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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.

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38 comments

  • aperson789 - November 22, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    rawwwr
  • Haikufrenzy - November 22, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    There was a shovelware PC Princess Bride game. I didn't play it myself but I remember seeing ads for it on other websites.
  • JADENkOTOR - November 22, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    When there is a poor video game adaptation of a movie, it in no way diminishes the integrity of the movie, just itself. Why you think this would hurt the reputation certain movies I just don't understand. Anyway I agree that a lot of these wouldn't make for good games especially Hackers... that made for one of the most boring movies of all time even though I did like it when I was going through my dial up computer phase in the mid 90's. Turning this into a game would be dreadful. I used to want Kill Bill to be made into a game until WET came out and ruined the entire thought of this happening... I do think that if put in the right hands it may be able to work though. and The Dark Knight is way overrated... Christian Bale is terrible.(except in American Psycho and maybe Harsh Times but thats pushing it)
  • KnightDehumidifier - November 22, 2010 11:01 p.m.

    Where is my Short Circuit 2 video game? You can engage in free-roaming as Johnny 5 on the streets of New York City, joining the Los Noches gang and piloting RC planes into criminals. Supply a soundtrack from Bear McCreary, hand it off to Naughty Dog to develop and bring back that British guy who portrayed an Indian in the original film, and we're good to go. Also 32-player multiplayer modes and make it for me. Sincerly, KnightDehumidifier age 8 1/2
  • OneEyedGoon - November 22, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    Twin Peaks FTW
  • CH3BURASHKA - November 22, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    You brought up Alan Wake, but not Deadly Premonition? They came out within months of each other, and looked incredibly similar. You guys even did an article comparing the two! As for Princess Bride, I hadn't seen it until earlier this year. It had been so built up, so put-on-a-pedestal-ey by others that I was slightly disappointed. It was a quality, well-rounded story, but I found it kind of underwhelming. Sometimes a straight-forward story is all you need, but from the way people talked about it, I was expecting some kind of crazy-ass twist. I'm rifling through my memories thinking of "nerd" movies that seem like good game potential that would really be shit, and no other fits better, in my opinion, than "Dark City". I saw it two years ago and was fucking blown away - I fell in love with that movie. As a game, depending on the story (are you Murdoch, or a citizen in Murdoch's new world?) there's plenty to do. Ever since seeing it, I've wanted to know more about John, about the City, about the Strangers, but that's just my id talking. There's plenty of evidence that adding to a story will sooner or later fuck the whole thing up, and dilute the meaning of the first story in the process. I'm now content with letting go of such childish desires. Another of my favorite movies (in this case, a mini-series) is "The 10th Kingdom". Once again, I want to see and experience more of the story, but it simply wouldn't work as a game.
  • MrTwinbee - November 22, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    I gotta admit I was a bit miffed about the omission of Deadly Premonition when talking about Twin Peaks. The coffee, deer head, music etc are all heavily referenced in what is one of the best games of this generation. The bits when you drive around and Agent York starts to talk about his favourite films are awesome too. reCAPCHA: "Ruchest concern" Sounds like some weird charity.
  • juicenpancakes - November 23, 2010 12:16 a.m.

    Reading a single entry about Serenity has made me pop in my Firefly Blu-ray. I anticipate having the series completed by the end of the week, followed by a week of sadness that it will never again return.
  • Overlord153 - November 23, 2010 1:12 a.m.

    No wonder people hack the leaderboards in games if they get that kind of action!!!
  • Yeager1122 - November 23, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    Ive actually seen Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die! sooooooooooooo much better then dark knight obvisiouly.
  • batmanboy11 - November 23, 2010 1:53 a.m.

    Great list. Also, lol at "Hailed as “the best comic-book movie ever” by people who haven't seen Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die!,". (Although in all honestly I like Scott Pilgrim more than TDK)
  • soopermoose - November 23, 2010 1:56 a.m.

    Yeah I agree with the others about Twin Peaks and Deadly Premonitions, seriously the game is practically an indirect sequel to the TV series.
  • Eliath - November 23, 2010 2 a.m.

    @juicenpancakes It's hard for me to hear or read Serenity or Firefly without immediately watching the series over again. It's then hard for me not to watch it again as soon as I finish. I will, however, resist this time due to the extremely large amount of games that I need to play. Also... Willow, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (and other Mel Brooks movies), Krull, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Fifth Element, and The Ewok Adventure.
  • Valntyne - November 23, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!
  • Sevej - November 23, 2010 3:19 a.m.

    awesome game watch...
  • Doctalen - November 23, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    I would like to point it, its Crazy *Eighty*-Eight battle not "Crazy Eights battle". Even with slang, you gotta give them some honor by using their correct name.
  • BlackElement17 - November 23, 2010 3:25 a.m.

    It's going to be at least a day before before I stop thinking about a princess bride game.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - November 23, 2010 3:27 a.m.

    Wouldn't it be hilarious if there was a wrath of khan game, but in the scene where the guy yells "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!", there was a prompt to mash X? :P
  • NightCrawler_358 - November 23, 2010 3:45 a.m.

    TronLegacysaywhat?
  • 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?

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