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The 9 Best Video Game Movies

Ian Monk



Sonic the Hedgehog movie image
Paramount Pictures

Here’s a tough article, what are the best movies related to a video game? It’s a head-scratcher but we’re going to give it a go.

Come on, let’s be honest, when we think of movies based on video games we heave a sigh, roll our eyes and look despondently at our feet. We have all learned, through bitter experience, that this genre of movies has never been a good thing and our experience is a long and enduring one. Since Hollywood first spat out the first example, way back in 1993, with the release of Super Mario Bros which starred Bob Hoskins. Maybe his agent thought this was a good idea after Hoskins’ appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, who knows?! We have been inundated with 29 movies all in all.

But why do they do it? The cynical reason why Hollywood looks to the gaming world for inspiration. Like an experienced surfer riding the wave all the way into shore. So the movie studios look to ride the success of whatever video game is dominating the market and the zeitgeist at that time. How to ensure that your video game movie captures the best box office? It must capture the attention of the excitement and player support that the game garners.

Now one of these entries was pure animation and may not sit comfortably within your purview of what makes up a movie? But in 2016 we were presented with The Angry Birds Movie which was a decent box office success. Hitting $350M on a $73M budget though critically it failed to inspire. One of the reasons for this (apart from the bad script) was the fact this movie appeared 7 years after the game had come out and become the sensation that it did.

A studio issue?

Unfortunately, most studios forget that they still need to make good movies around a video game. Due to low budgets, poor scripts, and ham acting, we, the poor audience, have to suffer the consequences and sit through most of this drivel. But that’s the thing, even though we know what to expect we still go and watch the next installment to this. So we only have ourselves to blame for keeping this disappointing genre going! And so we have the very latest edition to this shoddy list – Mortal Kombat (2021).

On the face of it, it’s difficult to understand why this movie was made. Coming almost a generation after the 90’s video game and 1995 movie of the same name. But this is based on the recently released game, Mortal Kombat 11 (2019), that was the highest grossing edition in the franchise. Judging by the “edgy” and violent trailer, the reboot is taking the movie franchise into a different direction. And certainly with a bigger budget than the first. Will we watch it? Of course we will. Will it be any good? Probably not. But that’s not the point, as this movie marks #30 pn the list, we will definitely be lining up to watch it just as we did the first way back when.

But there must have been some of these movies that are good, I hear you plead. Certainly there have been a few which have risen themselves (albeit slightly) above the rest of the fare and it is these that we turn our attention to now. Trying to find the right balance between encapsulating the joys of the game to producing a worthwhile movie that can achieve both critical and box office success (or at least just making some damn money, if nothing else!). So here are nine of the “best” movies this genre has to offer…trust me when I say, “that’s not saying much(!)”

9. Silent Hill – 2006

Based on the psychological creep-fest game that appeared in 1999. Silent Hill mirrors the tone of the game pretty well and makes for some uncomfortable moments. While piling on the creature-fest aspect, as well, though with less success. After having dreams about the place, our protagonist, Rose, has driven to the mysterious town with her adopted daughter. But they are involved in a car accident and Rose regains consciousness only to find that her daughter is missing and presumed to be lost in Silent Hill.

So far so good, but as the film producers were feeling pressured to “liven up” the project for a cinema audience. So they went a bit OTT on the creature feature and lost the atmosphere. This played heavily on the critics, who gave it a swerve. While the box office began well ($20M on opening weekend) but stalled with just $100M and when it cost $50M to make, that’s not good.

8. Resident Evil – 2002

The movie that spawned the most successful video game movies franchise ever. Six films and a billion dollars later, we have an enduring storyline that never knows when to stop (2021 will see a reboot to start it all off again!) and has kept husband and wife team, Paul W S Anderson and Milla Jovovich, in full-time employment for a long time already.

Compared with the sequels, this was quite a straightforward affair. It focused more on the initial fun of the 1996 video game with our female star getting to grips with a zombie outbreak. For the uncomplicated storytelling and the similarity to the game’s “shoot-em-up” model, it worked quite well. Though critics were split on this very issue. Box office receipts were moderate to start with as it just crept over $100M on a $33M budget.

7. Tomb Raider – 2001

Another stalwart of the video game universe that got a reboot over 20 years after the original 1996 game came out. This would be based on one of the latter game editions, that was released in 2013, and boasted the fact that they had an Oscar winner in the starring role. Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander, took up the baton left behind by Angelina Jolie.

A fairly straightforward plot of Lara trying to find her missing father on a mysterious island. That would lead to a lot of climbing and jumping about while firing off her big guns – which is all that you could ask for, really. Achieving a moderate critical response, though IMDB reviewers hold it in higher regard. But the nail in the coffin for this reboot franchise was that it gleaned $276M from the worldwide box office. Though this was considered just break even considering it’s whopping $94M budget.

6. Tomb Raider – 2018

The reboot is only beaten by the original. With an all-star cast that consisted of Jolie, pre-James Bond Daniel Craig and Jon Voight to name just a few. An accredited Hollywood director, Simon West, at the helm it was destined for good things – sort of. A spectacular set-piece (which means more jumping and climbing). And a spectacular chest from Ms Jolie would ensure entertainment for all.

But it would not be well received critically. The director would comment, a decade afterwards, that the prospect of a strong female protagonist was ahead of its time. If it had appeared after Hunger Games and Wonder Woman maybe its reception would’ve been different? After costing $115M to make it only managed $275M in worldwide receipts.

5. Doom – 2005

This early workout for The Rock was based on the third installment of the 1993 game that had come out just a year before the film’s release. Boasting acting chops from both Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike, this movie kept things close to the spirit of the classic First Person Shooter (FPS). Though with a touch of Cameron’s Aliens thrown in for good measure.

This close adhering to the game’s style would put off critics (I mean, what were they expecting? Shakespeare??) and the movie died at the box office as it failed to even recoup its $60M budget.

4. Street Fighter – 1994

This would be only the second video game movie to appear. But, though not one of the “greats”, it does have a lot of charm and a memorable performance from Raul Julia (which would be his last role). As well as ham acting from Jean-Claude Van Damme between his bouts of martial arts.

Considering the rather big budget of $35M, the movie boasted pretty poor production quality. Not to mention the poor script (when it wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek). It did manage receipts of $99M though could not manage kind words from the critics.

3. Sonic The Hedgehog – 2020

So, almost 30 years after the game originally came out, we get the delight of a Sonic movie. Though seemingly pointless, it would actually be quite a success. As a good blend of (newly improved) CGI, don’t mention the teeth, fun story and the antics of Jim Carrey (his best for a long time) helped to make this a hit.

Though splitting the critics, its $85M budget was recouped from its $320M receipts.

2. Pokemon Detective Pikachu – 2019

Based off the 2016 video game of the same name, this was a project you might not have much hope for, initially. But the shrewd casting of Ryan Reynolds to voice the lead proved intuitive and ensured the movie would sway the critics. Ensuring a strong $433M return on its $150M investment.

1. Mortal Kombat – 1995

Coming in at #1, Paul Anderson’s first foray into video game movies proved to be a successful one. Keeping close to the source, the fighting was upfront and centre with Christopher Lambert leading the charge. Achieving the strongest reviews within the genre, it would go on to make over 6 times its $18M budget.

Thank you for reading our article on the nine best video game movies. Did we miss any, which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Read about the top 11 video game heroes HERE.

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Gaming News

Animal Crossing vs. Stardew Valley

Victoria Newell



Animal Crossing vs Stardew Valley image
Nintendo & ConcernedApe

In the world of video game escapism, there are generally two options. Become a hero, mowing down enemies and saving the world…or engage in fun, relaxing physical labour. Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing are both games that focus on building a community and town. While both of these games have similar goals and objectives, they definitely have their own pros and cons. So to which escapist town should you retire? We’re looking at Animal Crossing vs Stardew Valley.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing hit the world hard in the early weeks of the pandemic. The most recent iteration of the game; Animal Crossing; New Horizons released for the Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020. But the game itself has been around since April 14, 2001, starting its journey on the GameCube.

You play as the Villager, who moves to a new town and takes out a housing loan from the infamous Tom Nook. To pay off your debt, you can sell fish, fruit, bugs, or fossils; donating those same items to Blathers’ museum. Once you’ve paid off your debt to Tom Nook, he graciously expands your house and grants you a new loan. It’s a classic tale of capitalism.

There’s plenty of stuff you can do in addition to working on your housing debt as well. You can design the interior of your house, collect rare items, work on completing the museum, and meet your neighbours. The other townsfolk are a collection of cute animals who will move in and out of the Village. You can celebrate holidays, birthdays, and special events, exploring the Village and the animals who live in it.

Now New Horizons takes the classic Animal Crossing formula and adds a little twist to it. Instead of living in the typical Village, you arrive at an uninhabited island. Tom Nook, alongside his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, have bought an island and are offering you and three other townsfolk a new life on a brand new island. Besides to paying off your housing debt and decorating your house, you can also decorate the entire island and make decisions about its layout. This is the most autonomy the player has had over the layout and look of their village, as well as the townsfolk who reside there.

Animal Crossing is a peaceful experience with pleasing graphics and music. It’s a classic game; with the Villager and staple Animal Crossing characters like Isabel being playable Smash characters. It has been an established and loved game for over twenty years.

But Animal Crossing, specifically New Horizons, is not without its flaws. The game moves in real-time, and while you can cheat and time jump, it can definitely become monotonous. New Horizons is also lacking in events. The game has decided to release new features in free updates as time goes on. For example, the ability to swim and dive was added to the June 22nd update, four months after the game’s release. New holidays, furniture, and characters also prop up in updates. New Horizons also has a crafting feature, and while it adds a new element to the game, it makes it significantly harder to get the furniture and design pieces the player desires. The townsfolk also have limited dialogue options, and interacting with them can become boring.

In an effort to make New Horizons feel new every few months, it comes across as feeling incomplete. It is easy to feel as though you’re doing chores, rather than playing a game.

Stardew Valley

Similar to Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is also a game about building up a village and home. Both games are designed for peaceful escapism to a quiet town. But Stardew Valley absolutely has its differences from Animal Crossing. It’s a much newer game, coming out February 26, 2016, and is playable on several consoles; PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch, iOS, and Android.

You play as the Farmer, moving to your deceased grandfather’s farm to escape the monotony of life in the big city. You earn money by selling your crops, fishing and mining. Stardew Valley also has a pretty large crafting feature; like Animal Crossing.

But where the character interactions in Animal Crossing or meant to be cute or humorous with very little long-term consequences, your relationship with the other residents in Stardew Valley are a massive part of the game. You can even marry another character and have children with them. Once you reach certain relationship levels with them, you may receive a cut scene giving you more insight as to who they are. These cutscenes reveal an intricate and interesting larger story taking place in the valley.

There is also a combat feature because as you mine, you encounter monsters. Some cute 8-bit creatures to get your heart racing. There are mysteries to unlock throughout the valley as well. Supernatural elements abound through sightings of mermaids, woodland creatures, and the cooky Wizard.

Stardew Valley has seasonal events as well. They are cute and low-stakes events where you can get to know the other residents of the Valley and enjoy each other’s company. There are larger events as well, progressing the longer you live in the Valley, that have long-term implications for the community.

Simply put; Stardew Valley has significantly more to do than Animal Crossing and a much more elaborate plotline. But where Stardew Valley is more intricate than Animal Crossing, it is also more complicated. There is a lot to keep up with, and sometimes it feels as though there are not enough virtual hours in a day to get done all the Farmer needs to do. Time in Stardew Valley moves fast, with each hour passing by in increments of ten minutes, seven seconds in real life between them. If your Farmer is awake past 2am they will pass out, so you have to be in bed at a reasonable time.

Even though Animal Crossing can become boring in its simplicity, Stardew Valley becomes almost overwhelming. Do you focus on the Farmer’s love life? Turning a fast crop profit? Upgrading your house? Exploring the mine? Because there is definitely not enough time in the Stardew Valley day to do it all.

Furthermore, to the graphics snob, it should be noted that Stardew Valley is an 8-bit game. But the game design is beautiful, and the music is cute and relaxing.

The Village or the Valley?

In the question of Animal Crossing vs. Stardew Valley, the answer comes down to one thing. Do you want to do simple tasks to take your mind off the stresses of the day? Then your answer is Animal Crossing. Do you want to dive into an intricate world with nuanced stories, prepared to put some work into your farm? Stardew Valley is your game.

They both scratch the same itch. Simplistic escapism in the form of simple tasks and cute stories. The question is how you scratch that itch.

Thanks for reading our Animal Crossing vs Stardew Valley article. Which side do you fall on? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Read about seven Nintendo Switch games to get excited about HERE.

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