A-List: Video Games that Need to be Movies

By J. Don Birnam

May 17, 2016

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We’ve seen the Super Mario Bros. movie, we’ve had Street Fighter, and we are even getting The Angry Birds Movie, the first ever based on an app. But, really, is that all there is? Today we look at some of the video games that really need to be made into movies.

Since Super Mario started the trend in 1993, there’s been about 30 or so movies based on videogames. This summer alone we have the aforementioned birds, as well as Warcraft. Looking into the future, Sonic is getting the silver screen treatment, while the Resident Evil franchise has spanned a half dozen movies. But, most of the films we have seen so far have been based on RPG-type games, or on really intense action games like Lara Croft. True, Adam Sandler hit a number of games in one fell swoop last summer with the horrendous Pixels but, really, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and the others deserved a better fate. There have also been a number of straight-to-video cartoons based on video games, but today I’m listing my top five wish list of games I want to see turned into live action feature length films.

Let’s try to think outside the box of solely action video games (though, admittedly, that’s somewhat hard to do) and come up with weirder ones. Who said Hollywood was out of ideas?

If I missed an obvious one, send me your picks to Twitter!

5. Ninja Gaiden. Am I the only one that was kind of obsessed with the disturbingly sexy-while-pixelated Ryu Hayabusa? They’ve had a Double Dragon movie, so why can’t they adapt this similarly-styled fight-on-the-street type game that has infinitely more interesting characters and storylines?

There was an evil ninja with demonic powers and/or demonic invocations, there were ghastly beasts, there was a damsel in distress who was tougher than she appeared to be (the perennially in trouble Irene), the mysterious motorcycle leather-clad sidekick Robert, evil FBI agents, and much more. On top of that, the Ninja fight sequences would be bad ass.


Sure, you may have to dispense with the obnoxious power pellets and just have Ryu be able to invoke magical ninja powers directly to launch fire and swirls at the baddies. But think of some of the amazing sets and landscapes they’d have to cover! The series spanned the Amazonian jungle to the desert to ice castles and basically hell itself. Sounds like a Cinematography Oscar waiting to happen.

Plus, the original Ninja Gaiden Nintendo game actually spawned a trilogy, and we all know how Hollywood feels about trilogies.

4. Punch-Out. I mean, they make obnoxiously trite boxing movies every other year in La La Land it seems, why can’t they just get it over with an adapt the original of all fighting games, the one that was almost impossibly hard to beat, and that took many of my after school afternoons away.

The main character, of course, would be Little Mac as he trains Rocky style to get to the main event. You wouldn’t want Tyson as the lead role unless you wanted your ear beaten off—he’s basically just the ultimate baddie.

Little Mac, meanwhile, would be played by Jesse Eisenberg and his trainer, Doc, would obviously be John C. Reilly or some such bit actor. The real fun would begin when you start casting the ridiculous opponents—remember the guy with the turban who disappeared but you had to time your punches with the jewel in his head? And, Mike Tyson, of course, would punch you out with a single blow—ouch.

The best part, however, would undoubtedly have to be casting Bald Bull and/or King Hippo. You couldn’t come up with more outrageous character names if you tried, and I hear Christopher Walken is looking for work.

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