As the Hollywood movie industry rolls forward, several have asked if there are any original ideas left. Where do we get new material? While some answers lie in the creations of sequels, remakes, and other forms of plot recycling, ultimately these will not suffice. Talented writers and creative imaginations still abound, but one source for original films that many consider neglected is the field of video games.
Games have spawned their fair share of movie, both blockbusters and flops, some franchise examples being Doom, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Silent Hill, Super Mario Brothers, and Resident Evil.
However, there are countless quality games waiting for movie versions to be created. Some titles that have been released boast rich storylines, memorable characters, and action-packed sequences; all of which, among other traits, happen to also be key ingredients to successful movies.
Certain worlds, in particular, seem to be especially fitting for transition to the big screen, with several genres being represented as available to take advantage of rich, quality video games.
Action: Ninja Gaiden
Throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s, gunplay reigned supreme through action movies, with pistol-toting actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone pumping bad guys full of lead. Eventually, though, with the advent of such landmark martial arts titles as The Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, fisticuffs found increased favor with the general public and eventually became the preferred form of pop violence.
The area of martial arts is a tricky one. A quality fight film can succeed on many levels, whereas a cheesy knock-off can plummet to B-movie obscurity. A ninja film with a deep, established storyline, with X-Factor combat beyond typical choreography, may have a chance of capturing the imaginations of moviegoers; or, at least, the legions of fans the Gaiden series already has.
Action/Comedy: Earthworm Jim
He already had a cartoon, why not a movie? Earthworm Jim is a space-exploring funnyman with a plasma pistol, intent on blasting away foes such as Psycrow in his attempt to rescue the beautiful Princess Slug-for-a-butt. The special effects would be spectacular on a galactic level, the wit would come quick and sharp, and the action would be a barn-busting good time.
Animated: Super Mario Brothers
Yes, a Super Mario Brothers film was already done; a live-action romp with several flaws, generally disliked by audiences and critics. However, consider this idea: What if the graphics engine for one of Mario’s games, such as Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy, were used to create a new movie?
This has a couple of distinct, powerful advantages. Firstly, the program already exists, so it would save a small fortune on the budget and would just be a matter of skillfully animating it. Also, what better way to hook fans of the series than by using the familiar look of the game? Seeing Mario traverse the castle to another world would be like finding some sort of wondrous world-opening wormhole in a game setting that many already have a heartfelt fondness for.
Family: Banjo Kazooie
The Banjo Kazooie series was a couple of popular games for the Nintendo 64 that features a goofy adventuring bear named Banjo and his cynical, if not helpful, bird pal Kazooie. The entire plot has Kazooie assisting from Banjo’s backpack, and the games had a cartoony, wistful quality to them. With large, colorful environments and gentle, slapstick humor, a family Banjo Kazooie film has enough factors to possibly be a hit.
Fantasy/Adventure: The Legend of Zelda
If you have never experienced The Legend of Zelda, it is difficult to explain why they would make awesome movies. If you have experienced them, then you instantly understand, and are probably salivating at the thought. The non-experienced should take the collective saliva of wishful Zelda fans as testament to the power this canon has: The storyline is incredibly rich, the hero is a perfect champion, the foes are nefarious and despised, the surroundings are lush and life-altering, the artifacts are brilliant and precious, and there are countless other reasons why this is probably the highlight of this list, and surely others.
Horror: The Clocktower
The Clocktower was an obscure title for the original Sony Playstation system in the survival horror genre. It often resided in the shadow of Resident Evil, a similar game that eclipsed it in popularity, as made clear by the success of several Resident fims.
The Clocktower game, though, has a horrifying premise. The player is simply a character that must escape the Clocktower, by finding the right objects, and all the while running and hiding from a figure that is constantly pursuing him or her. This antagonist wields a giant pair of gardening shears, relentlessly opening and closing them, creating a terrifying sound marked by its loudness in relation to how close they are to you. This causes a wonderfully scary effect, whereas you can hear him approaching, or know he is in the next room, or other obvious effects that would also suit well for a creepy movie.
War: Call of Duty
War films are traditionally successful. Even if they never achieve the accolades of Saving Private Ryan or the illustrious Schindler’s List, there is always a willing audience for a good World War II flick. Enter Call of Duty, which is a franchise that has spawned several successful games. The first game begins with the beach landing of Normandy, a harrowingly realistic encounter that sets the tone for the rest of the missions. What better path to tread in filmdom than the Normandy landing?
This list is by no means definitive, in either the accuracy of its predictions nor the scope of its inclusions. It is certainly fun, though, to contemplate which video games will make the greatest movies; after all, the continuing demand for video games ensures the continuing demand for movies based on them.