Resident EvilBad video game movies must die.

Die I tell you! DIE! DIE! DIE!

Why must they die? Because they’re abominable, boring, execrable, insipid, laughable, mangled, half digested heaps of steaming mediocrity produced by a film industry that wouldn’t know a good video game plot if their brains were being gnawed from their skulls by ravenous zombies!

Hey! Wait a moment! That sounds like an AWESOME idea for a movie <insert dripping sarcasm here>.

On September 4th, the latest wretched incarnation of ‘Bad Video Game Movies That Must Die’ was released into theatres. It’s called GAMER. To use the trite Hollywood movie metaphor – think ‘Total Recall‘ meets ‘Death Race 2000‘ meets ‘Tron‘. Prison convicts are being electronically mind controlled by hormonally raging adolescent males in a video game Thunderdome of gratuitous explosions and splattered gore. One convict gets all noble and tries to communicate with his teenage master  to give him freedom of thought so he can beat the system and gain his freedom (cue Russell Crowe and Gladiator). Add third rate rapper Ludacris as some sort of sage hacker who gets an acute case of remorse for creating the Master Control Program (Tron) that makes it all possible. Toss in a hideously awful buzz saw music soundtrack and you have the latest turgid offering to the stinking pile of bad video game movies produced in the last 20 years.

There’s a classic Super Nintendo game that is far more entertaining than this dreck of a movie. It’s called SUPER SMASH TV and was published by Williams in the mid 1990’s. Save your money and buy Super Smash TV instead. You can find versions of this game available for the Playstation 2 and on XBox Live.

Hollywood and the video game industry have had a tumultuous relationship with each other for many years. Since the 1980’s, the film studios salivated over the large revenues that could be realized from commercially successful hit video games. Game developers were envious of the film industry’s ability to combine story and technology to create intense experiences for the viewing audience. When I attended the Computer Game Developer’s Conference at San Jose’ in 1994, I remember the esoteric game designer Chris Crawford standing in front of the large assembled audience, proclaiming ‘…Hollywood will save the video game industry!’ <Note: Those are the actual words he used. We all heard him say it>.

Here are some realities about video games and Hollywood that are not openly mentioned by many game developers:

Hollywood views video games as one more stream of revenue. The quality of game play in a video game based on a movie is unimportant to them. It’s all about promoting the licence.

It is true that global revenues from the video game industry rival or exceed global box office revenues from hit Hollywood movies these days. But when you include total DVD and other franchise revenues, the movie industry still dwarves the video game industry. Hollywood makes more money.

The overwhelming majority of all published video games based on motion pictures have been commercial disasters for game publishers. A good plot and believable characters on screen do not necessarily translate into great game play.

Up to this point, I’ve mostly talked about Hollywood licensing a movie for use in a video game. But what about licensing a video game to Hollywood for a movie? Or, as in the case of GAMER, a movie loosely based on video games?

Here’s my best attempt at remembering as many video game based movies as I can from 1982 to 2009:

Tron

The Wizard

Super Mario Brothers

The Last Starfighter

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Double Dragon

Alone in the Dark

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider 2

DOOM

House of the Dead

Gamer

Double Dragon

Street Fighter 2

Resident Evil

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil: Extinction

Dead or Alive

House of the Dead

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy: Advent Children

Wing Commander

Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King

Max Payne

Hitman

Postal

Bloodrayne

If you asked me to identify the BEST of these movies, I would nominate:

Tron

The Wizard

The Last Starfighter

Mortal Kombat

Tomb Raider

Final Fantasy: Advent Children

If you asked me to identify the most hideous of these movies, I would nominate:

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Resident Evil (All three movies)

House of the Dead

Hitman

Postal

Dead or Alive

Wing Commander

Bloodrayne

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

There’s an excellent video at the Game Trailers website about the Top Ten Worst Video Game Movies.

The good Doctor has more to say about video game based movies. Stay tuned.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

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