Let's be honest. Even though there has been a long history
between videogames and movies, currently trends have been
less than favorable. When you approach most gamers or moviegoers,
the mention of either a movie based on a game or a game based
on a movie immediately brings up a sense of dread and apprehension.
This has not always been the case (and even currently is sometimes
not the standard).
Long before consoles and arcade units, pinball machines were
billboards for popular movies. Considering that most pinball
machines were fairly similar in design with variations in
the placement of flippers and bumpers, having pictures from
a popular movie or television series (like Smokey and the
Bandit or Charlie's Angels) helped draw gamers
to that specific machine. Fortunately, at this time, no movies
were based on pinball machines (even though The Who
did write a song involving one).
Tron was probably one of the first movies to incorporate
the concept of games and virtual reality in a movie. Subsequently,
game for Tron came out. Also around that time was
Wars game, which allowed players to relive the Death Star
attack. Unfortunately, this would be one of the few Star
Wars games that would be worth playing for some time.
Once the home consoles (Atari, Colecovision) starting becoming
popular, movie-based games slowly filtered into the market.
E.T. the Extraterrestrial and Raiders of the Lost
Ark both made their marks on the early consoles. From
this point, there were a series of semi-successful games based
on movies for the NES and SNES consoles. In the theaters,
though, the role of games were just plot devices rather than
totally based on a game or series in total. This was until
Mortal Kombat, the ultra violent arcade came that
became equally popular on the home consoles (SNES, Sega Genesis)
all the while outraging conservative parents, made the first
successful foray into the movie department. While no Oscar-winning
script or performances were available, the film managed to
capture the style of the game in a decent martial art film
slopping over with special effects. After the success of this
movie, production studios started to look for other videogames
to bring to the big screen. Unfortunately, these following
attempts failed miserably. Both Street Fighter the Movie
and the Mario Brothers movie were lackluster and failed
to do anything but give future projects fair warning. To make
the Street Fighter movie situation even worse, an arcade
game based on the movie was released, where the actors were
motion captured (a la Mortal Kombat, Pit Fighter)
and forced to perform lame attacks in one of the weakest arcade
fighters in history. Of course, Mortal Kombat's movie
sequel fell into this same lackluster category.
Once the next generation of consoles came about (Saturn,
Playstation, N64) a new onslaught of movie-based games were
churned out. Any movie that had a small bit of action and
special effects were in consideration for being a game. Everything
from Crow: City of Angels to A Bug's Life was
made, most, if not all were not worth the money or time to
play. Even worse was the fact that one of the greatest movie
series, Star Wars, had not put out a quality title
since the original arcade machine.
After some time, movie producers began to head back to videogames
for movie concepts. Seeing as how videogame consoles have
become such a staple in our lives, this is not too much of
a surprise. With Tomb
Raider already through the theaters (with some fair success)
and future films based on Resident Evil and Doom,
don't be surprised to see more games translated into films.
I can't promise that they'll be good, just that they'll be
Current and next-gen consoles (PS2, X-Box, Gamecube) have
been a mixed bunch. While games like Star Wars: Starfighter
have really shone, other games, like The
Mummy Returns and Star
Wars: Super Bombad Racing (or most of the other Star Wars
games in general), have really just milked it for all it's
worth. With more on the horizon (Shrek, Matrix), we can only
hope for the best.
With all of this said, I can only hope that videogame and
movie executives will learn from past mistakes. Here is my
plea to all of those people who make these decisions: STOP
MAKING GARBAGE MOVIES AND VIDEOGAMES JUST TO MAKE A BUCK!
Sorry, I just had to get that off of my chest.