Jumping on the comic book adaptation craze, Hollywood has tried multiple times to adapt a popular video game for the big screen, where the film version can sometimes make money, but still almost always results in a dull and disappointing product. The reasoning for this seems clear: stretched out video game narratives don’t lend themselves well to condensed plots—are you really going to make a Grand Theft Auto or Metal Gear movie fit neatly into an hour-and-a-half? Nah.
On the opposite side of that same coin, simple plots that provide a basic backdrop for games are no easier to translate for screenwriters. Try as you might to make it work, a lizard capturing a princess so she can be saved by her boyfriend after he wraps up his 9-to-5 unclogging toilets is not a plot that can hold people’s attention, unless it involves challenging gameplay and super-tight controls.
Regardless of those major hurdles, studios keep trying. What results is a plethora of forgettable titles racking up about a 22 percent (or lower) on Rotten Tomatoes.
The reverse, turning movies to video games, can still be dicey, but seems to be much more likely to provide exceptional results. This was proven by Rockstar when they made The Warriors kind of out of nowhere, more than 25 years after it came out, or (most famously for people my age) Rare, when they opted to take a two-year-old Bond movie and make Goldeneye, which turned into a ‘90s gaming magnum opus, talked about on the playground by dorks and non-dorks alike.
There’s money to be made by digging into cinema’s past, where you can snatch an idea, pay some royalties, add some filler content, and then pump it out for loads of dough. The only trick is, you’ve got to pick wisely, because otherwise loads of dough can devolve into a lecture pondering what kind of fucking idiot dedicates millions of dollars and years of development to a half-baked idea they read on an internet slideshow.
As always, the choice is yours. Here are our 10 movies that should have been made into video games.