Lovers of video games and those who can’t get enough of top quality films and tv shows will have noted that, at present, we are very much experiencing a real renaissance in the combining of these two genres and art forms.
Everyone knows that gamers are a very particular bunch, and they are not easily pleased when it comes to attempts to convert their favorite titles into movies and tv series, but even the most ardent cynic among the gaming community will have been very pleased with recent efforts in this field.
The act of bringing a successful video gaming title to the screen, be it for a TV show or a movie, is not an easy task.
We all remember fairly disastrous attempts in this niche, such as the downright outrageously poor 1993 production of Super Mario Bros., but over the past few years, productions have been far more effective at bringing video games to life, whether by looking to get buy-in from the gaming community by faithfully replicating the games they are adapting, from using sound effects associated with the game to stay true to the storyline and ethos of much-loved classics, it just seems that projects in this space have tried their utmost to get it right and the results are clear for all to see.
Video gaming fans, much like those who love comic books, are a tough bunch to please, and as such, the shows that take the job on need to be well aware of what they are doing, in much the same way as Marvel comics were brought to life so well by films made within the MCU (Marvel Comic Universe), movies and TV shows that use video gaming titles as their base need to be at their peak when effectively adapting the source material to productions on the big and small screen.
Let’s take a closer look at the best examples of video games that have been adapted into films and TV shows in recent years and the reasons why they have proven so successful with gamers and non-gamers alike.
Henry Cavill is well thought of by the gaming community for his depiction of Geralt of Rivia in this Netflix adaptation. It helps that he’s already very much an A-lister, thanks to his Superman and Mission Impossible work, but perhaps the added bonus for gamers is that the English actor is actually a big gamer himself.
He clearly realizes the importance of the series to gaming fans and therefore delivers a performance that is strong and also brings to life the game in this TV series. When it first aired, it became the third most in-demand show on streaming channels, behind Stranger Things and The Mandalorian.
Within the first month of airing on Netflix, it had been watched by over 76 million viewers, and season two was similarly successful. With seasons three and four having already been green-lit by the channel, fans of the game, and the show, have a lot more to look forward to from this fantasy epic.
The Last of Us
The success of this video adaptation has been astronomical. The HBO show, starring Pedro Pascal (Mandalorian, Game of Thrones), has attracted glowing praise from fans and critics alike.
Fronted by Craig Mazin, who brought us the excellent Chernobyl, this show faithfully recaptures the essence of the video game series, often shot for shot, and is eagerly lapped up by audiences week after week.
It does what any great video game adaptation should do. It takes the source material and stays true to it but also looks to appease those who may not be aware of the game, helping to produce a show that is thrilling, heartbreaking, and incredibly addictive.
Sonic the Hedgehog
When it comes to retro appeal, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie series was always going to lead to ticket sales at the cinema; however, it is refreshing that the 2020 release was actually pretty fun and amusing too.
You should never underestimate the value of nostalgia, and fans of the original were out in force to see this one in the cinemas, and it’s worth noting that the film still made a decent amount at the box office even though its release coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Carrey puts in a great portrayal as Dr. Robotnik, showing the veteran actor at his over-the-top best, and Ben Schwartz’s voice work as Sonic is top-notch. The sequel, which came out in 2022, was even more successful, and no doubt more in this franchise will be forthcoming.
This animated adaptation has proven very successful. Arcane from Netflix is set in the League of Legends universe and has been a critical and fan hit of epic proportions. When it was released on the streaming service, Arcane topped Netflix’s chart in no less than 52 countries.
The animation used in his show is simply out of this world, and as far as adaptations that fit in the video game sphere, it doesn’t get any better than this. The acclaim for the show is universal and has proven very successful with those who are not overly familiar with the video game itself.
It went on to win a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program and features the voice of Hailee Stanfield as Violet, and season two is on its way.