You are here

Can computer games be made into films?

An ever attractive quest to bring to life the games we all love and play-Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Alien VS Predator, Tomb Raider, House of the Dead, Doom, Final Fantasy are the failures that have dogged and cursed this particular effort. What is it about video games that makes them so unadaptable? Is it poor directing? Is it because no-one can be bothered to put in the money? Are they by nature not meant at all for the big screen? This might be the immediate answer, but for a moment let's just remember a few important characteristics of many games; they often, for example, have great storylines, particularly the ones which are themselves based on books and myths, such as Call of Cathulu or Quake, and in this way can be exciting and thrilling. The twists and plot turns are often fantastic, while more importantly the atmospheres can be deliciously dark and gothic. Some of the camera uses and shots in these games are excellent, such as the opening of Half-Life, where the camera follows the elevator train deeper and deeper underground, with the credits over the top and eerie music playing. One of my favourites is the story of Hitman, where a human clone is created by a mad professor, but then escapes from his prison to become a Hitman before returning to confront his father. Absurd, yes, but then isn't the film world already completely absurd? Some might argue that the turn that Star Wars made from the former film world where real characters and situations largely ruled to a Hollywood dominated by fantasy, action and escapism ruined one of the proper functions of film; to teach people about different peoples and situations, so that they might better themselves. The fact is, people don't go to learn from film, they go to escape with the fantasy that film offers. So are computer game films a step in the wrong direction? Well, they often offer little in the way of true character development, and since the protagonist is usually a nameless killing machine, there aren't many places you can go. As a result, in attempting to create emotion and human conflict in video-game films, the end-products, such as I have mentioned, become cheesy and sentimental and lose the essence that makes them so brilliant; that darkness and gothic element. In that sense, if games are to ever have any success, they must be careful to take the elements of the game that are really lucrative on screen and in viewing terms, not in audience interaction, such as the atmosphere and the parts of the storyline that work. Moreover, to hit the top band, a real effort needs to be put in to create and deepen the characters, to bring them to life and give them proper motivations and backgrounds, make them interesting and funny, sympathetic but flawed, cruel but understandable, just like real characters. Maybe it's time someone really asked the question, 'What if we took a Marine fighting in Iraq, and put him in a war 2000 years into the future fighting to close a portal into Hell? What would he do? How would he react? Would he have the courage to stand and fight?' Is it so different to asking the question, 'Hey, what if took a farm boy from Mississipi and gave him special powers to fight an evil galactic empire? How would he do? Or a small town policeman who is confronted by a giant shark?' It's amazing what a good script, storyline and proper character development can acheive.

It seems that games can be made from films but not the other way around. :?

I'm sure that just about anything is possible with films and many films have already been made from computer games with varied results. But the question as far as i'm concerned isn't whether we CAN do something, it's whether we SHOULD. I know you've heard it all before but i will not apoliogise for what i'm about to say. With the world in the state that it's in, war, intolerance, religious hatred, but also now that global warming is an accepted reality and we have passed into ecological debt earlier this year, isn't it time we start to ask tough questions about the morality of films, the values they promote, and look at the role that they could play in improving the minds of humans and reconnecting us with nature?

I love Resident evil, I'm a huge fan. I had huge hopes for the movie...I could of killed my self when I saw it. Paul W. Anderson. Is the S.O.B. to blame for alot of the crappy video game movies. Mortal Kombat, Resident evil...three of them...and soon Castlevinia. I know this dicks style and it not good. Event Horzian, Alain Vs. Predator his movies don't tap into the essance what they should be. And then he goes off and marries Milla Jovichowhat ever.

aww... i'd would pay 10x what i would usually pay for a movie theater ticket to see final fantasy made into a non-animated movie (not like advent children... which was great btw...) _____________ [url]http://filmschool.ph[/url] - best place to learn film making in asia

Drewzy? I have a question for ya... How can there be more than one FINAL fantasy? Wouldn't the last episode or game be called FINAL fantasy? It's just weird that there's more than ten final fantasy games. Not so final, eh?

"Not so final, eh?" Heh, that reminds me of my novel. Every time i say I'm done with it and that the 'final' draft is completed, i think of something else, and i go back over the whole thing, [like i need to do again]. Honestly, mate, I've often thought to myself, "There should definitely be a word created to come after 'final'." ;) :) ;) Stephkaye

I'm a hardcore gamer. I love games more than I love film. Games are becoming more and more cinematic. I just played gears of war, oblivion, I'm anticipating bioshock. I played riddick and half life 2. All these games are taking tactics we use in making movies and inserting them into videogames. The problem we have creating movies based upon games is the time restriction. How long does it take to finish a final fantasy game? To finish such an epic game in 2 hours is unheard of. I played oblivion for 300 hours and I haven't covered all the content yet. The pacing of videogames is drawn out, and completely different than the pacing of movies. There's no time for the viewers of movies to become accustomed to the world in which the story is taking place. New characters are thrust upon them in an attempt to cover an entire world in the alloted time. The best movie based on a game I ever saw was silent hill.. because instead of trying to take the details of the game, they took the overall essence and feel instead. I got the same feelings watching that movie as I did playing the game.

The shortest game I ever played was the newest Spyro addition. [I love the Spyro games, frankly because I love dragons.] In fact I played it today. How long did it take me to beat it? Less than 7 hours. I was amazed at how short it was compared to the other Spyro games, and especially compared to the 30 hours it took me to beat The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and that was within completing every single sidequest. I'm up nearly 20 more hours in the sidequests and I still dont have everything.... Anyway In The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, there is a lot of cinematics and when it was all done and over with, I thought, wow, that could have been a film it would be easy to fit into 2 hours from 7 of gameplay. And it even started with main titles and billing like a film, and the voice overs were done by well known actors like Elijah Wood, Gary Oldman and David Spade. Interesting that it had stars as voiceovers and it was nearly like a moive... Hmm.. I wonder if the creators are trying to say something.... Or maybe it was just a short game, for short games sake.... Stephkaye

Well, I'm hoping it can be done well. Two of my favorite games, Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell, are being made into movies, and I'm going to HAVE to see them. But... Maybe the problem is in being the main character vs. watching the main character. When you're BEING the main character, as in a video game, you don't want the character to be very well defined, because any player, regardless of who they are or how they want to play, should be able to pretend that they are that character. Whereas when you're watching a movie, the most interesting and captivating part (usually) is learning about the main character, and watching them grow more and more well-defined. There's a parallel to this in modern (esp. Japanese) comics, where the main character is drawn in a very cartoony style, and the backgrounds are usually drawn in a more photo-realist style. Scott McCloud writes about it well in his "Understanding Comics". Anyway, I hope it can be done, though I don't think there are any good games to movies yet...