Video Game Movies

Every week in /Answers, we answer a new pop culture-related question. In this edition, we celebrate the release of Rampage by asking “What video game should become a movie?”

Vanessa Bogart: Wolfenstein

I have very little love to give when it comes to video game-based movies. I personally don’t want my 50-plus hours of blood, sweat, and tears in a game reduced to two hours of “good, dumb, fun.” However, when it comes to Wolfenstein, I would pay good money to see it on the big screen.

First Person Shooters are by far my go-to gaming genre, and if it has a super badass plot to go with it, even better. The draw of Wolfenstein is all plot and no mechanics. As an FPS game it fumbles, but my god, does this game have one of the greatest bat shit crazy amazing plots I have ever had the privilege of losing sleep over. You wake up from a coma to discover that the Axis Powers won World War II and now you have to go on a Nazi killing spree. Oh, and throw in the ever entrancing draw of science-fiction weaponry, mysterious ancient organizations, and a surprising amount of humanity.

So here in this 2018, post-Inglorious Bastards, politically unstable world, what could be more fun than some good ‘ol fast-paced, science-fiction-fueled, Nazi killin’? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

Jacob Hall: XCOM

For this answer, I was tempted to go with something like Red Dead Redemption or The Last of Us, video games that tell a cinematic story and are populated with fleshed-out characters you grow to care about as you play. But here’s the problem. Every time Hollywood attempts to adapt a video game with a story that’s worth a damn, they seem to inevitably screw it up. These games are masterpieces, their stories near-perfect, and maybe they should be just allowed to exist in their original forms.

So I’m throwing my support behind the XCOM series, a video game franchise whose story, whose drama, is often generated by chance. Let me explain. These games task you with stopping an alien invasion, charging you with building a base, managing resources, researching technology, and commanding the soldiers on the ground as they face extraterrestrial forces. While you issue commands and outfit your troops, you don’t have direct control over them – you simply issue orders and hope you make the right call.

And often, you will not make the right call. You will make all kinds of wrong calls. Your soldiers will die heroically, tragically, and hilariously. You’ll scream at your monitor and curse your poor decisions. Or your laugh triumphantly as a totally FUBAR’d situation suddenly turns around in your favor. The drama of XCOM is not scripted by the game developers (the storyline is barebones and not that thrilling on its own), but each game becomes increasingly personal as you invest in every moment, letting a story generate around you as you play. Rather than attempt to adapt a near-perfect video game story, a talented screenwriter should put 100-plus hours into XCOM, take notes on all of the outrageous, unexpected, amazing, and awful things that happen to their soldiers, and then write a movie around them. And it’ll be a personal work – they were there for all of it and felt all of that emotional whiplash.

Chris Evangelista: SkiFree

Remember SkiFree? The classic Microsoft game where a pixelated skier attempted to outrun a Yeti? How has Hollywood not tapped into this yet? It’s a goldmine waiting to happen. Picture this, if you will: a two-hour movie set entirely on the ski slopes – it’s never really been done before. Unless you count Frozen. No, not the Disney one – the one where twenty-somethings get stuck on a ski lift and proceed to succumb to the elements. But even that isn’t set on the slopes – it’s set on the ski lift. Anyway, I’m getting off topic here.

The SkiFree movie would feature Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Mortimer SkiFree, the world’s best skiing instructor. He’s skied every mountain in the world successfully, except the one from the game SkiFree. I don’t know what it’s name is; I don’t think it had a name in the game. Let’s call it Mt. SkiFree. Yes, I know the character’s name is SkiFree too; just go with it.

Mortimer SkiFree attempts to ski Mt. SkiFree, slalom, freestyle, and tree slalom-style. It won’t be easy: he’ll have to watch out for trees, stumps, dogs, and, of course, the Yeti. In order to please the fans, the Yeti in the movie will look exactly like it does in the game – a big white blob with stick-figure legs and arms.

I have no idea how this movie ends. Maybe Mortimer and the Yeti become friends? Anyway, let Werner Herzog direct and narrate the film, and you’ve got yourself a blockbuster. Boom – end of the video game movie curse.

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