10 Films That Should Get Games

These are films that have yet to make the jump into interactive form, but sorely deserve it.

Posted 4th November 2011, 1:48pm in Inception, Front Featured, Features and Interviews / By Jonny Muir
10 Films That Should Get Games

Just as film adaptations of video games have often ended in tears (especially if you realise you’ve just paid actual money to watch Hitman), films have often had an incredibly traumatic transition into games. Most game adaptations of movies are shallow, excruciating affairs, hastily assembled to tie in to a cinema release, though the occasional anomaly does make genius use of a license (here’s looking at you, GoldenEye). Game tie-ins of films are legion at the moment, so it’s hard to find films that haven’t been made into games. These ten have yet to make the jump into interactive form, yet sorely deserve it.

1. Inception

This one is so obvious that it’s actually going to happen (hopefully). Christopher Nolan’s mindbending mix of dream trickery and sweet suits often felt like a university-level psychology essay delivered through the unusual medium of an extended tutorial level. The incessantly-explained rules and multi-layered dream “levels” mimic the structure of a videogame, so all that remains is for Nolan to hand over the reins and let you pilot your own snappily-dressed brain thief through intricately designed dreamscapes. The current possibilities of gaming technology would lend the dream-worlds themselves a sense of scope, and there’d be plenty of shooty fun as well, so the game would never get too limp and ponderous.

2. Drive

One thing that never makes sense about sandbox crime sprees like Grand Theft Auto 4 is: why would characters on an urgent mission (like hunting for the man who betrayed you) bother to spend ages faffing around doing side missions and eating burgers? Isn’t their thirst for revenge pressing enough? Ryan Gosling’s character in lurid neon crime drama Drive neatly sidesteps these questions, because the virtually wordless Driver constantly keeps us guessing about his motivations. Throw him into an open-world L.A., where you can cruise around doing the odd getaway mission – as well as engaging in a larger story arc involving crime kingpins – and I think you’ve got yourself a great premise for a GTA clone.

3. Pan’s Labyrinth

A Zelda game that would terrify children. Brilliant. The endlessly recycled Legend of Zelda franchise occupies the same kind of fantasy territory as Guillermo Del Toro’s masterful coming-of-age fable, and a game would give you the chance to more thoroughly explore the film’s grim, visceral otherworlds. A Pan’s Labyrinth game in the adventure mode of Zelda would also provide plenty of opportunities to do battle with grotesque and fantastical monsters like the Pale Man. On second thought, that would be horrible. It’s bad enough just watching that thing stalk around, never mind if you have to run away from it yourself.

4. District 9

Neill Blomkamp’s expertly-shot alien refugee mockumentary District 9 wins the Rohypnol Date With George Clooney Award for the film that started well and ended badly. The first hour or so was compelling and original, but the final act descended into typical action-movie shoot-outs and fight-scenes, and the plot (one of the most interesting premises of recent years) is the first casualty. As a videogame, though, District 9 would let you wield the aliens’ weaponry, and any game that lets you run around blasting humans and prawns alike into splattery laser death with shrimp rayguns would not doubt be fun.

5. Kill Bill

Tarantino’s visually acrobatic revenge romp would be ideal for a God Of War-style hack-and-slasher or an Arkham City-style brawler. Kill Bill’s structure perfectly fits a videogame too – after battling through levels of faceless thugs, the Bride finally makes it to the boss, and has to defeat him or her to progress to the next stage. The deliriously gratuitous Crazy 88 fight sequence would translate well into a game, and slicing through enemies with a Hattori Hanzo sword would be satisfying. Gamers have also shown themselves not the be averse to an athletic female main character, so no objection would be made to Uma Thurman strutting her away through the action.

6. Shaun of the Dead

This would essentially be a comic retread of frenetic team-based zombie rave Left 4 Dead, but replacing the four playable characters with the cast from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s affectionate team-based zombie comedy (zomedy?) Shaun of the Dead. The humour and banter of the film would hugely improve the multiplayer element, and clubbing your way through hordes of the undead in north London with a cricket bat, slinging insults at Dylan Moran all the while, sounds like a blast. But you’ll probably get red on you.

7. Jacob’s Ladder

This might seem like an odd choice, but Adrian Lyne’s nightmarish post-traumatic thriller would actually make a pretty unique game. Call of Duty: Black Ops has already shown how there’s a big market for shooty mayhem with an Eastern flavour, so the Vietnam War sections of the film could easily take the form of pretty standard jungle-based gun combat. These would be interspersed with post-war sections that involve battling Tim Robbins’ grotesque hallucinations. This is where Jacob’s Ladder would make a unique game, with a psychological horror element similar to F.E.A.R. Hallucinations appearing in the middle of gun battles, for example, would make for an intense game experience, something that would elevate the usual shooter fare.

8. Serenity

Ok, maybe choosing Serenity is cheating a bit, because Joss Whedon’s pulpy space western TV show Firefly is implied, the film would truly benefit from the Mass Effect treatment. Both are tales about a rag-tag rogues gallery of colourful characters thrown together against a space opera backdrop, so a videogame version of Serenity wouldn’t be hard to imagine. Probably taking a vague action/RPG form, you would cruise your way across the universe, helping River, Wash and the crew with their problems to earn their loyalty. Joss Whedon’s knack for quirky dialogue would also make this a pretty fun game to play.

9. This is Spinal Tap

Even though the guitar-based, button-mashing rhythm game died a death with the unceremonious retirement of the Guitar Hero franchise, I, however, would say that This Is Spinal Tap is singlehandedly the one thing that would justify a return to hammering at a Fisher Price ukulele before a merciless conveyor belt of multi-coloured dots. Spinal Tap have a pretty sizeable discography now, so there would be plenty of tunes to shred away to. Imagine jamming away to Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight. If this was brought out as a Rock Band style game with bass and drums you could be Derek Smalls.

10. Rec 2

Though not the best instalment of the Spanish camcorder horror series, Rec 2 nonetheless provides the best setup for a game. As one member of a SWAT team sent into a quarantined building to quell an outbreak of zombies (them again), the stage is set for a gritty and intense survival horror game in the Dead Space mould. Separated from your squad mates, with limited ammunition and only a torch for light, you would have to navigate your way out of the building whilst simultaneous trying to avoid being savaged by zombies. In the face. Or the mouth.