The Top 7... Movie genres games should try next

There are two kinds of good game. There are the good games that come out, get fine reviews, sell adequately, and then fade into well-regarded obscurity: your Vortex, your Space Station Silicon Valley, your Land Stalker (a perplexed, blank stare is the correct response here). And then there are the good games that have a lasting impact on the medium. These games aren't necessarily any better, but they get talked about more often because they defied – and redefined – our expectations. Red Dead Redemption may be such a title. It's the first time a cowboy-themed game has transcended the resolute OK-ness of Sunset Riders, Mad Dog McCree and their ilk, capturing audiences without compromising its sand-and-saddles chops to prove that Westerns were a viable game genre all along.

But now that that point's finally been made, there are plenty of other film genres for games to try adapting next. Some haven't been touched since valiantly failed lo-fi efforts; others have never really been given a day in court. Maybe it's time to put the next Space Marines In Space title on the back-burner and try plugging a controller into one of these under-represented movie styles...

7. Slasher

The genre: Not to be confused with serial-killer thrillers or horror in general (both well-represented in games), slasher movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre combine the homicidal psychopaths of the former with the jolting scares and gratuitous bloodletting of the latter. It seems like a prohibitively narrow formula, but for periods in the early ‘80s/late ‘90s, it was hard to find a horror pic cut from any other cloth.

Above: Almost, but not quite

Why hasn't it been done? Generally speaking, action games work best when there's one heavily armed “you” and plenty of enemies: the exact opposite of the slasher formula.

Above: The pre-Redemption cowboy game, in a typical state of sucking

For the most part, horror games like F.E.A.R. stick to this ratio, pitting one gat-strapped meathead against an endless host of bullet-hungry bad'ns; even slasher pastiches like the Splatterhouse and Manhunt series still shoehorn the genre's surface elements into a rote “buff chunkhead murders many faceless schmucks” template.

Above: Designers worked so hard on the original Clock Tower that the whole office called in sick on the day earmarked for “making it fun.” True fact!

Should happen because: Just look at the phenomenally unsettling Fatal Frame for a great game built largely around fleeing in terror. And while titles like the original Clock Tower, or the NES Elm Street and Friday the 13th licenses, failed to carry off the “multiple characters, one terrifying antagonist” gambit, that's not because it's a bad idea for a game: it's just because they were crap games. Get designers who know their way around horror working on a serial-killer slasher and the result could be as compelling as it was terrifying.

6. Rock

Above: The rock genre, represented by those guys from The Simpsons

The genre: Rock movies like The Commitments, Almost Famous and This Is Spınal Tap never fail to deliver outsized characters and a horns-throwing soundtrack. But while games are as enamored of the milieu as anyone else – witness Brütal Legend, the Guitar Hero phenomenon and the bizarre early-‘90s flurry of videogames based on pinball games based on rockstars – they're pretty shallow affairs. We've not yet had a game that recreates the genre's rousing rags-to-leathers narratives or alluringly hedonistic heroes. And where's our TV-out-the-hotel-window minigame?

Above: A fine game about rock, but not a rock game per se

Why hasn't it been done? There are plenty of gameplay tropes that wouldn't fit into a rock game: unless your title focuses on Mayhem or Phil Spector, there's not much scope for kill-frenzies or wanton lawless recklessness. Putting that aside, games traditionally haven't excelled at recreating the joys of playing kickass music for adoring crowds, which is traditionally the central pleasure of rock movies. Hang on...

Above: Now we're getting somewhere

Should happen because: One of the biggest shake-ups in recent years has been the discovery that, actually, games are stonking great at recreating the joys of playing kickass music for adoring crowds. A rock game could combine the rhythm challenges of Guitar Hero and Rock Band with Sid Meier-style strategy elements, a music-biz version of Peter Molyneux's The Movies. Cultivate your band's look, style and music; strong-arm your way into lucrative gigs; pick up the tacky plastic instruments and make good on the deal. It'd be the deepest “[Blank] Hero” title yet – and potentially the best.

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • foamguy - September 9, 2010 6:30 p.m.

    im all for a slasher genre but i would think it would be fucking awesome if i could play as freddy or jason
  • Mysticgamer - July 11, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    Is Batman:Arkham Asylum considered a vigilante game?
  • SolidEye - July 9, 2010 11:34 p.m.

    Well I was hoping Bully 2 would go in the directon of a College film in the same vein as those movies you mentioned. Alittle more American Pie alittle less Harry Potter. A Revenge/Vigilante game like the film "Taken" that puts you in the shoes of a father looking for his kidnapped daughter would be a great game as long as they add alittle drama too it.
  • Lycanthrokeith - July 9, 2010 2:32 a.m.

    I think Mercenaries 2 is about the closest I've seen to the Vigilante example.
  • AuthorityFigure - July 9, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    I think GR confused 'genre' with 'theme'.
  • Deckard5627 - July 8, 2010 2:34 p.m.

    what about noir, max payne anyone?
  • Hayroon1 - July 7, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    An awesome way to do an exorcism game would be to make it like Psychonauts were you go inside the posessed and fight of the demons.
  • kidgorilla - July 7, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    You forgot blaxploitation
  • Gameguy151 - July 7, 2010 12:34 p.m.

    LOL, Beast and The Harlot reference FTW...
  • gamerinflames - July 7, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    College already exists as a game. It's called jagerbombs and shotgunning natty light.
  • philipshaw - July 6, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    Agree with most of this and I would want a film like Lost In Translation as a game, just to see if a game can do character interaction as well as films do
  • DustyRooster - July 6, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    I think Charles Bronson should be his own genre. If developers just put Charles Bronson in their games, instead of their own crappy characters, then I would be a happier man! Bronson could ride horses in Red Dead. Bronson could get stuck in Silent Hill. Bronson could star in every Call of Duty along side Lee Marvin. Bronson could be the next assassin, in the 1970's, in Assassin's Cread. Bronson, Bronson, Bronson, Amen!
  • 2Girls1CupOfSorrow - July 6, 2010 1:43 p.m.

    Hell no. Hell no to every one of these.
  • gilgamesh310 - July 6, 2010 10:58 a.m.

    A fairly good topic this but one must remember the movie and game genres are two different things. Movie genres are defined by there setting and scripting, character development and acting while game genres are usually defined by things like whether they are set in the first person or third person, whether the game becomes a hack and slaher or a puzzler and such. The stories for games rarely define the type of genre itself, only the setting normally. With that being said I would like to play a good vigilante game or even a documentary if it was made to work properly. I don't see how you would consider far cry a vigilante type game mind. Wasn't Jack Carver a mercenary before the shit started to hit the fan on the island he went to, he was only fighting to stay alive. There was a game released on the psx quite some time ago called vigilante 8, it was one of my favourite games of all time but it was defined more by it's gameplay than it's plot/genre. I would like to see a dcumentary fps game made where for the majority of it you would hold a camera instead of a gun and you could be climbing mountains and stuff instead of shooting things for the most part, a bit like bear grylls only more authentic.
  • 435 - July 6, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    The Matt Hazard haters need to go sit and spin. >_< It's not a -great- game by any means, but it's still -good-.
  • Fabaito - July 6, 2010 4:12 a.m.

    A game based on the norwegian black metal scene, where you have to go around burning churches, killing gay guys and other band members,cutting yourself with a knife on stage til you pass out, running around forests making weird faces, be a part of the norwegian communist party and get killed by your own bassist because the guy is a neo-nazi and thinks your a fucking marxist pussy, get to wear viking like gear and shit... DO WANT
  • camelfro - July 6, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    i agree with metroidhunter32 id love to see persona in college cool article too tom
  • WickedSid - July 6, 2010 2:04 a.m.

    Mother-Fucking BC is the IP that needs to be purchased, made and will sell millions of copies while be "Edutainment," about the Pre-Cambrian Era, with its Creatures and the added mystery of the Unknown. Although the Game would most likely feature Humans, ergo not factual, that could be overlooked when playing BC.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - July 6, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    Existentialism? Serious Deadpool game. 'Nuff said.
  • Clovin64 - July 6, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    I'd love to see some Heavy Rain style games that focus more on drama and character development rather than pumping lead into hired goons or zombies. I'm not saying that action games cant tell a good story or develop their characters, but you can maybe tell what I mean. I'd personally love a Heavy Rain style game adaptation of Crime and Punishment. There could be QTE momments where you wrestle with your conciounce (damn, I really cant spell!)