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Spielberg and Zemeckis Talk Video Games

Wednesday September 15 2:58 PM ET

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis say students at the University of Southern California could change moviemaking by playing more video games.

The two Hollywood directors were at the campus on Tuesday night to inaugurate a new Electronic Arts video game development lab at the university's school of cinema and television, where they detailed the coming fusion between games and film.

They said video games are getting closer to a storytelling art form but not quite yet.

"I think the real indicator will be when somebody confesses that they cried at level 17," Spielberg said.

Zemeckis, the "Back to the Future" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" director whose name adorns the building where the new gaming laboratory is located, said that he has borrowed gaming techniques for his films.

While developing his digital Christmas move "The Polar Express" he updated motion-capture technology game companies use to recreate the moves of athletes in sports games to digitally capture the facial features of actor Tom Hanks.

Both directors agreed that movies like "Spider-Man 2" and "The Matrix" series reflect the impact that gaming style has had on cinema.

"My influence, when I was a film student here, was a television influence," Zemeckis said. "In the '80s, cinema became influenced by the pace and style of television commercials. And in the '90s, it was the pace and style of the music video. And I think the next decades are going to be influenced greatly by the digital world of gaming."

They offered no solutions, but outlined the hurdles between the film and game formats.

"The next big emotional breakthrough in gaming is being able to tell a story that is consistent throughout the narrative. If the game is 15 levels, it's just like 15 chapters in a story," Spielberg said. "That's what I hope young students will bring here."

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Certianly a lot of actors lending their voices to video games (and not just to reprise a role in a videogame based on a movie) along with professional writers being involved with video games (the Tom Clancy series for example, don't know how involved he is though) has lent itself a lot of legitimacy to video games as well.

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