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Film and Video Games: The Adaptation Dilemma

With so many video game franchises scheduled to be turned into major motion picture films over the next couple years, explore the brief history of the video game film adaptation. Take a closer look as to why these types of adaptations haven’t been very successful, answer some of the tough questions like: can a video game to movie adaptation actually work properly? Do the two mediums have enough in common that lend themselves to adaptation? Can upcoming films like Ratchet and Clank, Uncharted, The Last of Us etc. change the trend moving forward? What are the differences of these two mediums?

  • I think it almost goes without saying that Tomb Raider should be looked at with this article and how the films potentially hurt the games coming after that until the reboot in 2013. Wreck it Ralph though would be a good example of how to do the adaptation well, using familiar game characters, but not as the primary protagonists/antagonists. The writer could look at toys, board games, card games that have received movies off the back of their success; I'm thinking of Bionicle, The Lego Movie and even Battleships. It may also be worth looking the other way as well. Film/TV to video games like South Park: The Stick of Truth. – Jamie 6 years ago
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  • I know many people in the gaming community who liked Tomb Raider. Angelina was a perfect actress to play the first version of ladies cost. The action could have been better but it wad much better then let's say the Super Mario brothers movie. I think with games having more narration to them adaptation will be easier to do. Perhaps the issue is that Hollywood feels that they do not need to pour as much work into the films because they already have a fan base. This may be true of books but games are different and not every liberty can be taken with then add Hollywood has done... "Battleship" – fchery 6 years ago
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  • The biggest challenge is the films give narrative control to the film makers. Games give some or all of it to the audience. If you're watching a film in the theaters, you can't control the cinemotography (space/position) and you can't control the editing (time/pacing). In games, though that's often not the case, usually you have some say over how long the game will be played, how it will be played, whether you want to finish it. Moreover, since designers for many reasons can't anticipate all your actions, they often leave a lot of the character work to you. Did you like FFVII in spite of or because of the blocky figures, which forced you to project all sorts of qualities onto Cloud, Aerith, etc? Remember what happened to Nintendo when it tried to give Samus a lengthier back story in Other M? A game like The Last of Us, might work on film, because the game monopolizes most of the story and character development. Indeed, that might be why adaptations of more recent games will do better than earlier ones because in many cases the player has less discretion over how to interpret the story. That is to say, since so many games try to be "cinematic", adapting them should be easier than prior efforts. – rj2n 6 years ago
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  • I completely agree with rj2n. For example, also, how will they create Portal? They are going to make it into a film. The fun of the game was figuring things out as the player and using your own skills and thought process to finish the game. Is an audience just going to sit there and watch? – Jaye Freeland 6 years ago
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