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The 9 Worst Video Game Movies

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Prince of Persia movie image
Disney Studios

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

When we are about to eat our popcorn as the lights go out, or about to press the ‘Play’ button, we are already feeling trepidation. As a glutton for punishment, we all eagerly sit down to watch the latest video game movie only to get up later shaking our heads. Truly a genre no one particularly wanted but here we are, 28 years on, and we have two new movies to ‘look forward to’Mortal Kombat and a reboot of Resident Evil (huh?!).

The manure pile began in 1993 with the release of Super Mario Bros and quickly followed by Street Fighter (1994) and Mortal Kombat (1995). Though the latter two were, in fact, pretty good examples of the crossover genre, the first was not. The film meandered into some ‘left-field’ plot twists that removed the movie too far from the source material. But even when these movies originally came out, we were all quite wary of what to expect. The reason for this is simple: video game/movie crossovers were excruciatingly bad even before this!

From the 1980s onwards, we had the ‘enjoyment’ of buying video games based on movies. In those, early days, we quickly learned that most of these were destined for the ‘Bargain Shelf’ at your local retailer. Where this went spectacularly wrong was right from the start – 1982, Atari and ET. This “cartridge” has gone down in folklore as the worst video game ever made (let alone for a movie tie-in!). It was so bad, it almost brought the whole industry down with it. The game’s fate was sealed when all the remaining unsold stock were dumped. About 80,000 cartridges into a landfill, in New Mexico, with concrete poured over them!

How we wish some of these movies suffered the same fate (or, at least, the people who made them!). Though some films raise themselves slightly into the scope of, “Hmmm, ok”, many are just, “Meh”, or words I’m not allowed to print here. But why is this? Why do the majority of these projects fail on such a grand scale?

A talent issue?

It’s not as if having a big budget with A-list acting talent can save some of these horrendous titles. Take two perfect examples: Warcraft (2016) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). Both titles went for this approach – massive blockbuster budgets and Hollywood A-listed actors. Warcraft cost $160M while Prince of Persia hit $200M. Yet in the US domestic box office, both bombed drastically. The latter could only manage $90M while the former barely hit 25% of its cost as it struggled to make just $47M!

The problem with the pair of these is that they have tried to go too deep and immersive into these game worlds. Losing focus on the core attraction of the gameplay was what the audience was looking for in the first place.

Some movies lose focus simply by ignoring the video game in the first place. Taking any video game title off the shelf and concocting a half-baked movie script around it. With only the flimsiest budgets available, they will spew out a whole range of movie projects designed to capture the “buzz” at the time.
But this niche film-making can be quite lucrative even if it is critically panned. The king of this film school is the German director, Uwe Bol, who has a total of 12 “loosely” based video game movies. Though all low budget, it didn’t stop him from signing up some decent acting talent for these projects. But like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, the movie would be processed, packaged and delivered to its customers in record time.

Yet, these movies are so bad (famously so, in fact) that they never make a profit. But his self-financing for the projects ensures that he can continue what he loves doing best. Even if everyone else wants him to stop.

So here they are, the worst of the worst, and that’s really saying something!

9. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li – 2009

15 years after the original, everybody was clamouring for a new Street Fighter movie – not. Here they focus on Chun Li as the main character, vowing to rescue her father from Lord Bison. The script was even more removed from the source and what story it had didn’t make much sense either.

After putting $18M to make it, the box office returns only achieved $12.8M. A movie so bad even Jean-Claude Van Damme turned it down.

8. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – 1997

Just 2 years after the original movie, this would hit the screens, but they needn’t have bothered. Without Christopher Lambert, the acting stakes are seriously reduced. Not helped by a poor script and hapless directing, the story revolves around our “Heroes” defending the Earth (again).

The cost of this disaster was $30M and it went on to take $51M at the worldwide box office – that’s a lot of unhappy people.

7. Wing Commander – 1999

Back in the early 90’s this game stood above most other titles. But this must be the only movie based on a flight simulation game?! Interplanetary warfare is the name of the game – along with some incredible “hammy” performances. Some key Hollywood names appeared here: David Warner, Jurgen Prochnow and David Suchet who would go on to corner the market in the Poirot TV series.


This space junk would cost $30M to create and it could only return $11.5M from the worldwide box office receipts. And that includes the $5M that they made on Opening Weekend!

6. Warcraft – 2016

Inevitable that this long-running role-playing game would get a theatrical release. With a mega budget and a rising-star director, Duncan Jones (son of rock star, David Bowie) we may have had some hope for this project. Not so fast everyone. A cast that was a little short of star quality and a script that was heading into the deeper recesses of Warcraft canon. A recipe for a “mission failure” as the convoluted storyline sunk the movie without trace.

As mentioned before, its budget was $160M and from its domestic receipts, it could only garner $47M. But, the strength of the worldwide box office ensured it made $439M though still not enough to cover the Studio’s losses. Though from the $100M earned in China, they loved it!

5. Need For Speed – 2014

So we finally get a racing game movie – excellent! Hollywood knows car chases and racing with a long history of notable titles. Who can forget Steve McQueen in Bullitt and the Too Fast Too Furious franchise. What could go wrong? Everything apparently. Cast was a mixed bag: Dominic Cooper (before his Warcraft stint); a young Rami Malek (pre-Mr Robot) and an old Michael Keaton. But it would be the pacing of this movie that would stall the film. At 132 minutes long, it makes it insufferable to watch. Way too much “race-free” moments to leave it flagging. In this genre, anything over 85 minutes is a burden.

With a hefty budget of $66M (their car insurance must have been horrendous?!), it could only muster $43.5M domestically. But again, worldwide takings pushed this to $203M though not enough for a sequel.

4. Alone in the Dark – 2005

And so we come to one of Uwe Bol’s cinematic delights. Based on the 4th instalment of this long-running game saga, it had some intrepid B-list players – Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff. Though it has been regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, on the review site of Metascore it only reaches single figures! This film fails on all fronts as it neither pleases the video game fanbase or horror movie enthusiasts. A movie that is truly alone in all sense of the word.

Only costing $20M to make it could only earn $5M in America and just $12.5M around the world.

3. Assassin’s Creed – 2016

Picture this: a director and two Hollywood actors on top of their game have just finished making Macbeth. It was a critical success and then the director says, “Hey, let’s shoot a video game movie”. “Sure!” they all reply – wrong answer. Taking a well-established game’s universe and supplanting it with unnecessary baggage. The project was doomed to a critical wasteland. Despite having Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson. This could not be saved and the poor reviews reflected this.

A massive budget of $125M it was estimated the movie lost nearly $100M for the studio. Domestically it picked up just $54M and $241M worldwide.

2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – 2010

Assassin’s Creed should have learnt from the mistakes this movie made. Big budget, big cast, paper-thin plot and vapid characterisation. Having an all-white cast for an Arabian story didn’t go down well either. WOKE sensitivities were beginning to bloom and this movie took a hit for it. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley would lead the line though not much they could do to improve it. Later, Gyllenhaal would publicly disclose that he regretted making it.


Its $200M budget could not be recouped despite its $336M takings worldwide.

1. Postal – 2007

Fitting that Uwe Bol would take the crown. Based on a tongue-in-cheek shooter game this would follow the same line – but it is truly horrendous to watch. Despite its “fun” approach, it doesn’t work. Recouping just 1% of its $15M budget!


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


Read about the 9 best video game movies HERE.

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Gaming News

Animal Crossing 2.0 – Review

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Animal Crossing 2 image
Nintendo

On November 5th, Animal Crossing 2.0 alongside the DLC Happy Home Paradise was released. It was the last major free update to hit the latest game in the franchise and added a host of new features to the game. After almost a month of playing it, here’s our review and everything new in Animal Crossing 2.0 from Nintendo.

Background

Animal Crossing has been around for 20 years, with its first release on 14th April 2001. Since then it’s released several versions of the game for the DS, Wii, and so on.

The latest version, New Horizons, came to the Nintendo Switch at just the right time; at the very beginning of Quarantine. It was easily the most popular Nintendo game last year. But it had a fatal flaw; rather than including everything upfront, Nintendo would release periodic updates where they would add to the game. The goal was to keep the game feeling fresh, but the result was that New Horizons felt unfinished. The game was bare-bones compared to past versions of Animal Crossing and didn’t have half as much to do. With the release of the last free update, New Horizons finally feels like a complete game. So what’s new? While there were a lot of things added and small things fixed, we’re just going to focus on the major gameplay changes and additions.

Brewster

The beloved pigeon, Brewster, has been in Animal Crossing since 2005. He runs a cosy coffee shop, The Roost, usually located in the Museum. But he has been missing from New Horizons. A fan favourite, his absence has definitely been felt. Brewster is one of the most demanded additions to New Horizons. With the update, you can find him gyroid hunting on one of Kapp’n’s Islands and invite him to your island, where he will set up the Roost once more. You will also find some of your residents and NPCs there and can invite current and past Animal Crossing characters to the Roost via Amiibo card.

Kapp’n

Speaking of Kapp’n, the turtle is back. In past versions of the game, Kapp’n is usually the one taking you to your new village at the start of every game. Whether it be by taxi, bus, or train, Animal Crossing typically kicks off with the retired seafarer. But New Horizons didn’t feature Kapp’n at all; until now. Now you can have him take you on island tours via his little boat off your dock. Some of these islands are extremely rare and feature exclusive items. He also sings you a little song while you make the journey..

Gyroids

Gyroids have, once again, been a part of every Animal Crossing game until New Horizons. They are little singing things that can be placed like furniture. In New Horizons, you can find a fragment on Kapp’n’s islands, bury it, water it, and a gyroid will grow the next day. Or some may be buried on your island after a rainy day. While past versions of gyroids have been annoying, the New Horizon’s gyroids are adorable and delightful. In New Horizons, Brewster is an avid collector. You’ll even get a Brewster gyroid after drinking enough coffee.

Cooking / Farming

Cooking has also been added to the game, something entirely unique to New Horizons. You can purchase crop starts from Leif, start a farm, and then cook the produce you grow. This opens up a whole host of fun recipes, and you can gift your creations to your residents. Eating a meal will make your villager stronger for longer, the same effect eating fruit previously had.

Group Stretching

You can also host a group stretching event in the plaza. Random villagers and NPCs will join you. You can use your controllers to actually stretch with them, or use the joysticks if you’re stuck with a Lite or don’t feel like standing up.

Harv’s Island

Harv’s Island was previously… pretty useless. There was really nothing to do there aside from taking pictures, which is fun once. Now you can help him build an open-air Farmers Market/Commune. For 100,000 bells each, you can invite NPCs to set up a permanent shop. Among these are Leif, Redd, Kicks, Saharah, Reese, and Cyrus, who have all been seen in New Horizons. But it also introduces the return of Tortimer, the mayor from past games. (Who some fans theorized was dead until now). Harriet, a hairdresser who introduces a ton of new hairstyles to the game. And the fortune-teller Katrina. This expansion to Harv’s island is a huge resource.

You no longer have to wait for these NPCs to come to your island to purchase goods from them. It also opens up more customization for previously uncustomisable items. And it’s another goal to work towards after you pay off your home loans.

Ordinances

You can now issue Ordinances through Isabelle in the town hall. These include things like adding a Bell Boom so that you find more bells and goods are worth more, but things also cost more. Or the Beautiful Island ordinance, which will have your villagers pick up weeds and trash and will cause your flowers to grow faster. You can also issue that your villagers wake up earlier or go to bed later.

Happy Home Paradise

In addition to 2.0, a DLC was added to the Nintendo Store. Happy Home Paradise allows you to “get a job” building vacation homes. You report to your boss Lottie for work, alongside your coworkers Niko and Wardell. From there, you choose a character and build a home for them. They will give you a theme and some items they want to see in their home. You can also design facilities, like a cafe or school and assign characters to work in them. Using an amiibo card, you can also design homes for NPCs like Isabelle or Tom Nook, where you will have free reign over the design.

Happy Home Paradise also introduces partition walls which allow for more design options in your house. It also includes a lot of new furniture. When you’ve designed enough vacation homes, you are able to then redesign the houses on your island.

HHP adds a lot to the game. Animal Crossing’s flaw has always been that it gets too repetitive. HHP adds some flavour and a lot more to do. So even long after you’ve paid off your home loan and made your island pretty, you can still really engage with the game. It adds to and boosts life on the island, but also extends the world a bit. You can interact with more characters beyond just your residents and have more interaction with NPCs beyond purchasing goods from them.

Overall

All in all, the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise have elevated New Horizons. It makes the game feel new and adds what many fans have been asking for. While they are both great, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this all should have been included from the get-go like past versions of the game. After playing a skeleton of a game for a year, we now truly have a new Animal Crossing game.


Do you like Animal Crossing 2.0? Do you agree with our Animal Crossing review? Let us know in the comments below.


We compare Animal Crossing with Stardew Valley HERE.

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