Clans become the Jedi, the Ancestral Blade becomes a Light Saber, the nautical smuggler becomes and inter-stellar smuggler, etc.)

So I''m wondering, if we see unrealized potential in games of the past, should we not attempt to repackage these stories in the techno,ogy of the present? And in the process, our storytelling skills in this medium will improve...

#4 NitroSR   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:29 AM

I haven''t seen the Seven Samurai, although I prolly should as soon as I get an opportunity. Incidentally as my next attempt at a game project I intend on doing a remake of the NES classic Excite Bike. I intend on preserving all of the original game play, making a few touch ups here and there to make the physics more realistic. The graphics will be real-time rendered 3D objects with (gasp!) colorful and vibrant textures keeping true to the look and feel of the original, but with all the nifty graphics techniques available today. My concentration is on mimicing the great gameplay of the original, but presenting it with modern techniques. Sounds like a pretty good excercise to me.

Unfortunately I cannot remember who said this, but it kind of goes with this thread, and that is that imitation is the finest form of flattery. It''s a wee bit paraphrased, but you get the idea.

Daniel "NitroSR" Piron

#5 nes8bit   Members   -  Reputation: 275

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:30 AM

Cool. When I rip off the matrix, I''ll just say that it''s a tribute.

---------------------------
"Don't die for your country, make some other dumb bastard die for his" -General George S. Patton

#6 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 08:22 AM

Nitro, as you''ve put it that would apply more to design than writing, but it''s the same principle at work. Many in this forum wouldn''t believe it if I''ve said it, but 90% of making a good game is going with what worked for other good games.

Problem is, some people don''t distinguish between what is useful and what is dead weight. (Square...)

#7 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 08:34 AM

Well, that''s where it''s hard to draw the line. If some geek decides to "make a tribute" by copy pasting all the graphics of Warcraft, adding some pictures he got on the Net, ripping some sounds from some other game, and mix all that in one horrific entity that he then releases ... can you really call that a tribute to something ? Can you be generous enough to grant the poor bastard the benefit of the doubt, and assume he is well intended ?
I have seen this kind of llama behaviour quite a lot in the MOD community, especially the skins for different QuakeLike.
TAking a sking and redesigning it to make something new is nice, it''s creative, it''s OK. Inspiring yourself with the design of a famous skin (usingthe color scheme, or some gimmick) is also cool, as long as you do everything yourself. But the kinda crap I have seen where some stupid c*nt decides to copy paste a masterpiec, and change some colours, adding his face instead of the original one, and then bragging "yeah, I did it myself" ... is just ...uuuuuh.

When I look at the MAgnificent seven, I can''t help but LMAO all the way through this poor thing. I mean, ok, it''s very weel done, but in terms of computing, it''s as creative as doing a copy/paste, and changing the colours of a drawing.
Do the experiment, if you have a free day, or two VCR. Watch the Seven Samurai, then watch the Magnificent seven ... you''ll know what I mean. This is not a tribute, it''s a fuck!ng rip off !

I don''t have a really high esteem of remakes in general, when I don''t see the value of the remake. It''s nice to see "The longest day" with colours added to it, because no one is saying it''s a new movie. But watching "True lies" which is a remake of a french movie, done only a fe years after, is just ... d''uh ... I''d say it''s cultural laziness, or something like that.

I am actually very confused, because for instance, I thought the Romeo&Juliet with DECaprio was actually excellent.
I am not very sure how you can give criteria to say something is a blatant rip off and something is a well done tribute. I think most of the time, people are considered as doing a "tribute" when they are already qualified, and respected person in there field. for instance, no one would dare qualify Kurosawa of being a ripper of Shakespeare, because is work is truly inspired (what I mean is that there is somethig deep and enthralling in it, it''s not just like I was watching a Shakespeare theatre piece, there is something *added* to Shakespeare own work by the way Kurosawa show it)
On the other hand, if you start your carrier by redoing a Tetris, I don''t think anyone will think highly of you...

Yeah, I guess tribute is a privilege of those who already have proven their level. It''s just like in Art, you have to go through years of Fine Arts to finally reach a level where you can draw like a 3 years old child (and I am not evn joking ...)

youpla :-P

(LF : your notion that Kurosawa inspired Lucas is intriguing, could you explain that a bit more please ?
Personally I love the explanation given in "George Lucas in Love" a very good online movie, gotta check that one out !)

#8 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 09:42 AM

I''m really just talking about tribute in a Writing context, not a design context. Art is Art, and there is a very clearly marked line between Tribute and Plagerism (unless you''re Orson Wells ) Writing, however, works off of underlying archetypal themes, limited in number.

For example, if I took Shakespeare''s Romeo and Juliet as a model for the undelying plot structure of a game, but made my own dialog and events... if it were set in an African Tribal culture instead of Elizibethan... But all the characters were still there, the plot movements exactly the same, just the symbolism has changed on a purely superficial level, the meaning stays the same. That''s not a rip off. It''s a tribute. Whether I do it well or not is a metter of my own skill.

If I made that into a game, with it''s own separate but equally well designed gameplay, wouldn''t that be cool? I just made it up, but it would be pretty neat, because that story is one of the best of the best! Why should I waste my time making something incredible when I could be improving upon the original?

Part of good Design and Writing is to only include aspects of a game that need to be there. Nothing should go in if it doesn''t support the original vision. BUT that doesn''t mean you can''t take somebody else''s completed vision entirely, and implement it in a new way! That''s cool! It''s spreading the message; and the piece isn''t ruined by superfluous crap that most video games reek of. Whatever, draw your own conclusions...

#9 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 09:48 AM

Oh yeah, Lucas. He was REALLY good at this crap. There isn''t a single character from the first Star Wars Trilogy who wasn''t straight up archetypal. Do you know WHY this is?


Joeseph Campbell.


If you don''t know who that man is, don''t claim you''re a writer. Don''t claim George Lucas is a genius, either, because Campbell is the real genius behind Star Wars, and his absence explains the new movie.

Joesph Campbell was a student of Jungian psychology, and heavily researched the world''s myths and their signifigance. He was a consultant for the second and third star wars films. IF you go read his stuff, you will certainly agree with me.

#10 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 12:44 PM

LF : yeah, I guess the only good thing with the Magnificent Seven is that it allowed the American viewers to discover a story that otherwise would probably be considered movie freaks material ... mmmh.

As for Campbell, no I don''t know his life and story, but I''ll check it out oof... I feel relieved not to claim being a writer, I am a mere artist to the most general sense of the word.
Actually, thespark.com says I am a Prober, and people think I am weird. I guess they were right.

As for the question of tributing/rip off. When the tributing effect extend to the size of a new trend (FPS games) ... what should we think ?

For the idea of taking an existing story / myth, yeah, I guess in the end it''s always about how good you are at taking other people ideas and making them be seen under a new light.

I would love to know who said that, but I think it''s very appropriate : "Copying from one source is called plagiarism, copying from many sources is called inspiration".

youpla :-P

#11 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 03:19 PM

Actually, I think it''s called Research, not inspriation...

The spark told me I was a politician. Go figure.

#12 Merrick   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 03:42 PM

Landfish : So you''re saying that if you change the setting (ie medieval -> western/sci-fi, etc.) it becomes a tribute rather than a ripoff?

As to Star Wars, I like the explanation that is a metaphor for sex. You have these tiny X and Y fighters trying to fly into the center of a giant SPHERICAL mass; incestuous relationships (which are (among other things) genetically a bad thing); FISHY characters; "I have felt him"; the deep breathing...

Also, most fantasy writers stem from either the Greek tragedies or medieval romance. And they''ll admit it openly. They will include little "hooks" relative to the greek versions and once a person reads it, they get that bit more hooked on the story. Yet none of us here would say that David & Leight Eddings are plagiarists...

Merrick

#13 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 09:38 PM

LF : LMAO So *THAT* is why !

morfe : Star Wars a metaphor of sex ... sure ... why not.

And *I* am supposed to be a sex addict ? D'uh. People can always make far stretched comparison to prove their point, it's in the nature of man to see what he wants to see. Read "Le pendule de Foucault" (Foucaut's pendulum) by Umberto Ecco, and you'll see a perfect example of that

LF and morfe : I thought Jung was the one on the collective soul and Freud the one on sex ...

Edited by - ahw on September 25, 2000 4:44:23 AM

#14 runemaster   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 12:23 AM

quote:
Original post by morfe

Landfish : So you''re saying that if you change the setting (ie medieval -> western/sci-fi, etc.) it becomes a tribute rather than a ripoff?

As to Star Wars, I like the explanation that is a metaphor for sex. You have these tiny X and Y fighters trying to fly into the center of a giant SPHERICAL mass; incestuous relationships (which are (among other things) genetically a bad thing); FISHY characters; "I have felt him"; the deep breathing...

Also, most fantasy writers stem from either the Greek tragedies or medieval romance. And they''ll admit it openly. They will include little "hooks" relative to the greek versions and once a person reads it, they get that bit more hooked on the story. Yet none of us here would say that David & Leight Eddings are plagiarists...

Merrick


You read the Rivan Codex too, eh ? Very interesting book, all writers should read this.



Runemaster now working on Acronia : Secrets of Magic
Join the Game Developers RuneRing !
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#15 Ketchaval   Members   -  Reputation: 186

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 03:38 AM

Hmmm. Sexual symbolism / hidden sexual bull***t in myths? I'm not quite sure what to think of all that. What little I read of Hero with A thousand Faces (J.Campbell?) was about freudian stuff in myths. Ie. the Oedipus / Electra complexes. (Oedipus, kills father, and marries his mother).

The problem is that I don't see how the hidden sexual aspect of these things (anything which isn't about marrying your mother that is) is supposed to make them good films, for a start many people (especially children the target audience of Star Wars) don't notice such things. My view is that the important thing is the story and characters, and action presented in the movie, book, tale etc.

Can anyone who has read the book say if this is what it was saying was the important aspect of most myths ? If so do you agree.

Edited by - Ketchaval on September 25, 2000 10:39:19 AM

#16 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 04:07 PM

Psychology is very little about what you notice, or even what you interpret rationally. The affect of these mythical strucutres does not occur when you see them at work, but rather when you only percieve them subconciously. Fact is, sex is why we''re here. It''s what we do as a species, and so even children (despite social stigma) are capable of subconciously interpreting sexual symbolism.

As ridiculous as it sounds in the above example, the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars is a pretty straightforward act of aggression, in the form of penetration. Now, that doesn''t necessarily mean anything, but one could make the arguement that all agression is sexual on a primordial level. This subconsious stuff is how we interpret the world, so there''s no reason we shouldn''t see it everywhere.

#17 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 02:18 AM

LF : if you like this kind of stuff, then I''ll advise you to find a copy of the book "Psychanalyse des contes de fées", by Bruno Bettelheim ("Psychanalysis of fairy tales"). I dunno if it is translated in english, but if it is, it''s a very intruiguing read. It tells all the underlying concepts of a bunch of the most popular children stories, Snow White, Cinderella, the little red cap (is that how you translate?), the Grimm tales, etc.
It''s ... uuh... scary
but very interesting. Of course, it all comes down to sex. The nice thing about the book is the fact that all those stories are for kids, the explanations about how a kid perceive that are quite interesting.
Not sure it can help you do any better games, but it sure teaches you a lot about symbolism, and deeper meaning of things.

youpla :-P

#18 Anonymous Poster.   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 02:37 AM

Ok, this has been lightly mentioned here, but bears repeating:

There is solid value in a straight retelling of a classic theme for modern audiences. It is so ludicrous that "cultured" people are expected to read and appreciate literature written in, say convoluted Elizabethan verse. (heh, just an example) Shakespeare aimed straight for what would be the MTV generation of today. Sure, he broached the great themes and layered meaning upon meaning in each line. Of course he did- the guy was an artist. But the enjoyment of his plays was 90% visceral! So to people who scoff at the "MTV remake" of Romeo and Juliet, I give a hearty *THHHHHBBBBBT* While the motives may have been quite different, by popularizing this classic tale, the producers of this remake were continuing the life''s work of none other than the Bard himself, AKA the greatest rip-off artist of all time.

#19 Anonymous Poster.   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 09:43 AM

ahw, LF, any others who may be interested:

The Bettelheim book is available in the States and it is absolutely essential to anyone dealing in classic themes. (if you are writing an RPG, this means you!!!)

And I would say that any book that teaches you about primal symbology helps you in any media. The lack of cultural awareness in today''s media is just appalling. I''m not talking about Political Correctness either. If you want to be vulgar, biased, and/or appeal to the lowest common denominator, well, fine. But at least become educated as to when and where this was attempted and how it succeeded or failed, and why.

*phew* Ok, I''m done.

If you see the Buddha on the road, Kill Him. -apocryphal

#20 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 10:27 AM

I should note for acedemic purposes that the relevant information and theory in that book can also be found in many other places, and probably better if you read them IN ADDITION to everything else.

In fact, reading about this stuff is just a good idea, not matter what the source. The #1 problem with RPGs is poorly designed systems, but the #2 problem is easily ignorant writers.




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