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The 9 Worst Video Game Movies

Ian Monk



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 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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