Wii Warm Up: Games vs. movies

Since the Manhunt 2 debacle, there's been a lot of discussion about the differences between graphic games and graphic films. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about which is worse. In fact, two recent articles were not only completely at odds with one another opinion-wise, but they used some of the same examples! However, they did focus on slightly different subjects.

Seth Schiesel of the New York Times thought movies were far ahead of games on the gore factor, and he cited comparisons between Saw II and Manhunt 2. Since the most graphic moments in the latter were short, and of course, animated, Schiesel found the lengthy, almost loving shots of "torture porn" in Saw II to be much more disturbing.

Clive Thompson of Wired, however, thinks that games are much better than most recent films at creating a frightening atmosphere. Movies rely far too much on gore, he said -- citing Saw as both example and possible progenitor of this phenomenon -- while horror games can recreate the chilling, anxiety-inducing feelings of the best horror films the genre has ever offered, because (Roger Ebert would hate this reason) horror games take a very artistic approach to mood and atmosphere. While he talks mostly about BioShock, the principles can be applied to many other games; he mentions Silent Hill and Resident Evil as well.

So our question today is: where do you stand on this? Can games go further and do more, or are films still the benchmark for horror and intensity?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.