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.
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