Movies Based on Games: Must-See Top Picks of Game-Inspired Movies

Movies Based on Games: Video games transport viewers to enthralling universes by letting them customize, engage, and impact narratives. Therefore, it should come  as no  surprise that Hollywood often looks to popular games for ideas.                              

Transforming one medium into another is a common thread connecting movies and video games. The most dedicated players will remember the original Super Mario Bros. from 1993, featuring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, as well as Street Fighter (1994) with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Ever since studios have jumped on the bandwagon of popular video game series to bring these games to the big screen in the form of film adaptations. Game designers would do well to hone their storytelling and character development chops, as the two fields have many similarities. 

Students learn the basics of creating captivating games and films from working game designers, actors, writers, directors, and producers at NYFA’s Game Design School, which was recently named one of the top game design schools by The Princeton Review.

These are the top game-themed films, along with streaming links, so you may enjoy them at your leisure.

Movies Based on Games

1. Tetris

Tetris — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Older kids might remember with delight the countless hours they spent after school playing a game where they snapped little colored blocks into place next to each other. 

Even though it may not seem like much, in 2023 they managed to transform that 8-bit recollection into a rather enjoyable film, all because of nostalgia for a storyless game.   

The film by Jon S. Baird recounts the crazy real tale of the game’s inception rather than endowing the blocks with personalities (thankfully, Patrick Stewart isn’t voicing a poop emoji).    

The game’s Russian inventor, Alexey Pajitnov, is played by Nikita Yefremov, and the Dutch designer, Henk Rogers, is played by a wild-haired Taron Egerton. 

This unusual trio overcame insurmountable obstacles to bring the legendary video game to arcades, home consoles, and the revolutionary GameBoy.InstructionsBeginning on March 31, you can watch Tetris on Apple’s streaming service.

2. Clue

"Clue (1985)" Theatrical Trailer

Every other game movie is measured against this one. The fact that the original board game, Clue, is structured like the most basic whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie is helpful. Everyone there had a motive to have committed the evil deed, and Mr. Boddy (that name will haunt me forever) turns up dead!

This allowed director Jonathan Lynn carte blanche to parody the tired trope of a group of strangers stranded in the same place as a serial killer waits in the shadows. The difference now is that it does it by drawing on the well-established generic character types that Hasbro’s original version had plagiarized extensively.   

Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins, the casting agents for Clue: The Movie, truly deserves all the accolades, though. The casting of such brilliant comedians as Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, and Colleen Camp as character after character—e.g., Mustard, Plum, Scarlet, Peacock, etc.-is what makes this film so memorable and funny. Holy cow! We’re engulfed in flames!   

3.Ouija: The Origins of Evil

Ouija: Origin of Evil - Official Trailer (HD)

The fact that the 2016 prequel to the forgettable 2014 picture Ouija, Ouija: Origin of Evil, was a decent film was the biggest shock. 

It makes sense in 2023 when the name Mr. Mike Flanagan is familiar to us as a result of the haunted house and midnight mass films he has been releasing on Netflix for the past few years. 

The best type of shock happened in 2016 when this film came out. The story takes place in the late 1960s and follows two sisters as one of them requests the board’s help in communicating with their deceased father, while the other becomes possessed by a malevolent ghost. 

Every sleepover for the last 130 years has been plagued by the small wooden board and its recognized planchette, yet Flanagan manages to extract huge wallops of the oogie-boogies. (If you can believe it, the modern Ouija Boards have been around since 1890!)

4. Werewolves Within

Werewolves Within - Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films

The 2021 Josh Ruben remake of the 2016 Ubisoft game argues, like  Clue before it, that the key to creating an excellent video game adaptation is to keep the original material as simple as possible. 

Traditional party games like Werewolves and Mafia served as inspiration for Werewolves Within. In these games, players take turns killing non-werewolves to identify the werewolf. 

In Ruben’s film, we find ourselves in the small mountain town of Beaverfield just before a snowstorm is about to hit. We meet the locals, who are introducing newcomer Finn Wheeler, played by the charismatic Sam Richardson. 

An excellent framework for the upcoming procedural! In addition, Mishna Wolff’s entertaining screenplay adds complexity to the central idea by providing the individuals with multiple ulterior motives for murder that are unrelated to lycanthropy.

Just like in Clue, the skeleton was sturdy and uncomplicated. And the good times came because of the murderous ensemble of snowed-in Beaverfielders who all get their hands dirty (when they aren’t completely severed, that is).

5. Resident Evil 

RESIDENT EVIL: DEATH ISLAND - Official Trailer

Resident Evil has given fans a lot to rave about with seven films and a short-lived Netflix series. Fans of Capcom’s zombie survival game series, which has been around for almost 30 years, are sure to have their preferred remakes. 

The original 2002 picture with Milla Jovovich as an iconic action hero is still my favorite. It was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. (I rank her alongside Sly and Arnold.)The protagonist, Alice (Jovovich), is an amnesiac who awakens to find herself surrounded by writhing, ravenous zombies in the first film. 

She ends herself lost in the crumbling hallways (and subterranean lairs) of a mansion that holds countless secrets. In the end, she will find herself confronted with the horrific Umbrella Corporation and its numerous evil genetic experiments. 

The opening elevator scene is one for the record books, and the film’s action set pieces are so intense that not even Catherine Zeta-Jones in a catsuit could survive the lethal game of laser tag.

If you’re eager for additional updates and insights about celebrities and entertainment, browse through our previous posts where we’ve thoroughly explored every aspect.

6. Silent Hill

Silent Hill (2006) - Official Trailer

Many people think Resident Evil is the most terrifying video game ever. On the other hand, action movies have always been the preferred genre for film adaptations. 

Thus, French filmmaker Christophe Gans arrived in 2006 and, using horrifying jumps and pyramid-headed bounds, transformed Konami’s game Silent Hill into the most terrifying video game film to date.

In the role of Rose, played by the much- maligned Radha Mitchell, a mother searches for her lost daughter in the deserted mining town of Silent Hill. The inhabitants of hell are depicted in Gans’ film in a bizarre light. 

And that isn’t even mentioning the seductive demon nurses’ dancing group. To this day, I still cringe at the sound of the movie’s alarms, as if I were preparing myself for some new tragedy. Extra points for Alice Krige’s authenticity, as always.

7. Pi 

Pi | Official Trailer HD | A24

Despite appearances, the 2,500-year-old strategy game of Go is closely tied to Darren Aronofsky’s surreal black-and-white breakthrough film Pi, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and will be re-released in 8K theaters by A24.     

The film’s protagonists, mathematicians Max (Sean Gullette) and Sol (Mark Margolis) play the game at various points to illustrate their divergent views on the cosmos, which they use to justify their respective worldviews.

The movie is intentionally painful, just like the game. But even after all these years, it remains unique, and without it, there would be no mind-bending films like Something in the Dirt and The Endless, directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson.

8. Mortal Kombat

MORTAL KOMBAT Trailer (2021)

Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 cinematic version of the notoriously violent combat game has many devoted followers. It wasn’t only that it provided a two-hour raucous diversion from the  extremely hectic real world;  I enjoyed director Simon McQuoid’s 2021 remake of the franchise. That isn’t all, though.    

From 17th-century Japan to the present day, this retelling tells the tale of an MMA fighter (Lewis Tan) who is unaware that  he is the heir to a vicious clan of ninjas (played by the legendary Hiroyuki Sanada). 

However, he quickly learns the truth when the villain Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim, Warrior) arrives and begins amputating limbs at will. To decipher the film’s many old prophecies and esoterica about the destruction of Earthrealm by Outworld, you should essentially switch off your brain and focus on the visually stunning battle scenes including stunning actors such as Tan, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, and Taslim. That’s more than enough for ten films, or over a fourth of a John Wick. Please, make a sequel already! 

9. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Before a solar eclipse wipes us all out, or something, the Egyptian artifact known as the Triangle of Light regulates time, and the adventurer Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) must discover an old Illuminati key to open it. It is complete and utter confusion to me. 

Although I find the Lara Croft films of 2001 and 2003 to be extremely foolish, I will always have a sweet spot for them. Even if Milla Jovovich wasn’t up to the task of playing incredibly foolish action flicks, Angelina Jolie certainly was.

The task was clear to her. And with just the right twinkle in her eye, she struck the shark square in the nose.  Even though the point of these films  was to gawk at Jolie’s impossibly large figure, I liked how they gave her rough-boy suitors  (portrayed by Gerard Butler in the second film and Daniel Craig in the first) their fair share of screen time.   

10. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | Official Trailer (2023 Movie)

The fourth Dungeons & Dragons film was the one that finally got it right. This big-budget adventure from comedy writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley is, to quote our critic, “one wild ride you won’t want to miss.” 

It is sure to please both longtime fans of the role-playing game and newcomers who may not be familiar with the series’ trademark otherworldly magic.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves cracks open the dodecahedron with vivacity, starring a dazzling Chris Pine as a charming thief and a devilish Hugh Grant as the other, more evil side. 

Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, and Sophia Lillis provide generous support as shape-shifters, wizards, and the like. 

Particular recognition goes to The Last of Us.

The Last of Us, a blockbuster phenomenon on HBO, is more appropriately classified as a television series than a film. However, after only one season, we are prepared to place it among the top video game adaptations available. 

This is because the plot is just as engaging as the original game, and the characters are portrayed by actors with exceptional talent, such as Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.  

Joel, played by Pascal, is one of the few survivors of a devastating fungal infection apocalypse in which the afflicted transform into monstrous monsters with mushroom heads.  

The Last of Us | Official Trailer | Max

Years later, after Ellie (Ramsey) proves to be immune to the infection, it becomes Joel’s duty to transfer her across perilous terrain. The central theme of this straightforward road trip novel is the growing closeness between a father and daughter. 

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, the show’s creators, bring a serious and lighthearted approach to post-apocalyptic content that has shown us a lot of loss and sadness without letting us dwell on it. 

 (That is to say, I pray we don’t encounter any Negan-esque characters in the future.)

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