The Ninjabot

Categorized | Movies Editorial

Why Aren’t Game-Based Films Successful?

Posted on January 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

Over the years, there have been hundreds of films produced that are based on various forms of media, including novels and comics. Many of these films have been a hit with the general public.

So what happens when filmmakers try to convert a popular game into a film?

They tend to flop.

And we’ll explore some of the reasons why in this article.

They’re Set Up for a Fall

As soon as you hear that there’s a new film coming out and it’s based on a popular video game, you’ll be forgiven for cringing slightly. Most film fans or video game buffs have some reservations when they hear this.


Because the standards for these types of films are already very low, and this is due to the number of horrific adaptions there have been. People don’t expect game-based films to do well at the Box Office so filmmakers have a tough time trying to convert them.

Wing Commander is a prime example. In 1999, this film burst onto the scene but was quickly shot down in flames by critics. This was not only due to inadequate special effects but also because two film stars didn’t feature in the film, despite having parts in the video games (Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell). However, maybe they knew something we didn’t?

They’re Focusing on the Wrong Games

If you were asked to think of games that could easily be converted into films, you’d probably be spoilt for choice. There are plenty that boast great storylines and intriguing characters (take Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls, for example). However, these often get left in the sidelines while films like Dead or Alive, Resident Evil and Need for Speed are transported onto the big screen.

This begs the question as to whether producers are picking the wrong games or they’re avoiding state-of-the-art games in case they can’t fulfil gamers’ expectations.

They’re Not Choosing the Right Stories

Gamers love to play games that place them at the centre of the action, which isn’t hard because you’re controlling the main character and have the ability to influence the outcome of the game. However, when you’re watching a film, you’re reliant on a compelling storyline to make you feel like you’re part of the action.

Game-based films need to bring this game to life by providing it with a great story.

Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are just two of the games that have failed to do this. In both video games there weren’t intricate stories, so filmmakers could have had a field day creating one.

But did they?

No. They just settled for sub-standard acting that made the films hard to watch and far less attention-grabbing than they could have been.

Film-Based Games Do Work

On the other hand, film-based games, like those that are transformed into online slots, are received with far more confidence and enthusiasm. From The Godfather to The Matrix, the online casinos at bring a number of great films to the forefront of the gambling industry.


Well, it seems as though they provide audiences with a great, all-encompassing experience compared to game-based films. The latter tend to leave you wanting more, regardless of whether you’re a previous fan of the game or not.


    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos