December 25, 2023

From Pixel to Picture: 10 Video Games That Conquered the Silver Screen

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From Pixel to Picture: 10 Video Games That Conquered the Silver Screen

By Joel | December 25, 2023
Dive into the evolution of video games with our list of 10 video game movies that made a blockbuster impact, and a few that game-overed on the silver screen.

Video games have been a dominant form of entertainment since the 1970s, evolving from simple pixelated screens to immersive worlds filled with rich narratives and complex characters.

These virtual playgrounds have amassed huge fan bases, making them ripe for adaptation into another beloved medium: film. Not every transition from console to cinema has been successful, but some have managed to capture the essence of their source material and gain critical acclaim, while others have served as cautionary tales for how not to adapt a beloved game.

The High Scores

  1. Warcraft (2016) - Blizzard Entertainment's epic fantasy game series burst onto movie screens with Duncan Jones at the helm. The film offered an ambitious blend of live-action and CGI to bring the land of Azeroth to life.
  2. Detective Pikachu (2019) - Pokémon charmed its way into a live-action setting with Ryan Reynolds voicing the iconic Pikachu. This film showed that with the right blend of humor and heart, a video game movie could be a universal hit.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) - Sonic's big-screen debut was met with initial skepticism, especially regarding its character design. However, after a revamp and some fan service, Sonic raced to box office success.
  4. Tomb Raider (2018) - Lara Croft returned to cinemas with Alicia Vikander taking up the iconic dual pistols. This reboot drew inspiration from the recent video games, offering a grittier take on the titular heroine's origin story.
  5. Resident Evil series (2002-2016) - A pioneer in adapting video games, this franchise starring Milla Jovovich expanded on the zombie-infested universe of Capcom's classic games over six films.
  6. Mortal Kombat (1995) - Bringing to life the brutal combat of the games, this adaptation embraced its source material with a mix of martial arts action and fantasy elements.
  7. Silent Hill (2006) -  Known for its atmospheric horror, Silent Hill translated well visually and thematically into film, even if it diverged from the game's storyline.
  8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) - With high production values and an adventurous spirit, this movie aimed to capture the essence of the acrobatic gameplay and rich storytelling of its video game counterpart.
  9. Assassin's Creed (2016) - This film sought to weave together the game's present-day storyline with its historical backdrops, featuring Michael Fassbender in a dual role.
  10. Rampage (2018) - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson starred in this action-packed monster film inspired by the arcade classic, proving that sometimes fun and chaos are all an adaptation needs to succeed.

The Game Overs

Not all video game adaptations have fared well, however. Here are a few that did well as games, but flopped on the big screen:

  • Super Mario Bros. (1993) A notorious flop that struggled to translate the charm of its source material into a live-action format.
  • Alone in the Dark (2005) This movie strayed far from its survival-horror roots and was panned for its incoherent plot and poor execution.
  • Doom (2005) Despite starring Dwayne Johnson, this film failed to capture the adrenaline-fueled action of the game, disappointing fans and critics alike.

Levelling Up

The future looks bright for video game movies with more upcoming projects like "Uncharted" and "The Last of Us" series in development. The key to transitioning from pixel to picture lies in respecting the original material while crafting a cinematic story that stands on its own.

For more on video game adaptations and their varying degrees of success, check out ScreenRant's breakdown of game-to-film ventures or explore IGN's coverage on upcoming adaptations.

Whether you're reliving your favorite in-game moments or experiencing these stories for the first time, the fusion of video games and movies is an entertainment crossover that continues to evolve and excite audiences worldwide.

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