Weekend Roundtable: Inappropriate Videogame Tie-Ins

Last month, we had a Roundtable about movies that would be inappropriate to convert to 3D. This week, we bring you a similar topic. As much as the videogame industry loves to license movie titles for the easy brand name recognition, some movies should really never, ever be turned into tie-in games. Here are some of the worst ideas we could imagine.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

How about a first-person shooter based on ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’? You are Jean-Dominique Bauby. Press X to… Wait, never mind, that wouldn’t work. Instead, you press A to… Well, I guess jumping’s not an option. Or shooting. Or running. Or walking. Or looking around. Oooh! I’ve got it. Press the left trigger to blink your left eyelid. Now that I have the controls worked out, I just have to figure out how to shoehorn mecha-dragons into the story. Wow, I’m a terrible person.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

  1. ‘Schindler’s List Prisoner Pick-Off’ – Shoot as many stray concentration camp prisoners as you can from your window using a sniper rifle. Bonus points for children and old gypsies.
  2. ‘Contagion Bug Escape’ – Play as the virus to see if you can avoid extermination. Travel the world and destroy humanity.
  3. ‘Shakespeare in Love Monologue Memorization’ – It’s fun for kids!
  4. ‘The Hobbit’s Pocket Handkerchief Picker’ – Help Bilbo sort through and select the perfect pocket handkerchief to take on his adventure. Then spend another hour deciding what to pack, only to leave the pocket handkerchief behind.

Bryan Kluger

‘The Sims: Schindler’s List Expansion Pack’. This new game from EA will have you construct replicas of the camps and ghettos from the World War II era. You’ll be in charge of feeding, working and murdering people to reach quotas and earn money, to which you can purchase new ways to exterminate your populations. You can build new rail cars to bring new prisoners in.

Then, you’ll reach a point where you inherit the Oskar Schindler character and will be able to set up escape passages to his camps and provide the survivors with food and better shelter. Once enough survivors have moved over to Schindler’s safe base, you can purchase weapons to take out the Nazi regimen.

***Bonus Downloadable Content***

Once downloaded, you can spend your in-game money to summon the deceased victims into zombies and send them on attacks to the neighboring Nazi controlled areas and towns.

Brian Hoss

I don’t believe the implication that, while films can focus on difficult subject matter, videogames should stick to Michael Bay territory. Nevertheless, games that glorify tragic events in a reprehensible manner appear with regularity, only to be publicized instantly by the blogosphere. For what I hope is a hypothetical example, just consider ‘And the Band Played On.’ While the content could be used to make a game that poignantly relates events as the book and movie did (but interactively,) it could also be tastelessly gamified. The player could be put in a position to forcefully ignore the spreading epidemic and deny funds for research. The interactivity would (I suppose) make the game even more inappropriate than a film set along the same lines.

Luke Hickman

There are two types of videogames that I abhor: sports games and movie-based games. The combination of the two would just be awful. So, how about a ‘Life of Pi’ game where you have to stay alive on a boat with a tiger? There’s no end to the game; instead, a timer keeps track of how long you’ve stayed alive. Like ‘Robot Unicorn Attack’, you have to keep it going as long as you can, warding off the tiger, fishing for food, surviving gorgeous hallucinations, and staying dry during huge storms. Two months after the game is released, an expansion pack will come out with the [SPOILER ALERT] alternate version of the story [END SPOILER]. As much as I love the film, this would be the worst game ever.

Josh Zyber

I have many bad ideas along these lines, most of which involve games based on movies based on real events. For example:

  1. A ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ FPS. Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t already been made. This can spawn a whole franchise. ‘ZDT’ will be the next ‘Call of Duty’, complete with spin-offs set in past wars or the near future.
  2. A ‘127 Hours’ survival horror title – Fight off rattlesnakes, insects and buzzards with your one good arm while trying to saw off your other! A downloadable expansion pack adds zombies, because of course it does.
  3. A ‘Black Hawk Down’ castle defense game – Protect your crashed helicopter from wave after wave of attacking Somali militants (and zombies… because, again, of course). Play it on your iPhone!
  4. A ‘United 93’ flight simulator. (Commence groaning now.)

Were these too tasteless, or just tasteless enough? Give us your worst ideas in the Comments.


  1. I bowed out this week because I didn’t think I had any good ideas, but Chris’ Schinder’s List game was what I would have submitted. Mine wasn’t nearly as bad…I was just going to round them up for the train trips. 🙂

  2. plissken99

    Going back to last weeks well, The Passion of the Christ RPG! Choose the best instrument to torture Jesus with, and hit X to do it repeatedly! It would get repetitive pretty quick though…

    The Grey, a survival horror game where you have to run for shelter while fending off viscious wolves… eventually the game ends like the movie.

    The old Death Race 2000, where your awarded points for running down old people, women children and pregnant women. GTA with a point system lol.

  3. JM

    ‘Spring Breakers’ – As a knock-off of ‘Catherine.’ You have to control all four bikini girls, switching between them on the fly, up the tower of shots, beating off alien frat dudes, while James Franco tries to impale you with his demon cock.

  4. malakai

    Driving Miss Daisy, the board game. Roll the dice to find out where you’re going to take Miss Daisy next. Then watch a random 16-bit FMV of Daisy being driven around town. Randomly, the car runs hot or hits a pothole in the road and breaks down, and you don’t get credit for the mileage Daisy is driven. The person with the most mileage at the end of the game wins.

  5. brett

    The Brady Bunch Game
    Hannibal Lecter (need i say more?)
    12 Angry Men (42 hours of pure dialog driven gameplay!)
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (try not to get spiked!lol)
    Inception (i can just imagine how confusing this could be)
    The Pianist (rock band style game where missing a key results in a Nazi style execution!)
    Gone With the Wind (really>?)
    The King’s Speech (an rpg style game with lots of stuttering)
    From Justin to Kelly (AHHHH!)
    Glitter (for the 3DS! LOL)

      • I own that cartridge, and some, repeat some elements of the game are cool. Whenever one of the players falls asleep in the game, by say not picking up enough coffee power-ups, you face Freddy in a boss battle. Freddy can’t be beaten, as the player will always wake up.

        Running around trying to get to Freddy’s bones gets really tough- especially in the junk yard level. The best/worst part is the end. Finding all of Freddy’s bones, and defeating him nets the player a ‘The End’ screen, which quickly turns into ‘The End?,’ which of course is a complete cop-out of an ending.

  6. Barsoom Bob

    Any Lars Von Trier film

    Think of it, genital mutilation with talking Fox.

    () Nymphomaniac
    BTW Sigor Ros should call their lawyer about that poster.

    Extreme Depression as the World comes to an end.

    Really, this guy is more fun than a barrel of greased monkeys.

  7. William Henley

    Someone already took my idea for Driving Miss Daisy, but I think that it should be a tie in between with the Need for Speed Hot Pursit francise. If the cops don’t get you, Miss Daisy will.

    Flatliners with full sensory input.

    Sex, Lies, and Videotape

    Um, yeah.

    Dreamer Based on a True Story. Actually, that might actually sell pretty well to young girls.

    Any American Girl movie (don’t fight back, Chrissa! Stay off that leg and study McKenna! Return the horse to his owner, Felicity!). Yeah, pretty lame games there.

    The 40 Yar Old Virgin (wait, isn’t that called Leisure Suit Larry)

    Dune. Harvest spice. Avoid death. Actually, this could work, if we take on additional books, like start a Jihad, take over planets. Yeah, we could set a game in the Dune universe, as long as it doesn’t stay too litteral to the movie or books. As long as we don’t have a Bene Gesseret breeding mini-game, we should be fine.

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture. CGI shot of the ship. CGI shot of shuttle going around the ship. CGI shot of the ship pulling out of space dock with a little guy waving at them. Decker has verbal confrontation with Kirk (you can select a few responses). CGI shot of the Enterprise entering V’Ger. Beautiful game, no action.

    Star Trek The Final Frontier for the Playstation Eye or XBox Kinect. Actually, might be fun to see some videos on YouTube of people trying to get a perfect score on the Uhura fan dance scene.

    E.T.. Oh wait (yeah, I went there).

    Let’s combine Annie with the Grand Theft Auto engine. Annie spends the whole game running away from people and getting out of traps.

    Titaninc. Score with a first-class passanger, make it to the captain’s table, Dance Dance Celtic Revolution, make sure girl doesn’t die.

    • Barsoom Bob

      There was a Command and Conquer spin off game set in the Dune universe. I played the first one and I think they even made a sequel. Actually a pretty good fit, not inappropriate. Alas, such as John Carter, it was labeled a failure before it even opened, so there wasn’t exactly a public clamoring to play a Dune game.

      • Paul

        Actually, you got that backwards. The Dune game was released way before C&C, and it was actually a promotional game to push sales for a sound card by Roland, i.e. it had (at the time) spectacular sound. Also, it did not suck at all. I played it, and it was much more solid than most C&C games that came after it.

        • Barsoom Bob

          Might even have been the late eighties.

          Paul I enjoyed the game as I have enjoyed most things from the Dune-verse. I was speaking about the public perception of the film when it was released. Some NY society columnist, I think Cindy Adams, saw the advance screening and to make a easy joke said in her Daily News column, “They should change the name from Dune to Doomed”, before the movie even opened. I wanted to feed her to a Sandworm for that comment. At the time of release the only critic I read that “got” that movie was the Village Voice reviewer, he called it “visionary”.

          • Josh Zyber

            There were actually two Dune computer games released in 1992. One was an adventure game based on the novel (using some imagery from the movie):


            The other, “Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty” was basically the first “real-time strategy” game. It had nothing to do with the movie.


            This one was popular enough to spawn a sequel called “Dune 2000” in 1998.

            Confusingly, the 1992 games were developed by unrelated studios but both were released by Virgin Interactive.

            As for the movie, it’s biggest defenders at the time of its release were David Ansen from Newsweek and author Harlan Ellison. Ellison called it “The Gone with the Wind and Birth of a Nation of science fiction films.”

          • William Henley

            Ah, okay, I remember Dune 2000 – but I was not a fan of the Dune-verse at the time, and didn’t make the connection.

            Truthfully, the first dozen or so times I saw the movie, I hated it. I liked the Sci-Fi Channel version, but wouldn’t have called myself a fan. Now I am reading the books, and went back and saw the movie and mini-series again, and now I am a fan. A new fan, but still a fan.

    • EM

      Aaaaaah, I think most of that vitriol against E.T. is sour grapes from folks who were lousy at playing it. Eat my Reese’s!

      • William Henley

        It might help if falling in a well happened if I was actually near the well, rather than a fifth of the screen away. Also, pretty sure my parents bought my copy used – there was no instruction manual, and I never could figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

  8. Elizabeth

    The Sims: Human Centipede expansion – how will you keep your Sims happy when they’re all connected?

    Star Wars: Padawan Purge – control Anakin as he uses Force powers and his light saber to kill Jedi children. Over and over again.

    Hannibal: Cooking Simulator – Brains, the other white (and gray) meat

    Pirates RPG (the adult one, not the Johnny Depp one) – Find wenches to “wax your plank” while you lead your crew to endless booty (calls)

  9. CriticalMass

    Chris Boylan’s idea for a Contagion game is kinda already in existence… check out Plague Inc. on iOS.