Weekend Roundtable: Worst Videogame to Adapt into a Movie

Even though movies based on videogames have a terrible track record, Hollywood keeps trying to make them work. With ‘The Angry Birds Movie’, we’ve reached a phase where even games that may seem impossible to adapt into narrative fiction are getting adapted anyway. Can you think of any games even less suitable to make movies from?

Brian Hoss

The five ‘Dark Souls‘ games (‘Dark Souls I – III’, ‘Demon’s Souls’ & ‘Bloodborne’) make for a dynamic, popular game franchise with a passionate community. The games are deep, able to be enjoyed in a variety of ways, and exist in world full of story possibilities. A ‘Dark Souls’ movie, however, would be a terrible idea. The moment-to-moment gameplay of challenging combat, exploration and frequent death would not all translate for a passive viewer in a two-hour movie. The game’s lore is experienced best when teased and puzzled out. NPCs that are suddenly murdered or elsewise betray the player are another aspect that wouldn’t have the same effect in a movie. In fact, Eli Roth has already helped to prove much of this with his recent ‘Dark Souls III’ animated trailer.

Luke Hickman

I’d like to see ‘Paperboy‘ turned into a terrible movie. Picture it: Shia LaBeouf plays a paperboy who sees everything that happens in his neighborhood. As he rides around delivering newpapers, he causes all sorts of mischief – like knocking down open car hoods, hitting the angry dogs with papers, and taking sweet jumps through dirt piles in people’s yards. Of course, he sees the new cute girl that just moved in, but he also sees evidence of a house that he suspects as haunted. With his new girlfriend-to-be by his side, he’ll have to save the neighborhood from the ghouls that are causing trouble.

[Ed. Note: The Zach Efron movie called ‘The Paperboy‘ was unrelated to the game. -JZ]

Shannon Nutt

Pong‘. First you’d need to find two lifeless actors to play the parts on both sides. That’s the easy part. Then you need to find a way to make hitting a ball (CGI of course) back and forth for two hours entertaining. It’s a horrible idea, but now that I’m thinking about it, it can’t be any worse than ‘Pixels’. Someone get Rob Schneider and David Spade on the phone… I smell a hit!

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is the ‘Dead or Alive Xtreme‘ series, a spinoff of the long-running ‘Dead or Alive’ fighting game franchise. Rather than battling it out to the death, the franchise’s impossibly busty female brawlers are instead whisked away (or somehow tricked into a visit) to Zack Island for a two-week vacation. Powered by the jiggle physics of the “Soft Engine,” the series’ visuals are an unrelenting barrage of cheesecake.

One of the key mechanics is to befriend other girls, and if they like you enough, they’re more willing to accept ridiculously revealing bikinis as gifts. The original game opens with a cinematic of one vixen feeding another strawberries, and the first sequel one-upped that by having two girls lick the same ice cream cone together. Its characters will seize any opportunity to lean over or writhe around on the beach. You can zoom the camera head-on into their cleavage if you’re so inclined. For crying out loud, there’s a minigame called ‘Butt Battle’. It’s basically jousting in a swimming pool, only without the lance, horses or armor. If one of the girls falls, her swimsuit starts to fall off. The latest game in the series, ‘Dead or Alive Xtreme 3’, will even let the girls fling themselves around a stripper pole after-hours. Also, the girls change their swimsuits in front of you, and although you’re asked to keep your eyes closed, you can press a button and open them whenever you want.

Scowl in my general direction if you’d like, but the ‘Xtreme’ series’ volleyball minigames are genuinely fun, so much so that even my wife is completely addicted. (Now I don’t feel so badly about importing the most recent installment from Hong Kong; no domestic release is on the horizon.) Even though Dimension Films produced a nearly universally reviled adaptation of the ‘Dead or Alive’ fighting games ten years ago, I have no idea how the ‘Xtreme’ spinoffs could be made into anything resembling a movie. There’s no story or characterization to speak of, there’s no overarching villain, there are no meaningful hurdles to overcome, there is no goal its characters are desperately trying to achieve, and the final day of the vacation is indistinguishable from the first.

‘Lollipop Chainsaw’, though… there’s a game that desperately needs to be adapted for the big screen.

Josh Zyber

I was all set to crack a joke about how idiotic it would be to make a movie out of the popular falling-block puzzler ‘Tetris’, but then some dipshit producer announced that he’s doing exactly that. Have we really come to this?

Failing that, the only thing I can think of that might be worse is ‘Candy Crush‘. If I put a few minutes of lazy effort into it, I’m sure I could churn out a painfully stupid pitch about kids getting transported to a magical land made of candy where they have to defeat an evil vegetable-loving sourpuss by combining different candies together, but I fear that I’ve already said too much and have just gotten some junior studio executive a big promotion.

What videogames have you played that absolutely should never be made into movies?

21 comments

  1. Csm101

    Streetfighter with Van Damme. Oh wait, they did that one already. How about Double Dragon with Robert Partrick as the bad guy? That too?! Mario Bros? Silent Hill? Tomb Raider?!
    I’m gonna have to go with Sims. What the hell is that game about anyways? It doesn’t matter, you don’t really need a plot to make a movie.

    • Deaditelord

      I’m waiting for the Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat sequel where an aged Christopher Lambert squares off against CGI Raul Julia in a fight to the death. When CGI Raul wins, the camera will pan over to a grief-stricken Van Damme who attempts to give his best Revenge of the Sith “Nooooooooo!!!!” until he’s punched in the junk by Johnny Cage.

      On second thought, I might actually like to see that movie.

    • Chaz

      Silent Hill was actually pretty damn good, they got the visuals from the game down perfect….story line was alright but nothing amazing, the sequel however was pretty bad. Silent Hill is definitely one of the best adaptions of a game out there

  2. Both good and bad..

    I did not hate Hitman like so many people did. The followup movie Agent 47 I have not seen.
    OTOH I do not much like the Silent Hill movies and they have made quite a few.

    • Chaz

      They only made two, first one was very faithful to the game and the second was pretty blah….havent done one since so that tells you a lot 😉

  3. Elizabeth

    Q-bert: The Movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. Known for borrowing heavily from the stylings of other directors, Tarantino attempts to deliver a deep foreign film. But the jumping orange ball with the long nose known as Q-bert speaks only in unsubtitled Q-bert-ese for 3 hours. Starring Samuel L. Jackson as Coily, the purple coiled snake.

  4. How can ‘Tetris The Movie’ ever be budgeted at $80 million!? Didn’t they learn anything from ‘Pixels’? If you absolutely must make a ‘Tetris’ movie (it could work as a quirky, indie-esque small personal film), have a realistic budget that has a shot at being recoupable. 80 million!? ‘Back to the Future’ cost $19 million in 1985. That’s $42 million today. That movie still looks ace. There’s NO WAY a ‘Tetris’ movie should cost 2x BTTF. Get a grip, Hollywood.

    • Crewcrusher

      Actually, TETRIS producer Lawrence Kasanoff learned a lot from producing MORTAL KOMBAT 1 & 2: how they made him $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    • EM

      William, I was not familiar with it. The trailer looks somewhat amusing, but I’m not sure the humor can sustain itself for two hours.

      Elizabeth, thanks for helping out those who won’t get my joke on their own.

  5. Crewcrusher

    DARK SOULS would be an awful film because you would have to spend 100 hours memorizing every detail of the first 15 minutes of the movie in order to get to the next 15 minutes of the movie.

  6. This is kind of a weird topic. There’s already so many movies that suck, now we’re supposed to think if movies that WOULD suck if they ever got made? How about best videogames to adapt into a film?

  7. Utopia from Intellivision. You have hurricanes coming through, destroying crops, while dictators bring their heavy hands down on the civil unrest. Some real, meaty stuff here.

  8. William Henley

    Any type of real time strategy, God, or building game would suck translated to a movie. I mean, think of movies based on games such as SimCity, Railroad Tycoon, Ages of Empires, Populous, Actraiser, Black and White. Any game by Kairosoft (could you imagine a movie based on Game Dev Story? I know that Anime Studio Story says it would be highly popular, but I seriously doubt it).

    Duck Hunt and Track And Field. Man, would those make for boring movies, although they would probably be fairly popular as television shows. I mean, look at Bass Pro Fishing – there may not be a show with that exact name, but fishing shows are pretty popular.

    Leisure Suit Larry – Fun game, but imagine slapping a white suit on Danny Devito where he gets nasty with the ladies. Yeah, really don’t want to see that.

    Katamari Damachi -Alien comes to earth, devours anything it touches and it becomes part of “The Blob”. Sounds like an awful idea for a movie

    Superman 64 – Henry Cavil flies through rings

    MULE – Miners settle on a planet, mine minerals

    Frogger – Frog gets crushed trying to cross the street. Now this may actually be a good movie if we change this from him simply crossing the street to him being chased, and it turns into a Road Trip movie. Add in a bear and a pig and a dog, and possibly a touring rockband, and some celebrity cameos, and you may have a hit.

    I was about to say F-Zero, then I started thinking about what an F-Zero movie would look like, and decided that I would actually like to see that. In fact, I am kinda surprised no one has done anything with it.

    • Chaz

      Leisure Suit Larry I could see as a 40 year old virgin type movie, actually that might be the equivalent to the game already 🙂 But I could see them mixing it up and making it a raunchy comedy, those are highly in right now and usually pretty funny

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