It's a video game world. More than any previous decade, we are rooted in video game culture and playing has become more of an obsession today than going to the movies, reading a good book, or listening to music. What is it about the video game that has captivated us to the point where it's the predominate form of entertainment of the current generation? With video games being more popular than they've ever been before, we find it odd that the bulk of the movies made around and/or centered in the video game world were all made, mostly, in the 1980s. Certainly, the imagination of kids who grew up in the 1980s was captured by the incoming video game culture with the release of Nintendo, the continued-success of Atari, the video arcade boom of the late '70s and early '80s etc...
This all begs the question: Why hasn't there been a movie like any of the below made recently? Certainly, we've seen our share of movies made out of the video games themselves, but never again have we seen something that featured people living/working, taking the journey through the video game culture that has become such a major part of culture today.
What follows are our favorite video game-rooted movies. These are movies were the story of the movie is centered around the video game culture or finds characters immersed in the video game world etc..
In no particular order:
The Wizard (1989)
Who doesn't remember The Wonder Years? Kid-actor Fred Savage stars in this 1989 movie about a boy and his brother who sneak off to compete in a video game competition. The film, perhaps, is most well-known because of how the Nintendo company integrated itself into the movie with numerous references to the system and its games--with the big finale of movie centered around the unveiling of Super Mario Bros. 3. One thing that fans of Nintendo and The Wizard often remember most about the movie is how it featured the Nintendo Power Glove. With the Nintendo boom in full swing, The Wizard was released in several different countries that saw it titled, Joy Stick Heroes in Germany, Sweet Road in Japan, and Videokid in France.
To capitalize on the video arcade boom of the early 80s, director Greydon Clark came up with Joysticks, a low budget movie that only took 13 days to shot. Clark tied-in Midway Games for the movie and the story line of Joysticks features two opposing business men squaring off against other. One, the owner of a popular video arcade, the other, a businessman who wants the arcade gone. The end result? There must be a video game showdown between two of the town's best players on a Pacman machine.
Cloak & Dagger (1984)
Written by Tom Holland and directed by Richard Franklin, Cloak & Dagger finds a young boy, Davey Osbourne, get mixed up in a game of spies via a roll-playing video game. Along the way, his imaginary friend, Jack Flack, the best spy in the business. As Davey and Jack stumble onto some real secret spy stuff through the video game, all the bad guys come out of the woodwork and set out to kill Davey. As the young boy and his imaginary friend run around town, barely escaping all those who are after him, he only has a little time to solve everything. The movie, while, being about a young kid who is centered in video game, in some respects, plays out like a really great role-playing video game inside of itself. It's a video game inside of a video game, if you will....
WarGames features a young Matthew Broderick, who plays a computer genius who accidentally hacks into a United States military computer and sees a play for a nuclear war. Yet, all the while he's inside the US government computer, he only believes that he's playing a video game, a simulation for nuclear war. In the end, his tinkering around, almost causes World War III and triggers a national scare. See, this is why you don't hack someone's computer!
One of the most under-rated horror/science fiction movies of the 1990s. Little Edward Furlong, who fresh off the heels of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1992) stars in this little, twisted video game flix about a boy who gets sucked into a very creepy video game called Brainscan. The premise of the game, and no doubt, something that in the video game world, is right around the corner more or less, is for its players to act as psychopaths and go on a murder spree along with the games gatekeeper "Trickster." As the boy gets sucked into the game and it encompasses more and more of his life, things turn from fiction into reality, and Trickster begins to visit our hero outside of the game, where he shows up in his bedroom at night and asks him to kill. Not to spoil the movie but, in the end, Brainscan turns out to be a very inventive allegory on the duality of all men.