David Dutton – “I got to dive into two worlds that I love; movies and games”

December, 2016
Reading Time
9 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

8-Bit Cinema’s David Dutton talks about turning movies into retro game concepts.

This week we’re talking to David Dutton. David is part of a small team that takes movies and turns them into retro gaming concepts. Basically, the videos are short examples of what a game based on a movie would look like if it came out in the 8-bit/16-bit Nintendo/Sega era of the 80’s and 90’s. They are done in a way that is both very entertaining and loyal to the format.

In this exclusive interview, we find out more about how this concept came to fruition. David Dutton and the team created these videos for CINEFIX under the name 8-Bit Cinema but they have recently started there own outfit called BITter CINEMA, so you can expect some even cooler stuff from them in the future.

You can see a lot more work from David Dutton on his website.

The 50th 366 Award goes to David Dutton for his outstanding creative work.

David Dutton 8 Bit Cinema

How did ‘8-Bit Cinema’ get started?

My career at the time was primarily as a music video director. I later started creating content for a YouTube network called CINEFIX, which is sort of an entertainment information channel. I had just ended my 2nd show, KILL PHIL (creating weapon props from scratch), and moved back to San Francisco to be with my wife who was pregnant with our first child.

I was offered a chance to work remotely by Cinefix by a producer, so I wouldn’t have to travel much (I was actually flying to LA every week). The suggestion was a 60-second animation that could recap an entire movie.

“ now I got to dive into two worlds that I love; movies and games”

I had previously made an 8-Bit animation segment for a show we had called Badass Digest, so we decided to base the short show in that direction because it was well received in the comments. This was an amazing turn of events for me because I’ve been a devote Nintendo fan and now I got to dive into two worlds that I love; movies and games.

Badass Digest was a quick recap of Marvel movies in Megaman 8-Bit style. I took that concept and developed the show, finally deciding that I’d model each movie after a different game, and try to stay honest to the mechanics of that game. I grew up in the 80s and 90s with each generation of the Nintendo console.  Ironman, our first episode, stayed in the 60-second format, but the show kind of grew out of that original time frame.As for the name of the show, I begged for it not to be called 8-Bit Cinema because I knew I wouldn’t stick to just that standard. But producers thought it was descriptive enough to get people to watch it, which it is.

“As a movie buff, I have a long list, and I like the films which have no business becoming a game”

I’m just tired of being accused of not knowing the difference between 8 and 16 bit. But the show name is just an idiom because our first episode was based on Megaman. Sometimes show titles lose their meaning. Not every Friday The 13th movie took place on a Friday!

How do you decide on which film to give the “8-Bit” treatment to next? (p.s An ‘8-Bit’ Sideways would be awesome!)

I have passion projects I always want to do, but I had to get them approved by Cinefix. Cinefix like to do tie-ins with releases of current films. As a movie buff, I have a long list, and I like the films which have no business becoming a game.

We have just left CINEFIX and will be continuing our series under the name BITter Cinema. The movie list will finally be up to us, and it will have a lot of odd choices in there. You’re right; SIDEWAYS would be hilarious! We’ll also be doing the full library of Miyazaki movies.

Have you ever started a project only to realise that the film doesn’t translate well into the retro-game format?

Never to the point that we quit the project. There was such a small window to produce these for Cinefix, and limited budget, that once we were in there was no looking back. But I had that thought on several episodes that were forced on us because of sponsors.

For one, Godzilla. The premise was so simple and action event-based, that it felt like I was just making a dumbed down video game that you couldn’t control. No humorous mundane mechanisms to force into a game mode… the movie already felt like a game!

Have you, or do you plan to turn one of the 8-Bit Cinema projects into an actual game?

Yes… it will be called BITter CINEMA and it’s are project for 2017. You will travel through several movie worlds and have similar plot objectives to get through. Winning will unlock new movie packs, like the Wes Anderson collection…. only we will change all real and character names… and they’ll all be animals. So Requiem of a Dream would be Requiem of a Biscuit, and all the characters would have dog heads. Or The Big LeHusky, and the Dude is a Husky and Walter is a boar. I’m just coming up with these now.

You also create music videos. Which video are you most proud of?

Technically I’m proud of my new Bassnectar music video “Reaching Out”, or “Victim” by Eligh and AngorRepublic – but my favourite is probably still one of my first “Internet Killed the Video Star” by the Limousines. Lots of good memories making it.

This video provides a lot more insight into the process the David Dutton and his brother use for these projects.

Finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song what would that song be?

WIDE OPEN by The Chemical Brothers ft. Beck

Wide Open"
Wide Open (2015)
The Chemical Brothers ft. Beck
Play on Apple Music
Play on Spotify
Play on YouTube
What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
David Dutton
Our Forest