Movies and TV Shows Adapted From Popular Video Games

With the release of the new science fiction television series ‘Halo’, and the success of the action-adventure film ‘Uncharted’, we present a list of previously adapted movies from popular video games. Our list does not include any animated or biographical films of this genre.

‘Super Mario Bros,’ produced in 1993, was the first film based on a popular video game ‘Mario’. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo respectively played the popular video game characters ‘Mario’ and ‘Luigi.’ In terms of portrayals, plots, and the use of CGI, gaming adaptations in the film have come a long way since then. Filmmakers have found a way to bring games from video game consoles, arcade machines, and Android and iOS smartphones to the big screen. Below are a number of films based on video games, as well as some background information on the game!

Angry Birds

We begin our list with ‘Angry Birds’. The game that hooked cell phone users since its release in 2009. Jaakko Iisalo, a video game creator and developer, produced the game. It features a simple gameplay involving slingshotting different angry colored birds at structures and objects in order to retrieve their eggs. Since then, the ‘Angry Birds’ have made their way in a TV series, comic books, toys, amusement parks, and even beverages.

In the movie, due to his anger management issues, ‘Red,’ an impatient red cardinal bird, is forced to live in isolation on ‘Bird Island’. He has never been able to fit in anywhere since he was a child, and he has been taunted and ridiculed because of his appearance, the reason being his large eyebrows. Foulmouthed and a hothead, he’s on a mission to outwit the cunning pigs that are stealing the bird eggs on the island.

Angry Birds‘ has a voice cast of Jason Sudeikis (‘Ted Lasso’), Josh Gad (‘Frozen’), Danny McBride (‘Tropic Thunder’), Maya Rudolph (‘Grown Ups’) Bill Hader (‘Barry,’) along with Peter Dinklage (‘Game Of Thrones’). The comedy animated film was directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly and a sequel ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2′ was released in 2019.

Assassins Creed

Assassins Creed is an action-adventure game franchise set in multiple time periods. It was launched in the year 2017 and was created by Ubisoft. The game features the rivalry and warfare between two ancient secret societies — the Assassins and the Knights Templar. A memory simulation device known as the ‘Animus’ is used to retrace the steps and memories of one’s ancestors in the plot of the game.

In the movie, ‘Callum (Cal) Lynch’ is tasked with reliving the memories of his ancestor ‘Aguilar de Nerha’ using the ‘Animus’ machine. The ‘Animus,’ in the game, is a technology that allows Cal to access his genetic memories. Over 500 years ago, Aguilar was a member of the Assassins Creed. Cal is hence assigned on a mission through time to track out a mysterious artifact of tremendous value.

‘Assassins Creed’ stars Michael Fassbender (‘Prometheus‘), Brendan Gleeson (‘In Bruges‘), Marion Cotillard (‘Public Enemies’), Jeremy Irons (‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’), Charlotte Rampling (‘Red Sparrow’), and Michael K. Williams (‘When They See Us’). Justin Kurzel directed the film. 

Pokemon

Pokémon, or the original Japanese ‘Pocket Monsters,’ was released on Nintendo’s Gameboy in 1996. Satoshi Tajiri, Ken Sugimori, and Junichi Masuda developed, illustrated, and designed the game. Satoshi Tajir traced back his fondness as a child collecting insects in order to provide children with the same joys he experienced.

‘Capsule Monsters’ was its conceptual name in its manga illustrations. In the game, you take on the role of a Pokémon trainer who travels the globe gathering the tiny creatures and training them for fights against other Pokémon. Pokémon has since appeared in comics, trading cards, animated tv series, and film adaptations. “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” as proclaimed by the franchise’s slogan.

In the film, humans and Pokemons coexist together in the ‘Rhyme’ city.’ ‘Tim’ has deserted his missing father’s legacy and his dreams of becoming a Pokemon trainer. Tim discovers he can communicate with a deerstalker hat-wearing Pikachu after stumbling into him. The two create an alliance with the hope of finding Tim’s missing father.

‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’ was its first live-action film released in 2019. Rob Letterman directed the film, with Ryan Reynolds voicing and providing the motion capture for the pokemon ‘Pikachu.’ Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, and Ken Watanabe are also featured in the movie. Ikue Ōtani, who has voiced ‘Pikachu’ multiples times in the animated series and video games, also returned to the film.

Rob Letterman also directed the animated comedy ‘Shark Tale’ released in 2004. Ryan Reynolds recently seen in ‘The Adam Project’  was also featured in ‘Free Guy’ (2019). The plot of that movie centered around a role-playing online video game.

Warcraft

‘Warcraft’, developed by Blizzard Entertainment, is a fantasy adventure game first released as ‘ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans’ in 1994. Allen Adham, Frank Pearce and Michael Morhaime were the creative minds behind the game. This strategic genre of gaming involved all players playing simultaneously, in real-time. Currently, the video game has evolved into board games, trading cards, novels, comics, and mangas.

In 2018, Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment brought ‘Warcraft’ to live-action. In the movie, the land of ‘Azeroth’, home to humans, elves, dwarfs, and other races, falls into disarray when it is attacked by mysterious forces. To defeat a common enemy, the humans must create alliances with the ‘Orcs’ of ‘Draenor.’ They must choose between extinction and total annihilation by fighting mythical and magical forces.

BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Duncan Jones directed ‘Warcraft,’ and he co-wrote the script with Charles Leavitt. It stars Travis Fimmel (‘Vikings’), Paula Patton (‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’), Ben Foster (‘Galveston’),  Dominic Cooper (‘The Escape’), along with Toby Kebbell, Daniel Wu, and Clancy Brown.

Need for Speed

Need for speed, or ‘NFS’, was developed by American video game enterprise Electronic Arts. Its first release was ‘The Need for Speed‘ in the year 1994. The game series is based on illegal street racing. Players must complete a variety of races in order to unlock levels and win rewards. All this must be conducted while evading the police. Electronic Arts are the same game studios that produce a number of games, including the PGA Tour series, FIFA series, NBA series, and Madden NFL games.

Need for speed follows Tobey Marshall, a proficient mechanic and street racer. Falsely convicted and serving time in jail, he joins an illegal cross-country race after his release. Looking to set the record straight, he comes up against his former partner, who has placed a large bounty on his head. The movie has several vehicle chases, street racing, police chases, and many references to the game series.

The movie stars Aaron Paul (‘Breaking Bad’), Dominic Cooper (‘My Week With Marlyn’), Imogen Poots (‘Vivarium’), Michael Keaton (‘The Founder’), and songwriter and hip-hop artist Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi. Filmmaker Scott Waugh serves as director. Dakota Johnson, Rami Malek, Ramón Rodríguez and Harrison Gilbertson are also part of the supporting cast.

Sonic The Hedgehog

The video games series was first released by Japanese entertainment company, Sega in 1991. Playable on the Sega’s video game console, Sonic the Hedgehog, who runs at lighting-paced speed, is on a mission to fight Dr. Robotnik. The arcade action-adventure game involves Sonic challenged at multiples levels with a series, that includes loops, springs, slopes, abysmal pits, and more! In the game, Dr. Robotnik is an evil scientist on the hunt for ‘Chaos Emeralds.’

Based on the video game, Sonic, a super-fast hedgehog, has left his home planet for earth. Being chased for his powers, he arrives through a portal and lives a peaceful happy life. One day, he causes a mass-energy blackout while running around a baseball field. The chase is on when Dr.Robotnik is sent to extract his power. To help him escape, Sonic enlists Tom’s assistance.

Funnyman Jim Carey stars as Dr. Robotnik while Ben Schwartz lends his voice to portray Sonic the Hedgehog. Filmmaker Jeff Fowler directed the movie and is supported by a cast of James Marsden (‘Hop‘), Tika Sumpter (‘The Nomads ‘), and Neal McDonough (‘Yellowstone’).

Idris Elba and Colleen O’Shaughnessey, are set to join the existing cast, along with director Jeff Fowler returning to the director’s chair for its sequel releasing later next month.

Max Payne

The game ‘Max Payne’ was developed by Remedy Entertainment and is a third-person shooter action game. The first installment of this game series was released in 2001. Max Payne is the main character, a police officer turned vigilante. After his family was slain by drug users, he decides to abandon his post at the New York Police Department.

Max Payne is a rogue cop on the lookout for the makers of a mystery narcotic known as ‘Valkyr.’ In his pursuit of justice, he is faced against the police, street gangs, and the drug’s manufacturing company. Batting mythical beings and Norse mythological figures, he has a personal agenda.

John Moore directs the film starring Mark Wahlberg (‘The Departed’, ‘The Fighter’), who plays the titular character ‘Max Payne’. The cast includes Mila Kunis (‘That 70s Show, ‘Black Swan’), Olga Kurylenko (‘ Quantum of Solace ‘,’ Black Widow’), and actor and hip-hop artist Ludacris. Mark Wahlberg was recently seen in ‘Uncharted’ (2022), an adaption of the game of the same name.

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time

The fantasy action-adventure game ‘Prince of Persia’ was released in 1989. The gameplay is set in medieval times in Persia. Jordan Mechner, a video game designer who also penned the screenplay for the 2010 film, built the game. To generate its animation effect, the game used a process known as rotoscoping. It’s a technique for creating realistic action by tracing over motion picture film frame by frame.

The story centers around ‘Dastan,’ a street child who is adopted by the King of Persia owing to his bravery. Over the years, he is groomed into being the next ruler of Persia. When he discovers a dagger with the potential to turn back time, he must keep it hidden from others who want to exploit it for their benefit.

Mike Newell directed the film, and it stars Jake Gyllenhaal (‘Donnie Darko‘, ‘Ambulance‘), Sir Ben Kingsley (‘Gandhi’, ‘Shutter Island’) Alfred Molina (‘Frida’, ‘Spiderman 2’) and Gemma Arterton (‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’, ‘The King’s Man’). 

Resident Evil 

‘Resident Evil’ is a third-person shooting video game first released in 1996. It’s a zombie-hunting survival strategy game in which humans chase down zombies in the fictional town of ‘Raccoon City’. Japanese video game company Capcom developed the game series, with the designer of video games Shinji Mikami at the helm. The game franchise has been adapted into live-action and animated movies, comics books, television series, and theater plays.

A highly successful sci-fiction action and horror genre of movies that sees ‘Alice’ go head to head with the sinister ‘Umbrella Cooperation’. Unaware of the true nature of the organization, she was security initially assigned to protect the cooperation. She gets superhuman abilities and strength after being exposed to the dangerous T-virus. Alice is highly skilled in one-to-one combat and the use of firearms, including shotguns, Glocks, and pistols. 

At the time of writing, there have been a total of seven film adaptions of the game between 2002 and 2021. The main protagonist of the first six ‘Resident Evil’ film series is, ‘Alice’, who is played by Milla Jovovich.’ Alice is not a playable character in the game series. Filmmaker, writer, and producer Paul W. S. Anderson was involved in all six projects. He has also worked on the game adaptations of films ‘Mortal Kombat‘ (1995), ‘Monster Hunter’ (2020), and ‘DOA: Dead or Alive’ (2006).

Street Fighter

‘Streetfighter’  is an action-adventure fighting video game first released in 1987. It was released on arcade consoles hosted at video gaming parlors. The game was created by Japanese video game designers Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto. As per its official website, to sum up, the one-on-one fighting contest “There’s Always Someone Stronger.” 

In 1994, Universal Pictures brought the arcade game a live-action format. A dictator has taken control of the fictional city of ‘Shadaloo’. This drug lord and kingpin has kidnapped numerous people and is demanding a ransom. The Allied Nations send in ‘Colonel Guile’ and his team to save the hostages and hold the dictator accountable for his crimes.

The film included a cast portraying well-known video game characters. Martial arts expert and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme portrays Colonel Guile and is supported by Australian singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue, Ming-Na Wen (‘ER’, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’), Andrew Bryniarski (‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’). The movie was directed by Steven E. de Souza. Damian Chapa, Simon Callow, Miguel A. Núñez Jr. Grand L. Bush, Byron Mann, and Roshan Seth complete the cast list.

The release was actor Raul Julia’s last movie. He was known for his work in theater and his portrayal of ‘Gomez Addams’ in (‘The Addams Family’) released in 1991. 

 

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