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Rational Discourse: Levine And Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro: "videogames are the bridge to the future of genre narrative"

Do you enjoy conversation between passionate individuals? If so, the recent Irrational Interview featuring Ken Levine and Guillermo Del Toro is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour of your day. The Mexican author/director is working on a horror game and the first part of this audio was posted on Halloween so I expected a focus on spooky happenings but the conversation is much more wide-ranging. There is some discussion of monsters but mostly it’s two men discussing the joy of the creative process, as well as the frustrations that can arise in the film and game industries.

Del Toro is frank as ever, at one point describing working on projects with no personal interest as like trying to “fuck without a boner”. He does swear a lot. Ken slowly warms to the idea of this navvy-like behavior and by the end they’re both at it. Two parts. Downloads here and here.

I always think the best conversations are the ones I wish I’d been part of and that’s true here. It’s informative without being dour and it certainly doesn’t have the shadow of scripted responses and PR box-ticking creeping across it. Hearing Levine draw a comparison between scripting companion behaviour in Bioshock Infinity with Larry David ensuring the cast hit the narrative beats in a Curb Your Enthusiasm scene opens a window onto overlapping cultural objects that I find fascinating. And then Del Toro offhandedly refers to Levine as a “deco fetishist”.

IF you’re here you’re probably interested in the work of at least one of these men, but even if not it’s a funny and insightful discussion about what it means to be a creative professional. If you don’t want the downloads (one and two) you can listen at the Irrational site. First part here, second part here.

This is not an image from the recording of the conversation. Ken Levine is not a head on a wall, of any species.

I always imagine Del Toro as a sort of excitable magpie, flitting around popular culture and pecking at all the shiny bits. At times, I think he’s too ready to share his imaginings and I don’t know if that would make him the ideal person to visualise The Mountains of Madness. It doesn’t seem like the kind of film that should necessitate an enormous budget. I don’t know if he’d be able to resist throwing in a sketchbook’s worth of creature designs and my idea of a Lovecraft film doesn’t involve building the indescribable.

I’d quite like to see what an Aronofsky take would come out like.

There’s mention of a game called Gadget at one point, which I’d never heard of. I found the trailer for anyone interested though. Think of this post as the DVD extras that came with the interview. I also learned that Gadget has been jazzed up and released on iPhone and iPad. Facts!

One day I’ll play through loads of these esoteric FMV games and then publish my garbled memoirs.

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Adam Smith

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