After almost three decades of abysmally shitty console-to-screen adaptations, can we please agree that movies based on video games are a terrible, terrible, terrible idea? From Super Mario Bros. through Prince of Persia, the genre is nothing more than a giant, gaping suckhole of commercial and critical failure.
So why are video games such awful fodder for the silver screen? It makes no sense that moviemakers can turn other pieces of cultural trash (see Angels & Demons, Harry Potter, Transformers) into passably entertaining blockbusters while awesome games like Resident Evil become unwatchable widescreen abortions.
Whatever ... Here are five reasons why video game movies suck.
1. Filler for Gameplay
Usually, game designers start by plotting how they want the game to play and not how the story will play out. Next step: Throw in a bunch of gratuitous princesses and zombies. And making everything worse, the thinnest and most mindless of them all, fighting games, are the ones that Hollywood gobbles up like foie gras. The result: Totally fucking awful movies full of empty 2-D characters. See: Street Fighter: The Movie, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Super Mario Bros., Dead or Alive.
2. Video Games Are Repetitive
Any game that lasts for more than ten minutes will repeat itself over and over and over again. You aren't going to shoot one demon. You're going to kill thousands. And every time you make a perfect head-shot, your entire body will quiver with orgasmic pleasure. Take that kind of non-stop, anti-narrative murder spree to the movie screen and all you get is visual diarrhea. See: Doom, Max Payne, Final Fantasy: Advent Children, House of the Dead.
3. Made for Teenagers
This tenet is losing some of its truth as more and more adult-themed games (like Law and Order, you pervert) flood the market. The fact is video games have long been engineered to suit the trashy tastes of rabid pubescent teens desperate for blood, boobs, and explosions. Those pasty teenage males are the ones who are shelling over their allowance to hang out full-time at Gamespot. You grownups are just hobbyists. So don't expect to see a video game that shines light on the intracacies of Proustian existentialism anytime soon. See: Resident Evil series, Tomb Raider, Dead or Alive.
4. Shitty Games Make Shitty Movies
You can't polish a turd. You'd think that movie execs would be on the lookout for quality source material. For some inexplicable reason, though, the crappiest video games get turned into movies. Much of it has to do with Uwe Boll, an infamous and prolific German director who found a loophole in the German tax code that allows him to finance some of the worst movies ever made. His ridiculous exploits include getting into a boxing ring with one of his biggest internet detractors and defending himself against a million-person petition demanding his retirement. See: Bloodrayne, Postal, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale.
Keep on dreaming.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
5. The Stories Are Stupid.
It's sad but true. For the most part, video game stories are really bad. The narratives rely on the same old tired stereotypes (the space marine, the Japanese ninja, the military commando, zombies, etc.) with only minor plot and gameplay changes. There are exceptions like Bioshock and Half-Life. But these games don't seem to be headed to the big screen. And maybe gamers should just enjoy their games where they belong ... In their parent's basement.