Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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The Friday Five (On a Saturday…Blasphemy!)

Hello to everyone out there in radio-land! I meant to get this blog post up last night, but I spent the evening at a Holiday party with my coworkers and then decided to run some late night errands at Target. Bu I am back on a Saturday morning to guide you all through a Friday Five post and I’m pretty excited to do it. My topic this evening: Five video game franchises I wouldn’t mind seeing turned into movies.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Video game movies are often terrible. I think I like exactly two of them (the original Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat movies). I know that it is also completely unnecessary to turn games into movies at this point because games are such a cinematic experience on their own. But there remains a few games I would love to see turned into films so I can explore their world for a different perspective and spend time with characters I love in a new adventure. So without further ado, here are five games I wouldn’t mind seeing as movies.

5. Ico

Ico is one of the most beautiful games of all time. Released in 2001 for Sony’s PlayStation 2 (man, I miss the PS2 era), Ico is a platform/puzzle/action hybrid game which takes place in a disturbingly decrepit but gorgeous castle. Ico is the story of a boy (the titular Ico) and a princess (Yorda) who attempt to escape from an ancient castle. Along the way they face daunting puzzles, are pursued by mysterious malevolent ghosts, and face off against an evil queen. Featuring very little dialogue and in-game cutscenes, Ico was not popular in America but found success in Europe and Japan. But it was appreciated by critics, who saw it as a surreal painting come to life and an incredibly unique experience.

Why I would see it as a movie: Ico is, to me, the perfect blend of Hayao Miyazaki and Jim Henson. It would make a great Dark Crystal-esque film and feature some exquisitely beautiful scenery.

4. Heavy Rain

My pick for PlayStation 3 Game of the Year 2010, Heavy Rain is one of the most compelling games of its generation. Developed by Quantic Dream and published by Sony, Heavy Rain tells the story of Ethan Mars, a father who will stop at nothing (*unless you choose otherwise*) to find his son. Heavy Rain is unique in that your in-game choices affect the narrative. The game features numerous endings based on your choices, making your decisions during Ethan’s “trials” especially intriguing. Heavy Rain’s uniqueness continues through its supporting  characters, all of whom are controlled for narrative purposes throughout the game extensively. While it does feature a few bugs, some laughably bad voice acting, and plot holes the size of Rhode Island, Heavy Rain is interesting in that it is a truly adult, mature experience that packs a heavy emotional punch.

Why I would see it as a movie: A movie version of Heavy Rain would no doubt fix the plot problems of the game while also tightening the pace and amping up the creepy factor considerably (Think Se7en meets Saw).

3. InFamous series

InFamous and its sequel are excellent video games inspired by comic books, urban exploration, and modern city life. Developed by Sucker Punch Studios, InFamous is the story of Cole MacGrath, a deliveryman who, upon receiving a mysterious package to deliver, is imbued with super-human electricity powers. He must use his new-found powers to save Empire City (generic stand in for NYC) and then later New Marais (generic stand in for New Orleans) before they are overrun by mutants, monsters, and other ill-tempered miscreants. Featuring an entire city to explore in each game, InFamous is just as much fun to run around in and perform menial tasks as it is to follow the overall story. Like Heavy Rain, InFamous also features a choice system (though not as well integrated) where your decision to help or hinder a community can affect certain outcomes of your game.

Why I would see it as a movie: Comic book movies are so generic and formulaic now that I would love to see an InFamous movie step in and make the genre exciting again.

2. Metal Gear Solid series

Metal Gear Solid was a landmark title for the original PlayStation when it was released in the fall of 1998. One of the first games of its generation to receive the coveted 10 score of Perfect from many video game media outlets of the time, Metal Gear Solid is the Konami-developed and published tale of spy, mercenary, soldier — you name it — extraordinaire Solid Snake, who must infiltrate a military base in Alaska and stop a group of terrorists from deploying a nuclear weapon. But this game is so much more than that. Featuring stealth action, exciting espionage, and great combat, Metal Gear Solid is one of the best, most influential games of all time. Great writing and direction from Hideo Kojima combine with fantastic voice performances (including David Hayter as Snake) to make for a unique cinematic experience during a generation of gaming that was not known for cinematic games. Sequels, including Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots continue the story of Solid Snake and, while great games, they don’t quite hold the place in my heart the original does.

Why I would see it as a movie: A movie version would be kinda like Die Hard meets Commando if you really think about it. That’s pretty awesome.

1. Uncharted series

Uncharted owes a heavy debt to both Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones, where it indeed “borrows” a lot of its premise. But what it lacks in originality, Uncharted more than makes up for in character, story, and pure spectacle. Developed by Naughty Dog Entertainment, the Uncharted series is universally acclaimed. Each game in this three-game series features hero Nathan Drake squaring off against a powerful adversary, globe-trotting to exotic locales, saving the day, and getting the girl (Elena Fisher — one of the best written female video game characters ever). Each also features interesting puzzles, great platforming action, and relentless enemies to combat. What truly sets Uncharted above its peers is its main focus on characters: Drake, humorously cantankerous partner Sully, and love interest Elena are the heart, soul, and secret weapon of this series.

Why I would see it as a movie: It would be a better theatrical experience as a film than the last Indiana Jones movie and both Tomb Raider movies by a country mile. Also, it is one of the most cinematic game series of its generation, if not all time.

-Z-

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2 responses to “The Friday Five (On a Saturday…Blasphemy!)

  1. CultureCast-N December 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I still await Super Smash Bros: The Movie in IMAX 3D.

  2. CultureCast-N December 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Seriously though, I do think a Super Mario Bros movie could work. I’ve been saying this for at least ten years now, but if you made the film a CGI animated feature and give it the tone of Shrek films (family-friendly yet slightly subversive with a hint of self-awareness) the film would work and be successful.

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