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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Is Spider-Man Ripping Off Mirror's Edge?

Posted on Thursday, July 21 @ 08:27:13 Eastern by

Go ahead, take a look if you haven't already seen it for yourself. Above is the debut trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot... well, you know what? Reboots are common for comic books, so there's nothing particularly shocking about the film's existence. The Spider-Man movies drew in tons of cash, and after Spider-Man 3, a reboot of the series was the only way of bringing audiences back in for more.

Still, keep watching until the end. There's a lengthy sequence here that I'd like to call into question. No, I'm not worried about the presence of web-shooters. In fact, I'm thrilled by that! Instead, I'm feeling a little confused by the first-person running, climbing, jumping, swinging sequence at the end of the trailer. Doesn't that seem familiar?

That's because it is familiar. We've all been in similar situations, maybe even on a daily basis. I'm talking about first-person video games. No, not necessarily first-person-shooters. You and I may be quick to guess that Spider-Man's marketing team took a big liking to Mirror's Edge. Instead, I say that the Spider-Man trailer doesn't necessarily reflect Mirror's Edge, but any and all first-person perspective games.

Look down at the bottom right of the screen in any first-person game and you'll see that the arms in the game are not your arms. Maybe you've come to treat them like your own and manipulate them like your own. Maybe your arms move faster and more accurately in a video game than in the real world. First-person video games have always been at the top of the chart, but I think that it has more to do with comfort than with sales figures.

It's easy to say that gamers love shooting stuff, but consider this: We live in the first-person. Why wouldn't we want to game in that perspective more often as well? Again, look down to the bottom right and you'll find an arm of your own (sorry if there isn't one there, I didn't mean to call that out to you).

I think this trailer speaks primarily to the ubiquity of gaming and the nature of first-person shooters. Normally, people would say that the eyes are a window into the soul. The opposite is true too. First-person video games allow us to walk in another person's shoes. Does the trailer accomplish something in transporting us to the blue and red tights Spider-Man is known for? Instead of plainly showing us Spider-Man swinging around with his webs and climbing up and over walls, the trailer wants to illicit the same feelings first-person video games give players.

You ARE Spider-Man. You ARE Faith. You ARE soldier #067349. Gears of War and other third-person shooters are all about the character. In the first-person, you ARE the character. You ARE Chell. You ARE Gordon Freeman. You ARE Jack, and Atlus is giving YOU directions throughout Rapture. [Of course, that's just a suspension of disbelief. ~ Ed. Nick]

While I don't think first-person web-swinging would ever work in a video game, I can remain hopeful that the upcoming film will give us plenty of first-person sequences. Hey, maybe they can get the whole thing rolling in 3D and the whole audience can really get motion sickness. You suckers had better get to training with some video gaming if you hope to survive two hours in Spider-Man's shoes.
Related Games:   Battlefield 3, Mirror's Edge
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