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6 movies that look and feel exactly like video games (but aren't actually based on games)

3. District 9

What does District 9 take from games? To quote another entry on this list, guns. Lots of guns. Yes, District 9 is a smart film. Yes, it has a whole lot of gritty apartheid metaphor coursing through its veins. And yes, its story kicks with the emotional impact of a wine drinking, poetry writing goth mule. But by great Smith & Wesson, does it ever take delight in its over-powered sci-fi weaponry too.

But there’s an obvious source for District 9’s gun designs. Games. The medium which, above all others, has had the biggest hand in furthering the cause of overpowered sci-fi weaponry over the last couple of decades. You see a big gun in a film or a comic is just a big gun. A big gun in a game however, is a central gameplay mechanic, a vital piece of interactive design which changes the way you play and shapes your whole relationship with the game world . In the shooter genre, imaginative gun design is the key which opens the fun chest, and thus, it has been evolving like crazy ever since the Wolfenstein 3D.

So when a film wants really impressive big crazy sci-fi weaponry, games are a good inspiration. There are decades of creative ground work already done. And that, coupled with District 9 Director Neil Blomcamp’s obvious game-savvy credentials following his involvement with the aborted Halo 4 movie, is very probably why there isn’t a single gun in District 9 you haven’t fired in a game. 

There’s a lightning gun just like the one in Quake III, F.E.A.R. and countless other FPS. It even explodes its targets into excessively splattery Quake-style gibs.  There’s also a shockwave shotgun that blasts folk around like a leaf-blower, just like the one in Crackdown and Dead Space. And Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time’s frog powered Sonic Eruptor.

Also, there s a gun which uses any object in the vicinity as ammo. It seems to grab and fire its chosen ordinance by harnessing and manipulating gravity. You could go so far as to call it a gravity gun. In fact Valve did when they invented it in 2004.

Topics

film movies

26 comments

  • NOGIRLSIWANNAJETPACK - November 13, 2012 7:36 a.m.

    Thank you for doing a traditional article for once. I really don't like the scrolling screenshot format.
  • fpavez - November 13, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    +1 For this Guy!
  • DynamicJul - November 13, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Agree completely. Thank you GamesRadar.
  • RonnyLive19881 - November 13, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Me too... the screen shot thing is annoying. Still, why can't you just make the whole article on one page?
  • darkvare - November 13, 2012 7:36 a.m.

    i got my sucker punch blu ray thanks to the lollipop chainsaw double pack that had it free
  • b-dog1991 - November 13, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    I'll chime in with the obligatory Scott Pilgrim mention, although to be fair, the film takes its cues more from the source material rather than videogames themselves. Still, a lot of shots in that film are framed in the side-on Street Fighter stance and it's story structure couldn't be more gamey if it tried.
  • ColtPersonality - November 13, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    indeed, in my opinion, Scott Pilgrim is more "Game Fan Service: The Movie" than Sucker Punch could ever be. Video game references out the wazoo, and yes the story structure makes it feel like this is what life would be like if we were in a video game/comic book (Dat Onamonapia)
  • Exiled Reaper - November 13, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    Loved Sucker Punch, all the action was brilliant despite the semi-rubbish plot. Surprised not to see a couple others on here, like Terminator or Cameron's Avatar. Also very, very surprised not to see the 2009 movie Gamer on here. A good article overall though!
  • christopher-renfrow - November 13, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Er... not sure about this but how about Tron? Especially Tron Legacy...
  • cgriff63 - November 13, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    Not sure why scott pilgrim didn't make it on the list..
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 13, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    Re: Scott Pilgrim, Tron, Gamer etc. They were deliberately left off because they referece gaming too explicitly, or are directly built around it as a plot point. The point of this list is to discuss films that are just influenced by the aesthetic or structure of games without games being their primary theme or subject matter. Same reason things like Wreck-It Ralph and The Last Starfighter aren't applicable.
  • Fuzunga - November 13, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    Speed Racer, man. All I could think when watching that movie was "I want to play this".
  • BladeBlur - November 13, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    Words. Of. Truth.
  • RedHarlow - November 13, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    I loved the girls and the Steampunk World War I scene in Sucker Punch. I could do without everything else.
  • nintendo365 - November 13, 2012 11:46 a.m.

    Crank was unexpected, but PERFECT. It is exactly like a GTA/Saints Row Crossover. And plus Chev Chelios is a Niko Bellic looking mofo.
  • christoffer-karlof - November 13, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    Children of men, very much inspired by half life 2, and the whole movie is basically about level progression. Also one of the best damn movies in a decade
  • FuzzyDeath - November 13, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    When I first saw the trailer for Sucker Punch, I was ZOMG! Went to watch it in the cinema, and I wanted to walk out after thirty minutes of bullshit. -_- Movie sucked so bad. I hated it.
  • alex-roy-bristol - November 13, 2012 3:51 p.m.

    Dude, that movie was literally one of the best thinking movies I have ever seen, or even HEARD of... Where you just going to see boobies?
  • Peguin - November 13, 2012 8:34 p.m.

    That article was a long time coming (i remember you discussing it on a podcast way back) but a very enjoyable read. Good work
  • wheresmymonkey - November 14, 2012 1:36 a.m.

    Good list. I would of Added Dredd, Old Boy and The Raid to the list.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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