They certainly haven't in the past, at least. One medium tells a linear tale. The other branches and takes gamers on interactive journeys. That's why
this podcast is such an unusual meeting of the minds. Del Toro sat down with Ken Levine, the creative lead on BioShock, the scariest horror
videogame ever made. It's a game that seems to have been created after reading every one of Stephen King's best novels—and the non-fiction Danse Macabre (which beautifully parsed the differences between horror and terror) as well.
Listening to the two converse is like watching a version of My Dinner With Andre tailored for pop culture nerds. The talk is
wide-ranging and soulful. It's also a bit like a conversation I once saw on-stage at the YMCA in New York City between David Mamet and Horton Foote about adapting
Broadway plays to film. Mamet was full of bile. Foote was wary, but more understanding and accepting of Hollywood's bull. Yet that kind of talk about Hollywood ruining the best of Broadway drama is not uncommon, and hasn't been for a long time. This kind of unbridled, ranting-yet-intelligent discussion
between game maker and movie maker has never, to my knowledge, before been made public for everyone to listen to or download. It is historic in that sense.
"A lot of people in Hollywood look at games as junior
varsity films," says Levine, who was contracted to write a romantic comedy feature before he turned to games. "They just don't understand games…You have to go into each game with a certain amount of humility. Each time I go into a game I'm
terrified at how to make it work."
In response, Del Toro declaims, "The opposite of humility is arrogance, and that is the coin of trade in the movie business. Movies are one
of the peaks of human narrative. But I'm sorry to break it to the movie industry: So are videogames. The videogames we will be playing in 2020—they
will be fucking masterpieces then."
Del Toro, who is ensconced in the process of making a videogame called inSANE to be released in 2013 for publisher THQ, likens the work to a
game of chess "where you're thinking 20 moves ahead before your opponent even shows up for the game. I find it fascinating; revitalizing as a narrator."
Beyond being an avid (and occasionally obsessive) gamer himself, a few sour experiences in the film industry may have prodded Del Toro into game making. "In my mind, every movie is on hold, at least in Hollywood," he says. "I call Hollywood The Land of the Slow No. It literally takes them two fucking years to say 'no.' So some of the best movies I have are not shot." His passel of unmade films includes a Count of Monte Cristo adaptation turned on its head as gothic western in the 1800s "where the count has a mechanical hand." He says he sometimes
feels typecast: "Because I'm into comic books, they come to me—I'm not kidding—with every large superhero franchise ever. When I don't
relate to the franchise, I just say no. I always say, 'It's really hard to fuck without a boner.'"