With Uncharted hitting cinema screens this month, it marks another video game adaptation for Hollywood. As we know with video game adaptations, they either work or they don’t, with very little forgiveness for the latter. Yet there are some video games out there just begging to make the leap to the big screen, and here are five of the most popular that could easily cash in at the box-office.
- Red Dead Redemption
The 2010 smash hit from Rockstar San Diego helped bring the Wild West to life for a new generation of gamers. Taking away the sub-machine gun and hyper cars, the team replaced the more modern aspects of open-world gaming with six-shooter pistols, steam trains and horses. Yet it wasn’t just award-winning gameplay and narrative that won over gamers, it was the collective aspects of the game such as its immersive original score, engaging characters and refreshing action sequences.
The Western has been a tricky genre of late to break Hollywood. While we have notable entries such as Unforgiven, Open Range, The Magnificent Seven and most recently The Harder They Fall, they come along once in a blue moon to often critical acclaim but tepid box-office takings. The genre deserves more recognition, and Red Dead Redemption has already established a huge fan base to help rocket a potential film through Hollywood and bring a new explosive story, and potential franchise, to the big screen.
- Duke Nukem
Originally launched as a scrolling 2D shooter in 2001 for MS-DOS, Duke Nukem featured a bad-ass mercenary tasked with saving the world from a host of alien invaders, mad scientists and monsters. A sequel followed in 1993, but it was the third entry in 1996 that made the transition to updated graphics and first-person mechanics as Duke Nukem 3D. It helped redefine the first-person shooter, and also became a somewhat controversial title (the Grand Theft Auto of its time) due to the violence and sex references – you could say one of the first and most successful adult video games.
Helping to lampoon the action hero / sci-fi genre within a video game, a big-screen incarnation would fit right into the loud, barnstorming blockbuster season of video game adaptations. It’s safe to say the content now in Duke Nukem 3D is very tame to what video games and movies showcase today, but it has a very safe and secure legacy in first-person shooters that is perfect for popcorn entertainment.
- Super Mario Kart
Launching worldwide in 1992 and 1993 for the SNES and continuing the successful run of Super Mario video games, Super Mario Kart would take the gameplay we knew and inject a whole new dynamic, incorporating the characters and worlds we know and love. A pillar of the racing games genre that still sells millions worldwide today, Super Mario Kart takes a simple format of kart-racing but keeps it fun, vibrant and full of energy for the whole family to enjoy (with a memorable score to boot!).
There is no limit to the worlds and landscapes we could see, and the range of crazy karts, super power-ups and characters racing to help save a world, rescue a character… whatever the outcome will be, it’s the core of fast and fun racing that will win audiences over – a Fast and the Furious film for all ages.
With family / children’s films, they succeed not just on the big screen but also at home on streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, helping to satisfy countless repeat viewings for younger viewers. Super Mario Kart would also be able to partner with the upcoming Mario movie in 2022 as a potential spin-off.
- Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Launched in 2003 at the height of a resurgence of the ‘Star Wars’ cinematic adventures with the prequels, this RPG game helped expand, revitalise and rejuvenate the lore of George Lucas’s (now sadly side-lined) Expanded Universe. Set 4,000 years before the films and stories we know around the Skywalker Saga, we were introduced to a host of new characters, new music, new planets, new heroes and villains, new mythology – everything Star Wars fans could want and more to give a new glimpse at a universe we knew so well.
In a world now full of streaming TV shows and original movies, there is an ever increasing expansion of the Star Wars lore, but taking a risk and going back even further would be something refreshing and exciting. Bryce Dallas Howard is making her mark with The Mandalorian and The Book Of Boba Fett, and so maybe she should be given the reins to a full feature to show how much she understands the majesty and excitement of a galaxy far, far away.
- The Secret Of Monkey Island
Before the world remembered how exciting it was to be a pirate thanks to Johnny Depp et al., a point-and-click adventure game inspired by the Disney ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ theme park ride launched in 1990. A young buccaneer, Guybrush Threepwood, arrives on a tranquil Caribbean island in a quest to become a fully fledged pirate, but must contend with the undead ghost pirate LeChuck and save the island’s Governor, Elaine Marley, from his evil clutches and free the Caribbean from his ghostly threat.
Full of family-friendly humour and charm coming direct from Lucasfilm Games, with gorgeous locations and immersive narrative, this game spawned four sequels and had a huge influence on the point-and-click adventure game as we know it today. It’s a real shame that 2005’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl got there first, because even that has many elements seen and used in the game. A classic of its time and one that stands strong today with gamers and pop culture fans, the original story of Guybrush deserves to be a new addition to the visionary swashbuckling genre.