I do more than just park my ass in front of the movie screen and watch movies. Sometimes I park my ass on the couch and read a good book – this week it’s Steven King’s Full Dark No Stars. Other times I park my ass in front of this computer and “surf the net” as they used to say back in the early 90’s – as if the online world were Mavericks and I were Johnny Utah trying to catch his first “tube”. I’ve also parked my ass on a dirt bike occasionally.
Still – and millions of man-children will agree with this – there’s just no better parking spot for your ass than in front of the television with an XBOX 360 or a Playstation 3 for company. Unless in some amazing twist of fate and financial ruin Natalie Portman was forced to work as a stripper… then a better ass-parking space would be on a chair, in a back room at the Spearmint Rhino with a ten dollar bill wagging between your teeth.
But even then it would be close.
So I play video games. I just did an article for the Playstation Nation about what movies I thought either haven’t been made into video games as of yet – or haven’t been made into good ones. Here’s the article:
The marriage between movies and video games has been a long, hostile alliance fraught with half-assed romantic sentiments and down right abusive behavior on both sides of the relationship.
Donna Peele, Denise Richards, Brooke Mueller… all three ladies have had better luck in matrimony than your typical game-to-film crossover. Or vice versa.
There have been a few, scant instances where the right developer ended up with the right film property and magic was forged into a game worthy of honor and memorial everlasting. But these instances are rare. They seem to happen randomly, choosing no particular sides in the console war, to a mixed-bag of genres – as if evolution only pays its genetic tribute to a few handsome mutants and little more.
Six years ago Rockstar revisited Walter Hill’s The Warriors and made a game worthy of the cult following that the fictional Coney Island underground 70′s gang scene has managed to nurture since 1979.
By all accounts The Warriors was one of those better-looking mutants.
It shouldn’t have ever existed considering its virulent gene-pool – but it did. And maybe it only existed because Rockstar has more money than the Walton family, (it’s a Walmart thing – you wouldn’t understand) and could safely waste three or five million dollars making a vanity project like The Warriors into something that 40-year-old man-children from the distant world of the 1970′s could take home and identify with immediately.
Which brings us to the point.
If it could work with The Warriors… why can’t it work with some other film properties that deserve games every bit as good as their source material?
And if I allow myself to ramble just a bit more in this preamble – and I will – though I would have loved to list a Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Forest Moon of Endor Edition (crawling with Yuzzums, Gorphs, Teeks, Dandelion Warriors, and crazed packs of foaming Ewoks) or an EyePet game based on The Human Centipede (a virtual house-pet built from the remnants of ill-fated back-packers and vagrants all sewn together lips-to-tail-pipe) the concepts are more of a novelty and less about making a kickass game from a kickass movie property an eventual reality.
Although… when I think about it now… I would totally kill to have a Big Lebowski game in whatever shape or form that might take. Even if it just meant I could download Walter Sobchak as a playable character in my Bad Company 2: Vietnam content. I’d give anything to watch my buddies die face down in the muck as we fought the Man in the Black Pajamas… the worthy f***in’ adversary…
Here’s 10 titles we’d like to see culled from the vast archives of film and television and made into games worthy of our home console systems. I’ve even added what developing houses would do these adaptations the justice they do so deserve.
10)This is Spinal Tap: Rock Band Edition
Dream Developer: Harmonix
I want to be David St. Hubbins belting out Big Bottom on the microphone. I want Nigel Tufnel on lead guitar beside me with his guitar screaming out of a custom made amp set all the way to eleven. I want Derek Smalls wailing on bass guitar and Viv Savage grinding away on keyboards behind us. It would also be nice if our drummer could explode in some terrible manifestation of spontaneous human combustion – a display every bit as powerful and awe-inspiring as any feat of pyrotechnical engineering.
A Rock Band game based on the Rob Reiner’s legendary Spinal Tap film would be a nice way to kill a half rack of domestic beer and three or four lazy hours with some like-minded friends on a Friday night. Unfortunately we wouldn’t get to play any of the earlier Tap material – nothing off of Shark Sandwich or Intravenus de Milo. But there’s still plenty of material on the Black Album, 1992′s Break Like the Wind and 2009′s Back From the Dead… Harmonix could also include a few swingin’ Folksmen tracks to fill in the holes on the song roster.
Dream Developer: Black Rock Studio
No, I’m not referring to the Roger Corman cult classic Death Race 2000 – I’m talking about the much more entertaining, if not altogether more gratuitously violent Jason Statham flick from 2008. Anyone who’s seen this modern miracle of smashed cars and mangled humanity will tell you that the film is a video game already – it just doesn’t know it yet.
Who better to bring the world of NASCAR: Prison Rules racing to the online circuit than the guys that gave us last year’s Split/Second – a game which is pretty much based on Death Race whether its creators would ever admit to it or not. Play through the “Survival” mode of Black Rock’s game and tell me you aren’t picturing the Dreadnaught scene from Paul S. Anderson’s film.
These two properties are MADE for each other.
Genre: Open world/Action
Dream Developer: 2K Czech
Question: What’s black, white and really, really red all over?
Answer: Frank Miller’s daydreams, nightmares, thoughts… sexual fantasies. Pretty much anything and everything the legendary comic book artist channels into his work.
Imagine Miller’s Basin City as a black and white, fully interactive playground for dirty cops, hit men, and drug fueled psychopaths with big mitts wrapped around tiny 9mm handguns. Harvest the look of Platinum Games MadWorld – but set the game in a massive urban sprawl drunk on excess, lust, violence, greed and corruption of every rank and order. Players could cut their own trail, create their own mythology, and immerse themselves in murder for profit, booze, dames, drugs, and anything and everything on the menu in Miller’s ultimate adult playground.
So why pick Mafia 2′s 2K Czech as the studio to bring this brutal slice of film noire to home console systems? Why not Rockstar – creators of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption?
Because 2K Czech created a virtual mobster flick experience out of Mafia 2 – and they also already have a nice hand-to-hand combat system developed. The gameplay in Mafia 2 wasn’t the deepest – the world wasn’t the most interactive – but the “feeling” of being an up and coming mob associate was every bit as vibrant and realized as anything on the big screen. I don’t believe that Sin City: The Game would need much more than a vibe, a feeling, an art style… oh, yeah… and feature tons and tons of excessive violence.
Dream Developer: NetherRealm Studios
A fighting game based on Quentin Tarantino’s bloody grindhouse epic Kill Bill? Why haven’t we seen this yet…? We’ve seen Batman take on Scorpion in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. This week we’ll see The Hulk square off with Mike Haggar in Marvel vs. Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds. When – if ever – will we see The Bride vs. Gogo Yubari? Or what about Elle Driver vs. Johnny Mo? There’s an entire roster of characters from Kill Bill that could make this fight franchise a very real, very delicious prospect for fans of the movies – and the game genre.
Vernita Green, Johnny Mo, O-Ren Ishii, Gogo Yubari, Hattori Hanzo, Pai Mei, Budd, Elle Driver, The Bride… Bill himself – there’Ks a catalog of assassins just waiting to rip each other pieces. The designers could even pull the fight arenas straight out of Tarantino’s amazing set pieces for the two movies. I can’t think of a better game developer than Ed Boon to bring this whole bloody affair home to console warriors and cheap-shot artists across the gaming comm-universe – even if it were only as a thirty dollar downloadable title.
If we still feel the need to pit one franchise against another in another novelty video game turf war – ala’ Marvel vs. Capcom – resurrect the cast of Jean Claude Van Damme’s eclectic registry from 1988′s Bloodsport. Then throw the California Mountain Snake in the arena with Chong Li and watch the ugly magic these two killers conjure on each other.
6)The Running Man
Dream Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Runners… it’s time to start RUNNING!
If we learned anything from Gerard Butler’s Gamer it’s that Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man still has some legs 24 years after its initial release. So would a modern video game adaptation of The Running Man be something akin to GameTek’s 1991 Super NES game based on the American Gladiators television show?
Not even close.
Think Batman Arkham Asylum – but replace the Joker’s voice that heckles your every move and mission in that Batman title with Richard Dawson (still alive) taunting you into committing further acts of malicious and heinous violence for the live audience.
The Running Man could keep the game show vibe as well as the ultra-cool costume design. It would also have ready-made Boss Battles built into the framework from the film it’s based on. Players – here they’re called Runners – would face off with the notorious Running Man Stalkers at the end of each round. Sub-Zero. Buzzsaw. Fireball. Dynamo. Captain Freedom. I’m sure if the roster needed some more heavyweights to fill out the game experience Rocksteady could always raid the back catalog of the Defense Department: Entertainment Division’s records and files for a few more human killing machines for our Runners to tangle with.
Genre: Survival Horror
Dream Developer: Monolith Productions
A game based on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures…? Isn’t that the paranormal reality show where the host, Zak Bagans, (one part Hot Topic model, one part frat-house miscreant, one part clumsy goofball, one part balls-of-bloody-iron fearless) and his crew spend the night locked down in the most haunted locations all over the planet?
Yep. That’s the show.
If you need further film references to what a game based on this series would look and feel like imagine Paranormal Activity and Juame’ Balaguero’s two outstanding [REC] movies. Think ghosts in surround sound. Think demonic possession hazards. Think shadow men, screamers, spirit orbs, and solid objects being thrown out of the pitch dark by forces unknown and unseen.
The truth is we haven’t had a good haunted house game since the Fratal Frame games lapsed into distant, tank-controlled memories. Monolith Productions two Condemned games are easily some of the most frightening, most interactive, survival horror games in the history of the genre. The missions in Ghost Adventures would be set in the actual haunted locations scattered throughout the television series’ four available seasons – all dolled-up in painstaking, excruciatingly eerie detail.
Sloss Furnace. The Riddle House. The Bird Cage Theater. Magnolia Lane Plantation. Villisca Axe Murder House. The psychologically terminal Poveglia Island off the coast of Venice Italy. Players would use night vision cameras (why hasn’t anybody making survival horror games discovered the creepy addition of using night vision in their projects – where skin color hovers just above key-lime pie and eyes glow like candle wicks in deep, depressed sockets…) as well as EMF meters, digital recorders, and any other equipment designed to track down and communicate with the angry dead.
I know that Monolith could create an amazing ghost game – as well as some seriously freaky ghosts and shadow people – for a title like the one described here. I’m just hoping they beat someone else to the punch.
4)Shaolin Master Killer
Genre: Action Adventure/RPG
Dream Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
I want an authentic 1970′s Shaw Brothers kung-fu flick distilled down into a video game. I’m picking Ubisoft Montreal for the dream developer because I’m thinking if any gaming house could create a living, breathing world and a combat system with the range, depth, and freestyle options a game based on Shaolin Master Killer would need… it’s the boys and girls that created the Assassin’s Creed series.
Your player would train with the legendary warrior monks of Shaolin. You could wander the map perfecting and mastering your style. You would encounter drunks, thugs, criminal organizations, and chief chopsocky head-breakers carrying every weapon and fighting style known to Asia on your journey.
What I really want is a game with the deepest, most complex fighting system in the history of the industry. I want to be able to learn, practice, and execute mantis style, crane style, monkey style, drunken kung-fu style, or any other moves and counters I would need to tackle the Five Deadly Venoms. (Centipede, Scorpion, Snake, Lizard and Toad) I want to advance through the 35 chambers of Shaolin then wander the world of ancient China kicking ass and taking names.
Oh… and could my character look exactly like a young Gordon Liu please?
3)The Road Warrior
Genre: Car Combat
Dream Developer: Avalanche Studios
This game has been rumored, confirmed, canceled and rumored about some more in the past few years. As it stands today a game based on the ravaged world of Max Rockatansky is all but an illusive promise. It’s a mirage. I know that Cory Balrog has actually been working with Just Cause 2′s Avalanche Studios on a game adaptation of George Miller’s forthcoming Fury Road film – the fourth entry in the Mad Max saga. But very much like the movie the game unfortunately carries a release date set sometime in a bleak, unknown, dystopian future.
And after Mel Gibson’s recent lapses in formal etiquette… the future is looking grim for this series of films and video games… grim indeedy.
But forget about all that for a second. Couldn’t a developing house with Avalanche Studios obvious talents revisit the original road warrior in his titular film – The Road Warrior? Couldn’t we just get an amazing car combat game with functions we haven’t experienced as of yet in this niche genre?
Imagine the online potential for a Road Warrior title. Your buddy’s at the wheel of a severely beaten 1973 Ford Falcon Coupe while you’re clambering across the hood unloading a double barrel shotgun off on an oil tanker truck crawling with other online wasteland rats as cars collide, wreck, and catch fire all around you.
Hell, just give me a co-op driving game where one player drives and the other shoots out the passenger window – that would almost be enough to satiate this Mad Max fanboy.
Play any of the car-based missions in Just Cause 2 and it’ll be obvious that Avalanche is the right team to handle this movie adaptation. The only question here is when???
Genre: Science Fiction Action/RPG
Dream Developer: Bioware
I’ll admit it – I’m a Trekkie. When I hear any music from the many Star Trek series and movies – or just the quick shoosh of a door on the Enterprise NCC-1071-A or the seven distinctive bleeps of a classic communicator opening – I have a Pavlov’s dog response. I drool. My ears shift. I start humping the furniture.
The biggest bummer about being a Trek fan is that the series has been running eleven years longer – not to mention 700+ episodes longer – than Star Wars. Yet Star Wars always gets the better end of the deal when it comes to video games being adapted from the two franchises.
Star Wars games aren’t perfect – but they’re light years better than anything coming out of the Roddenberry camp.
Star Trek: The Game would be very much like Bioware’s Mass Effect – but set in the alpha quadrant of the Trek universe. It would bear Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Gorn, Crystalline Entities, Borg, Betazoids, Orion slave girls… the possibilities are infinite.
Bioware could base the game on classic Star Trek, Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Enterprise era Star Trek – even the new alternate time line with its sexy collection of actors rendered almost invisible by continual lens flare eruptions and over-saturated lighting effects – just as long as they give us a fully-realized Star Trek game that takes us to a place where no man – or video game before it – has gone before.
I’ll even settle for a game based on Voyager at this point.
Genre: Open world/Third Person Action/Adventure/Detective
Dream Developer: Team Bondi
Who doesn’t want a game based on Ridley Scott’s science fiction/noire classic Blade Runner? Better stated – who wants a video game based on Blade Runner better than the two games (1985 and 1997 respectively) we’ve gotten since the film’s release in 1982?
I think Team Bondi could tap into the magic of Scott’s classic sci-fi film. And I’m not just saying this post-Rockstar-Red Dead Redemption. I’m saying it pre-LA Noire.
If an open world game based on detective aptitude and combat can (and will) work for Team Bondi’s new Rockstar game….? Why can’t the same formula work when it comes to hunting Replicants in Los Angeles circa 2019.
Which, now that I think about it, we’re a whole hell of a lot closer to now then maybe we thought we were – and we still haven’t mastered the electric car let alone the one that’s supposed to hover and fly around just yet.
I think our culture is ripe for a smart game based on one of the best science fiction films ever created. Give us the Vangelis soundtrack. Give us the outstanding visual effects and landscape from the film. And for the love of God himself… let us shoot that hefty handgun that Rick Deckard packed with him in the movie at something with a little more sass and energy than your normal human being.
Give us Blade Runner: The Video Game.