Videogames in other Media Ep. 2

Wow, it’s been quite some time since the last and first episode of Videogames in other Media. Recently, I’ve stumbled over a good example and I remembered that there was this series of articles I wanted to write. So here is another great example of how Videogames are portrayed in films. This time, it’s a positive one:

Videogames in other media: The Wrestler

The Example is from Darren Aronofsky’s most recent Movie “The Wrestler”. I like the director very much. So far enjoyed all of his movies a lot. I liked “The Wrestler” as well. It’s much more subtle and realistic than his other movies. It’s not the epic soul-destroyer that “Requiem for a Dream was. It’s more subversive, like an itch in a place you can’t quite reach. A complex message, lots of interesting characters. Watch it!

The scene in question is where the main Character, an aging Wrestler, invites his buddy, a young Kid, into his Trailer for a round of video games. They play NES. It’s the present. You might think that the anachronism is a mistake. It turns out it’s not, it’s the whole point of the Scene. The kid proceeds telling the protagonist about Call of Duty 4. He even goes into great deal about how the entire Call of Duty series progressed from World War 2 to Iraq. The old Wrestler, of course, has no idea what the kid is talking about. He thought he still had the edge by being able to play Videogames with kids. But now, he must realize that even Videogames moved forward while and he wasn’t able to keep up with the word. This is a small puzzle piece in the entire Story where the Wrestler finds himself totally alienated and disconnected form the World which seemes to have left him behind. This story climaxes in the last scene of the Movie. I won’t give it away.

My point is that this is a great example of how the specific characteristics and features of Videogames and their History can be portrayed realistically to actually tell a story in a movie. If you know Videogames, you totally get the point of view of the poor kid who plays with the old geezer out of pity. If you don’t know Videogames you will have no clue what the kid is talking about, understanding the viewpoint of the Wrestler. This is lightyears ahead of the typical generic bleeping box that Videogames are in most of the Movies and TV Series.

Have you seen the Movie? What do you think?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Videogames in other Media Ep. 2”

  1. Kylie Prymus

    Very good observation! I haven't seen the movie yet but it sounds like a great example of his disconnectedness. Reminds me a bit of placing people's "game-knowledge-age" by what term they use as a generic for videogames. For example my mom used to call all games "Nintendo" as in "are you going to play some Nintendo?".

    In fact, I think we need to bring this practice back. I'm gonna go play some Amiga…


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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