Saturday, June 11, 2022

More Game-To-Film Adaptations ?

There has been a barrage of movies in recent years inspired by popular video games. Given that these video games were some of the most successful games ever released, you would think their movie adaptations would naturally be successful hits as well. However, just because games have loyal fan bases, and most fans will watch a movie, this does not guarantee the movie will be a hit:

When the movie fails to garner interest from folk that aren’t familiar with the video game, it does not bode well for its ratings. It doesn’t take a lot of research to uncover the fact that films based on video games have flopped.

Check IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes and the low scores of films like "Street Fighter", "Mortal Kombat" (2021), "Tomb Raider" (2018), "Uncharted" (2022), "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" (2016), "Dead or Alive" (2006) and a whole lot more, are uninspiring to say the least.

Some of the worst of the lot include 2003 film "House of the Dead" which has 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, "Mortal Kombat Annihilation" from 1997 which has 4%, and even "Assassin’s Creed", a wildly successful video game scored only 18%. In fact, there has been just one video game movie that has breached 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and it is the 2021 feature "Werewolves Within".

Why do Video Game Movies Flop?

Considering these terrible ratings, the question begs to be asked – why do movies premised around video games almost always fail? If you look at some of the most played video games since the inception of video games, you may find a common denominator. These games do have characters and plots, but there is hardly any depth to the characters or the story.

There is no need for 'depth' because it is just a video game. If you take "Super Mario Bros" as an example, it’s a plumber that’s jumping over flesh-eating plants to save a princess and that’s it. Even with this completely ludicrous storyline that has no further explanations or elaborations, the game is insanely popular with over 40 million units sold. As a game, it is a fun to play and riveting. As a movie – it simply doesn't have the right ingredients. 

A video game does not need to have a great plot and lots of character development, even though some do possess these qualities. These are not pivotal for the success of the video game. What makes a video game a hit is the playing experience that it is able to deliver to each player. It’s about how much fun the game is from a player’s perspective. When games are really good, at the end of the day, you can’t wait for it to be tomorrow so you can continue playing the game. A video game is a journey and each player will have a unique journey. Additionally, since all the details of how the story developed is not set in stone, the player’s imagination has a good time filling in the blanks. 

When film producers decide to piggy-back on the success of a video game and produce a movie associated with it, the movie fails to deliver the unique journey to each viewer as the game had done for each player. The movie also does not let the viewer use their imagination much since everything is right there for you to see and understand. You simply cannot deliver a game-like experience in a 2–3-hour movie.

A game has the potential to change and deliver something new each time you play it, but a movie is the exact same each time you play it, nothing changes even though your perceptions of it may. One of the most appealing features of video games is the individualized experience and memorable gameplay. It can easily be likened to playing at Canadian no deposit casinos. Many operators work tirelessly to provide cutting-edge graphics by partnering up with top tier gaming developers. This is particularly true for new providers, who like to be a cut above the rest to gain that competitive advantage.

Can Video Game Movies Get Better ?

There already are a few video game film adaptations that are half-decent. If you’re willing to consider movies with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of above 60%, then the following films will make the cut – "Sonic the Hedgehog" (2021), "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" (2022), "Pok√©mon Detective Pikachu" (2019), "The Angry Birds Movie 2" (2019) and previously mentioned "Werewolves Within" (2021). 

It is interesting to note that all of these movies are animated movies. Does that make any difference? Video game movies definitely can be better, considering there is room for improvement. 

Filmmakers might want to start thinking about interactive movies (like "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch") where the viewer is the decision maker to a certain extent. Alternatively, producers might also want to consider TV Series adaptations of video games rather than a movie. TV series’ tend to be longer, more involved, have better character development and is more of a journey (like playing a game) than a movie.

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