From “Star Wars” to “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (or as it is known in gaming circles, “Empire Strikes Back”), you can find references to games in many of the biggest blockbusters that have come out over the years. Some will be obvious to gamers, while others will be less obvious (or even completely unknown).
There are so many movies that had a huge impact on video game developers that it’s hard to narrow them down to just 12. In this article I’m going to list 12 movies that influenced video game developers and where to find them.
For decades, movies have often had an influence on video games. Sometimes that influence is direct: Gears of War is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland similar to Mad Max, while NieR’s story takes place in a world ravaged by warring machine and human factions. Other times, the influence is indirect: the concept of the “save point” was first introduced to the world in the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, which was also the first video game to feature a save point, a life-saving measure that allows gamers to repeatedly restart a level if they die.. Read more about movies about gamers and let us know what you think.
OPINION – From the bloody watchdogs of Saving Private Ryan to the deserts of Mad Max and Big Trouble in Little China.
Today, video games are increasingly influenced by movies and TV shows, but in the past 30 years the opposite was true: Movies have had a huge influence on video games. After all, video games are still a relatively young art form. Sure, there are obvious examples like the Star Wars saga, but there are also some more obscure ones that have been just as important to electronic entertainment, but that we’ve somewhat overlooked. Here we present films that have had a profound influence on the conceptual development of video games and that you may not know much about. In some cases, the developers themselves acknowledged the conceptual influence of the films in question; in others, they did not.
1. Saving Private Ryan
The movie that forever changed the language of action games, Saving Private Ryan, made dropouts in war games very fashionable, starting of course with Medal of Honor Allied Assault, but also Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty World at War, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and even Call of Duty WWII.
2. Alien: Eighth passenger
The most obvious examples are Halo and Metroid, but conceptual references to Alien can be found in System Shock, Soma, Contra, Half-Life, Doom, Duke Nukem, Prey and of course Dead Space, just to name a few.
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
We’ve already mentioned the first installment in the series, but the entire Indiana Jones saga has contributed to the existence of obvious games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted, as well as games like Prince of Persia, Sonic, and The Legend of Zelda. And even Castlevania.
4. Big Trouble in Little China
The film was a failure, but its imagery – a mix of kung fu, eastern magic and street fighting – has probably influenced games like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, Street Fighter and even Mortal Kombat.
5. Blade Runner
Ridley Scott’s visual interpretation of cyberpunk resonated with the history of future video games: Perfect Dark, Syndicate, Deus Ex, Snatcher, of course Cyberpunk 2077, maybe even Midgar from Final Fantasy VII or the Reploids from Mega Man and many others are obvious examples.
Warzone has an avatar of that character this month, but if you want more evidence of the saga’s influence on video games, there’s Contra, Ikari Warriors and Metal Slug (Allen O’Neill) with uncovered torsos and heads, the new Lara Croft fighting the elements in Far Cry, or the bat from Solida Snake, and I could go on and on.
7. Conan the Barbarian
The list of games that Conan has licensed is long, but his influence on video games is also considerable, although it should be noted that it was much more pronounced in the early days of the industry with games like Rastan Saga, Golden Axe and Barbarian.
8. Entering the dragon
The legendary character Bruce Lee from this film appears in fighting games such as Marshall Lowe from Tekken, Fei Long from Street Fighter, Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat and Yann Lee from Dead or Alive.
9. Mad Max
The concept of post-apocalyptic entertainment is not a monopoly of George Miller’s work, but many elements of the saga’s aesthetic are evident in franchises like Carmageddon, Fallout, Rage, Twisted Metal, and Borderlands.
Philosophical or cosmetic influence aside, perhaps Matrix’s most important contribution to video games is its bullet-time. Not that the Wachowskis invented the concept, but FEAR, Max Payne, Fallout 3, Prince of Persia, Bayonetta or even Red Dead Redemption are hard to understand without it.
Normally we would be talking about Michael Bay, as the Call of Duty Modern Warfare saga would look very different and may not even exist without The Rock and the influence of Bay’s other films, which have had a huge impact on Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3 and the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot.
Regardless of fame or story, The Thing’s practical special effects and mutant creature have clearly influenced games like Resident Evil and Dead Space.Over the past few decades, movies have become the source of inspiration for a large number of video games, both in terms of plot and gameplay. These films often tell stories of struggle, strength, and perseverance to gamers, and have proven to be effective for video game developers.. Read more about worst video game movies and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What movies are based on video games?
If you’ve ever played any video games, you probably have an idea of what the hero of the story looks like. In the case of the recent movie adaptation of The Last of Us, it wasn’t a big Hollywood star, but rather a video game character: Joel. The game’s protagonist, Joel, is a mercenary who is introduced in the first level of the game. In the game, the player controls Joel, and players assume control of Joel at the beginning of the movie as well. Joel is a tough, hard-edged character who tries to survive in a world where the government and other factions are trying to kill you. There are movies based on video games on every major theatrical and video-on-demand platform you can think of. However, most of these titles are based on popular titles that may have been enjoyed by gamers, but have largely not been released as movie-based titles. Depending on how you define “based on a video game”, there are at least twelve movies out there that you could argue qualify as being based on a game. However, here are some movies that you could argue are based on games, whether they were inspired by video games or not.
What is the best movie based on a video game?
If you’re a gamer who has played a game that has become a cult classic, chances are you’ve wondered what it would be like to play that game as a movie. The answer is surprisingly simple: it would most likely be terrible. In fact, some of the worst movies based on video games have actually been quite good, and we’ve compiled a list of the twelve best. “Super Mario Bros” was released in Japanese arcades in 1985, and became the most successful arcade game of all time. Naturally, the game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, wanted to make a movie based on his creation.
What was the first video game based movie?
The best video games were once just that: games. The first video game adaptations predate even the first video game in the form of Spacewar! by a year. The earliest movie-to-game adaptations appeared in the 1980s, in the form of arcade games, some of which were based on movies, while others were completely original. The first full-length film adapted to a video game appeared in 1990, and since then many more games have been made into movies. It’s hard to believe that video games have had an influence on Hollywood for as long as they have, but it’s true. Movies such as Laser Disc games (Pac-Man and Donkey Kong), Nintendo (Super Mario Bros.), and even personal computers (The Oregon Trail) have all inspired films. What’s more, two of the most popular game series of all time (Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog) generated movies that are still popular today.
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