July 28, 2011

The Black Hole Presents: Top 5 Video Games That Could Make Awesome Movies Providing They Got Good Stories, Directors, Actors, and Things Like That

Video games are sort of guilty pleasure for me. I do my best to talk about other, more interesting things with my friends, value other things above them, and would be perfectly happy if Xboxes and PS3s were outlawed tomorrow. But, what can I say? Sometimes, all I want to do is sit down on the couch and interact with some shit, whether with a deep, engaging RPG, or a chaotic and intense shooter.

As of the last few years, we've seen many a game given the cinematic treatment. Unfortunately, they all tend to suck harder than... something that sucks hard. So bad is the reputation of the "video-game movie", that many people will condemn a film just for being based on a game, and justifiably so.

But, it needn't be this way. The best director, most talented cast, and largest budget mean nothing if the property isn't sound, and don't get me wrong, there are tons of games that could very easily make good movies, if the people making them were smart about it. Don't believe me? Fine, here are five of them. Suck on this!

5. inFAMOUS: A massive explosion in downtown Empire City sets off a chaotic string of events, at the center of which is Cole McGrath, a bicycle courier who survives the blast and finds himself bestowed with awesome electrical superpowers. The game was an effective mix of open world, Assassin's Creed style exploration and third person shooting. The thing that set it apart from other games of its ilk was its moral choice system. At multiple points, the player is tasked with deciding to a hero, or be a villain. The hero decision helps others at your expense, while the villain option sends bountiful amounts of goodies your way, leaving nothing for the poor helpless civilians. While it would be impossible to bring the moral choice system into the movie, it could provide ample and provocative character development for the character of Cole. The action would be stylized and visceral, while Cole's agility and ease of movement could provide for some pretty spectacular acrobatics. 

4. Red Dead Redemption: 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit showed us that there's still a place for westerns in the movie houses, and Red Dead Redemption proves that westerns could be done brilliantly in games. The story follows John Marston, a former gang member tasked with capturing or killing his former "brothers in arms"at the behest of some shady Federal agents holding his wife and son hostage. One of the major themes of the game is how the Old West is dying, and modern day technology (such as trains, electricity, and telephones) is taking its place, which is certainly something that could be used to offer subtext in between all the horseback riding and gun fights. As is customary for a Rockstar game, the story is very well thought out and incredibly mature, building real and relatable characters in the midst of all the mayhem, while injecting some truly biting, satirical humor into the mix. But, if the movie should take anything away from the game, it's the look. Red Dead Redemption is a gorgeous game, so much so that it is arguably more fun to just ride your horse around and marvel at the landscape. If that's not something the movie should utilize, I don't know what it is.

3. Fallout: Set in the ruins of a post nuclear war world, the Fallout series paints a very real portrait of a violent and unforgiving environment, rife with intrigue, exploration, humor, and more mutant dogs than you could shake a laser rifle at. Fallout excelled at combining steampunk and futuristic, archaic with revolutionary. Even in the end game, it still trips you out to hear a classic 50s song from the radio as you're blasting super mutants with your souped up mini nuke launcher. The games always had deep stories that, while probably a little broad and meandering for a film, could provide ample material to craft a script. The violence should be sparse, but brutal, as it is in the game. The main draw should be the myriad of varied and deep characters that crop up throughout the story, from an incredibly obnoxious (and quite possibly invincible) store clerk, to an enigmatic man in sunglasses and fedora, to a mutant tree. No, seriously. A mutant tree.

2. Jak and Daxter: Many will probably not agree with me on this one. I don't care. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was the first game I fell in love, and the two sequels only deepened that love as the story got darker and more complex. The series runs the gambit of game types, from tricky platforming, to intense combat, to over the top racing, to one on one combat with larger than life bosses. The world that the games created was so original and vivid, from the bright, cheery forests and canyons of the first game, to the dirty and harsh streets of Haven City in the following games. The characters were all delightfully quirky, especially Daxter, the small, orange, wisecracking "ottsel". The stories, while initially straightforward, ended up dealing with such big things as divine entities, moral corruption, redemption, and dark, apocalyptic forces. This is a property ripe of picking. Just think of the sweeping fantasy that could be wrought from a game such as this.

1. Mass Effect: Easy. When you think about it, you can't fathom picking any other game than Mass Effect for the movie treatment. I mean, it's practically a movie already. Following the exploits of Commander Shepard, a human marine in a galaxy full of explorable worlds, different alien races, and myriads of choices to make, as he fights to stop a centuries old threat from returning from the fringes of dark space to wreak havoc on all civilization. Mass Effect really is an epic game. Right from the off, you have a whole galaxy to explore. You have tons of planets to discover. You have an untold amount of secrets to find. You have hundreds of battles to win. You have thousands of characters to interact with, and every single one of your choices effects how those interactions will play out. Everything that happens in Mass Effect, from the destruction of a factory, to the reconciliation of two lovers, has the potential to drastically alter the entire outcome of the game. The combat is fast and furious, as you and your squad zip around the field, using your "biotic" or "tech" powers to annihilate your foes. Now, tell me that wouldn't make an awesome movie. The big, sweeping scale of the game is perfect for a movie, as is the complex and engaging story. The characters are some of the best seen in any medium, all with varied and conflicted backstories. And don't even get me started on what they could do with the combat in the filmic circle. All I can say is that, it would be ethereal. Apparently, somebody else got the same idea as me, and a Mass Effect movie is already in the works. I really hope it doesn't suck, cuz that would suck. :)

Well, that's all for that. Questions?


  1. Bioshock. Unique world. Good plot. Both visual arresting and emotionally engaging. Apparently currently in development hell. Wish it could find a way out.

  2. Totally with you on Jak and Daxter. One of my favorite series'. If it were done in animation like FF7: Advent Children, I think it could work very well.

    Also, the Devil May Cry series would make a great film.