It’s no secret that the American film industry has an obsession with sequels, re-makes, and adaptations. Like the gaming industry, people tend to be attached to established franchises and will consistently gravitate toward the familiar.
That’s why I’d like to step forward and say this: Video games should not be made into movies.
Of all the games that have gotten the silver screen treatment, it seems like only a handful are mildly decent, but the rest fall into the realm of passable to flat-out awful. Think about it…Mortal Kombat. Street Fighter. Silent Hill. Tomb Raider. Doom.
Time and time again, none of them really rise above being a novelty, more deserving of a Razzie than an academy award. And, on top of that, movies like Doom and Street Fighter felt more like fanservice than an actual film. Stories are contrived, acting is sub-par, and the only decent sequences tend to appear in the form of well-choreographed action and fighting scenes. It’s dificult to live up to the experience of a game, and near impossible to do it justice on the same level as actually playing it would.
The thing is, games have evolved to the point that they nearly rival film, thereby making their adaptations both strange and irrelevant. It’s not like a book, where settings and characters are imagined and individual to the reader. With a book-to-movie adaptation, viewers can often be slightly more forgiving if the actors casted don’t look exactly how they imagined it, or if the film strays from the book’s conventions a bit in an attempt to save time. Games are an entirely different animal. In a way, games are a close cousin to film; they have cinematics, sound design, acting, writing, and an overall visual component comparable to movies. It’s the interaction in games that makes them unique; in a movie, we’re a passive audience, experiencing a story by watching a character. In a game, that experience takes a firsthand approach and we experience the story as the character. The difference is a sort of immersion that can only be achieved through an interactive medium.
Could films eventually make a film adaptation that is on par with the actual game? Who knows? But in the meantime, it’s best we avoid letting our already beloved characters make their awkward venture onto the big screen and just let them exist on their own, in the purest form they can.
And just to add an exclamation mark to this argument, I present you with the greatest game-to-movie fail of all time: the Super Mario Brothers Movie.