The Top 7... Geek movies that should never become games

5 – Serenity

When Joss Whedon made a show about cowboys in space, audiences were divided into three camps. There were those who didn't care (90% of the population); those for whom the genre would be forever defined by Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (6%); and those who cared very, very much (the rest). But people who care about Joss Whedon are prone to nerd-rage – and when the series was cancelled, rage they did! A movie was made to mollify them; could a game be next?

Above: A spurned nerd is a dangerous one 

Seems like a great idea because: Blending starship combat, gunfights on exotic alien worlds and empowered heroines, Firefly/Serenity would seem to contain everything one could hope for in a videogame. It'd be like Star Fox meets Red Dead Redemption, with more distinctive dialogue!

But actually: Sure, it would probably be great... but eventually it'd have to end, and then there'd be even more petitions and boycotts and Facebook groups and loud fanatics making the internet marginally even more unpleasant than usual. Best to just quit while nobody's noticed that the Firefly game didn't happen.

Instead, try: A deep-space sci-fi action game featuring Serenity's Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin in a soap-opera plot sporadically interrupted by bouts of extreme violence? There is that thing already.

4 - The Princess Bride

Everyone thinks they love The Princess Bride more than anyone else – and geeks, doubly so. The movie's arch take on fairytales rewards viewers for their knowledge of the genre, providing an uncommonly smart kidult fantasy – but the shamelessly sentimental story at the film's core is a sneak-attack that brings a lump to the throat of the snarkiest viewer. Try this: go to a party where the IT industry is well-represented and announce loudly, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father...” See how many people in the room complete the line.

Above: Prepare to die 

Seems like a great idea because: The subversive-fairytale motif crops up in movies like Shrek and Stardust, as well as comics such as Fables, Smax and everything ever written by Neil Gaiman. But videogames – which should be the best at giving audiences the opportunity to play with well-worn story conventions – have never really made the most of the opportunity.

Above: Inigo looks suitably mortified 

But actually: Now that you mention it, there is a Princess Bride game. Does it wryly subvert fairytale convention? Is it a lovingly-realized interactive version of a beloved film and novel? If so, you'd think you'd have heard of it. No, this is a cheaply-animated semi-interactive walkthrough best pitched as “Monkey Island for paint-eaters.” Not to take cheap shots at a much-maligned sector of the gaming industry, but way to arse up a sure thing, casual gaming.

Instead, try: If you listen to Peter Molyneux, it's clear his Fable series aims to do for games what The Princess Bride did for movies. Which is to say at this rate, Fable 4 or 5 will probably nail it, but in the meantime you could do a lot worse than Fable (1, 2 or 3).

3 - Twin Peaks

Hi, yes, very good, you got me. Twin Peaks – David Lynch's story of metaphysical detective Kyle McLachlan and his quest to solve a murder in a quiet Washington town by meditating and eating cherry pie – is a television series and not a movie. However, seeing as you're so smart, you'll be aware of the divisive film spinoff, Fire Walk with Me, as well as the fact that the pilot episode was re-edited and released as a direct-to-video movie in Europe. So Twin Peaks counts.

Seems like a great idea because: Twin Peaks commanded a degree of audience obsession arguably unmatched even by Lost – like that show, weekly viewings became an interactive problem-solving experience to rival many games. Starting with a simple goal – work out who killed prom queen Laura Palmer – the series proceeded to flummox viewers with layer upon layer of puzzles, intrigue, mysterious objects and cryptic riddles. There's a case to be made that Twin Peaks' demise came about when the series became so mired in ingenious gamesmanship, it forgot to be a TV series.

But actually: There's no need to adapt Twin Peaks because everything about the series has already been replicated wholesale in games. Titles like Silent Hill and Shadow Man don't just borrow Twin Peaks' dual-worlds structure, they openly cop the style, settings and goings-on of the show while they're at it. Even Link's Awakening – and every Zelda title after it – was recently revealed to be strongly influenced by Lynch's seminal drama. (Also, games based on cult TV shows tend to suck).

Instead, try: The most recent game to use “inspired by Twin Peaks” as a promotional bullet-point was Remedy's Alan Wake. But if you're dead-set on the authentic coffee-and-cherry-pie experience, there's always the Duke Nukem mod.


Top 7


  • Clovin64 - November 25, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    Despite never watching Firefly, I saw Serenity when it first came out and I loved it. I only saw it that one time, and that was years ago. I need to watch it again sometime.
  • Cadavra41 - November 25, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    Couldn't it be said that Wet would have been just as good or better of a replacement for Kill Bill than Red Steel is.
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  • Tomgoulter - November 24, 2010 7:47 a.m.

    Unfortunately, the list of games influenced by Twin Peaks must remain incomplete for reasons of limited space, and a recommendation that readers try Deadly Premonition for themselves must not be provided for reasons of good conscience.
  • FinderKeeper - November 24, 2010 2:24 a.m.

    Tom Goulter is fail... several other posts have mentioned the omission of "Deadly Premonition" as the logical adaptation of "Twin Peaks". Such an omission, kind sirs, is an offense to geek sensibilities. Can we haz corekshun to artikul nau plz?
  • SausageLozenge - November 24, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    How about Million Dollar Baby?
  • Radagast107 - November 23, 2010 11:28 p.m.

    IDK Serenity could be a good game if made by the right people. Firefly was great! But this is just your opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion!
  • Skykid - November 23, 2010 10:27 p.m.

  • GreatMuerte - November 23, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    none more so than geeks and stoners. Go stoners woooo
  • scsmith1 - November 23, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    While not directly related to "The Princess Bride," the classic Xbox game "The Bards Tale" is enjoyable and also features Cary Elwes in the title role.
  • infernox - November 23, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    dude was that an image of shadowrunner the game? hacker with glasses im refering to.
  • atomicsandman - November 23, 2010 5:52 p.m.

    "If you listen to Peter Molyneux" people still listen to Peter Molyneux? lol. Also, @CH3BURASHKA Dark City FTW. One of my favorite movies of all time, a game would fail but I wish they'd make a sequel.
  • philipshaw - November 23, 2010 5:37 p.m.

    These sort of of top 7's is why I love GR so much
  • bass88 - November 23, 2010 3:53 p.m.

    Anybody remember Die Hard Trilogy? Still the best movie to video game I've ever played. And yes, that does include the bland, dull and almost lifeless GoldenEye. Not trying to start a fight about GoldenEye. Just expressed my opinion about the so-called greatest movie to video game adaptation.
  • jmcgrotty - November 23, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    As someone else pointed out, the enemeis in Kill Bill are the Crazy 88s not Crazy Eights. As for a comparison in games, if only in that scene, I think of madworld for the Revolution.
  • Satu - November 23, 2010 7:21 a.m.

    The movie Stardust is actually based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Also, first! (If you choose newest first for order comments and no one else has commented yet.)
  • JohnDagger - November 23, 2010 6:24 a.m.

    Twin Peaks has already been done. It's called Deadly Premonition.
  • wind869 - November 23, 2010 5:20 a.m.

    i guess am not that much of a geek cause this has the most boring top 7 so far,
  • ChipTheExecutioner - November 23, 2010 4:59 a.m.

    I was expecting "Akira" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" to make the list but hey, you put on the princess bride so I have no complaints ReCAPTCHA: wearat season? what the hell are wearats?
  • NightCrawler_358 - November 23, 2010 3:45 a.m.


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