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The worst Video Game films and why they are likely to flop

The very first video game film was Super Mario Bros back in 1993. Since this light-hearted action-comedy quite a few game franchises have realised the potential of converting video games into films – with varying results. Here are the most common reasons why many games turned to films end up resembling half-heartedly made B movies.

Characters do not match

When a video game film is released, the biggest audience is the gamers themselves. That should be given. And game fans have expectations, they have spent a lot of time with the game. They know the world, and most of all, they know the character very well. This makes casting and how the character is being portrayed on screen vital for believability. If the character does not match their expectations, then people won’t buy it. Simple.

Tomb Raider is an example of a video game franchise that has a dedicated fan base. The hero of the story, Lara Croft, has a strong cult following. In 2018’s film version critics have pointed out that her film character didn’t quite manage to capture the essence of the gaming universes’ Lara Croft.


Thin plots & messing up the genre

Too many times, video game films are an extension of the video game franchise, which often means that the medium, film, hasn’t been given proper attention. Video game quests cannot be translated into a 90-minute film, the viewer wants more than that. Film needs way more events and setbacks to show the development of the character than a straightforward fighting game, for example. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1998) is a good bad example of this: the whole film has been built around fighting scenes in the hope of keeping the viewers entertained.

Also, genre change is a big downer for the dedicated viewer: it is like giving a biker a pink tutu skirt. For example, take Resident Evil (2002), which has been changed from horror to action. Remains to be seen whether the new Netflix adaptation on Resident Evil series does any better.


Film and game: two different things

Perhaps still the biggest reason why films originating from the gaming world will not be successful on screen is the fact that they are basically two completely different things.

What attracts most gamers is the ability to have an active role and drive the story by playing themselves. It takes skills and dedication. People enjoy popular video games such as the Nintendo franchise or go to online gaming sites such as Casinohuone, when they feel like having a more active role than what a passive movie viewer would have.

What comes to the film, it is all about immersing oneself to an environment and story that is determined – you are there just to enjoy the ride, so it better be a good one. Viewers are used to expecting more from the film plots and story structures that gaming films can provide. This is when the viewer often gets bored without the ability to drive things forward themselves.


Good video game films – do they exist?

Not all video game films are doomed to flop. Many video game fans really want their favourite characters to do well on screen. And there are positive examples of video game films as well – at least what comes to ticket sales. Who would have guessed that a yellow anime furball placed in an agent story would become such a hit? To many people’s surprise, Detective Pikachu (2019) grossed $433 ticket sales worldwide. Reviews have mentioned the Detective Pikachu film works because it has been produced like a film, providing developed character story arcs, plot twists, emotion, and relatability.

Perhaps for these reasons some kind souls have even rated the movie the best video game movie ever.

Perhaps Nintendo’s bulk approach has finally paid off – it certainly cannot be accused of lack of trying, that’s for sure: Nintendo franchise has already published all in all 23 animation films and one action film based on the Pokemon universe, so maybe it is high time to release one decent film…



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