The Video Game Movie Market


DOOM, a popular 90’s game that was made into a horribly rated 2005 movie

Kaeden Brown

Video Game Movie Market

With the release of Free Guy, audiences were reminded of how much video games have influenced movies and TV, and how much we have improved on those ideas since they started in the 80’s. In recent years, movie consumers have both gravitated more towards movies related to video games and also gave them better ratings. For example back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, video game movies had a big boom and many were made. Unfortunately, as many as there were, none of them were rated very positively. The highest rating a video game movie got from 1990-2009 is marked as 44% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and that movie wasn’t even live action.

Where Do The Negative Ratings Come From?

A very common pattern in the flops of movies most in this category is that the movies are based on real games and they try too hard to capture the draw of the games, sacrificing basic movie elements essential to a good film. The lowest rated video game movie is Alone In the Dark. This 2005 film is based on an Atari game released in 1992. If you look through the movie reviews, you notice a recurring trend in the language of the critics. They often mention a faulty plot, over emphasis on cinematic violence, and lack of comprehensible dialogue. These comments are repeated a lot if you look at the reviews of other video game movies and that is because the movies try to take the experience of the games and make it less interactive and less entertaining.
“I think it tried to do what the game does, which is an imposing sense of dread,” said Gav Murphy about Resident Evil, another video game-based movie that was highly anticipated and highly disappointing.

What Can Studios Do In The Future?

The more positively rated movies are a lot more diverse in style and delivery in comparison to their earlier counterparts. Rather than trying to capture the experience of a game in a movie, studios branch out in more interesting ideas. They may use pre-established characters from real games, or make completely new characters and games. They also make up new stories instead of following a plot that only those who have played the game would understand. As an avid video game enjoyer myself, I appreciate connections to the games but, sometimes, it can get very annoying if you have to be very well versed in the lore of a game to enjoy a movie rather than just being able to make small connections and easter eggs. It is also very fun to completely discover a new, made up game world or maybe even be introduced to one I haven’t gotten into before.
Commenting on the significance of the original game from consumers perspective back in the 90’s and 2000’s, Johannes Roberts, who is directing a Resident Evil reboot coming soon, said “The importance of the source material has become something that 20 years ago people didn’t really care about. They nodded at it.”