Our most cherished video games that were made into movies
Some of these are best forgotten...
The warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia is one we rarely crave until we are unknowingly and unwillingly transported back in time to our youth, during a period where our sole concern was keeping our Tamagotchi alive. If you have no idea what that is, you’re probably too old to remember playing most of the games in this article.
Tomb Raider I, II & III
First released in 1996, Tomb Raider I brought to life an exciting, pixelated adventure like no other. It was so popular that its sequels came out one year after the other, in 1997 and 1998 respectively, which sounds impressive until you look at screenshots of what the game looked like. It was ahead of its time back in the day, okay?!
Three years after the release of Tomb Raider III, 2001 brought us the live action adaptation Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and just two years later in 2003, Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life. Thus we were blessed with two pulse-raising, jaw-dropping adaptations of the 1996 video game for us to watch, with Angelina Jolie in the lead role, until our heart’s content…
While we have been spoiled by numerous Assassin’s Creed titles over the years, the one that sticks in the memory most is the first one, set during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land at the end of the 12th century. Released an age ago back in 2007, the game was just ahead of its time; the combat, the movement, the parkour, the storyline - it was all perfect.
Set years later, and not within the time period of the original game, Assassin’s Creed was released in 2016 - music to the ears of many an Assassin’s Creed fan, and with Michael Fassbender in the leading role, result! But it just failed to live up to the hype worth of an Assassin’s Creed movie, and has most likely put a nail in the coffin of any other Assassin’s Creed live-action reboot. Sad.
Name a game series more nostalgic for Millennials than the early Pokémon games on Gameboy. The first initial release of Red and Green (later changed to Red and Blue for international release) gave birth to one of the greatest Pokémon movies ever made, Pokémon: The First Movie.
Split into three parts, covering the series’ mascot Pikachu but predominantly focussing on the development and origin of Mewtwo, the movie culminates in an epic fight between Mewtwo’s cloned Pokémons and the originals. Hard to believe it came out twenty-five years ago in 1998.
With various movies and series being released as a result of the game franchise releasing all those years ago, Pokémon has to go down as one of the greatest video game adaptations ever made.
The original fighting arena game that paved the way for many in its genre, Tekken caused many an argument between siblings and bestfriends alike. Released in 1994, it’s the second oldest game on our list, with its film adaptation coming in 2009.
It’s probably one of the harder games to make a live action movie of as the game is largely focused on one on one fighting, so making it into a movie was always going to be a bit of stretch, which is probably why it ended up flopping. Big time. It’s a great game though…
The Doom franchise is one that has enjoyed many additions over the years, with all proving to be extremely popular among the world of first-person shooters.
Since 1993 Doomguy has been fighting hordes of demons from hell, which inspired the 2005 movie of the same name, starring the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Rosamund Pike and Karl Urban. But despite inspiration from the immensely successful game as source material, Doom the movie failed to live up to its expectations.
Resident Evil is up there for having produced the most sequels in any gaming franchise, with a staggering 32, and is the game everyone thinks about when you mention the survival horror genre.
Between 2002 and 2016 Paul W. S. Anderson produced six Resident Evil movies, with Milla Jovovich playing the antagonist Alice throughout all of them. However, none of them have been too well-received and are widely regarded as being extremely far removed from the games. The movies fail to capture the survival horror element that made the games so famous, but instead are filled with mindless action scenes that try and fail to resemble something close to the Matrix.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City attempted to reboot the franchise in 2021, and while it captures the survival horror elements you’d expect from a live-action Resident Evil movie, it still falls woefully short on expectations.
Prince of Persia
With its first title coming out in 1989, Prince of Persia started out as a side-scrolling multi-platform game, and has taken many forms since.
The movie was directed by Mike Newell and starred Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Tamina, and Sir Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and not surprisingly, received criticism for not casting actors of middle-eastern descent in the major roles, with the Los Angeles Times calling it a whitewash. We’ll forgive you though, Jake, every first-class actor has at least one bad movie…
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft fans rejoiced when they heard a live-action movie was in the works, and it landed pretty well. It stuck to the source material and the history of how the orcs first made it to The Eastern Kingdoms led by Gul’dan through the Dark Portal. It takes place a long time before gamers begin their adventure in vanilla World of Warcraft, so there isn’t anything tangible to compare it to, just what the writers have told us happens prior to World of Warcraft.
With a budget of $160m it grossed $439 at the box office, despite what the critics had to say about it. But who cares what the “professionals” think when you have the World of Warcraft cohort on your side, have you seen how intimidating some of their cosplay is?
Sequel please, Duncan.