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?
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.
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]
‘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.
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?