Cinema and Video Games: the best and worst tie-ins

Cinema and Video Games: the best and worst tie-ins

Cinema and Video Games

The history of cinema and video games is studded with products that are the result of mutual influences. The two forms of entertainment have, over time, borrowed from each other, characters, settings, atmospheres and stories. This phenomenon takes the name of tie-in, that is a mutual inspiration that "marks" films and video games as being part of a specific universe or narrative strand.

Let's see, then, together what are the films and video games ha, most of all they have made people talk both for good and for bad, and who have also contributed to the rebirth of the tie-in practice of mutual aid, much criticized but which today is experiencing a second chance for redemption.

A brief history of the tie-in

It wasn't long ago that the video games that filled the shelves of the shops were inspired by the world of movies, film sagas and blockbusters. This happened especially between the nineties and the 2000s, when walking through the shopping centers you could not fail to come across the Harry Potter and Alien video games.

Even flops like Eragon and Catwoman gave birth to specially created video games, and those works were often even worse than the films that inspired them. Today, however, this type of marketing operation is milder and has given way to the reverse trend, that is to draw films and TV series from successful video games. In fact, in recent years a work has been created that is more linked to brand recognition than to the faithful adaptation of film material in bits.

In short, a trend, that of video games as transpositions of single films, rather brutal and which, more often than you think, has given rise to devastating chain reactions for some companies. This is the case of Atari, which in 1982 decided to produce the worst video game ever, the one inspired by the film by Steven Spielberg, E.T. - The Extraterrestrial. On the other hand, we must also talk about films based on successful video games. From the first adaptations of the nineties to the most recent, there have been many tops but many more flops, as if there was some sort of mystical curse on this transposing practice.

The best films based on video games and vice versa

Mortal Kombat Detective Pikachu The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay Mad Max Blade Runner LEGO The Lord of the Rings Tomb Rider

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is one of the most loved video games of all time which, over the years, has given life to two films, the first in 1995 and the second out on April 23, 2021. The 1995 film featured Robin Shou, among others. Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby and Talisa Soto and he translated very well the settings and atmospheres of the 1992 video game that saw the best warriors in the world clash in a martial arts tournament which, however, is nothing more than the means through which the Outworld you can to take over the Earth. Certainly Paul Anderson's film is not a masterpiece but it gives the genre of video game films its own identity and pride. Definitely a must see before the release of the next and highly anticipated Mortal Kombat.

Detective Pikachu

Based on the hugely successful Nintendo DS video game starring the friendly Pokémon, Detective Pichachu is one of the best-adapted films ever. The plot is very simple and suitable for a transversal audience, from children to adolescents through adults who, perhaps, fascinated by the Pokémon created in 1996 by Satoshi Tajiri. The film is very similar to the video game and is about the disappearance of the brilliant private detective, Harry Goddman, and how his son Tim and Harry's former Pokemon partner, Detective Pikachu, join forces to solve the intricate mystery. They find themselves chasing clues along the streets of Ryme City, discovering a shocking plot that could destroy the entire universe of Pokémon.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and Escape from Butcher Bay

Not everyone knows that Vin Diesel is a huge video game enthusiast and, for this reason, has produced two games based on from the feature film he starred in in 2004. The two films act as a sort of prequel to what happens in the film and tells how Riddick escapes from Butcher's Bay prison and manages to get on the spaceship Dark Athena. The video game retraces the characteristics of the feature film, forcing the player to behave like Riddick in the film, that is, to hide and act in the shadows. It is a dynamic first-person adventure that allows you to experience the events with great immersion in the character.

Mad Max

Mad Max is the video game inspired by the famous film saga directed by George Miller, started in the late seventies and then continued in 2015 with Fury Road. As the protagonist of the same name, players must fight to survive in the Wasteland, engaging in hand-to-hand and vehicle-based combat against dangerous gangs of bandits. In short, the plot of the video game does not differ much from the original saga and has also had quite controversial judgments.

Blade Runner

In 1997 the video game Blade Runner was released. Even if the title is the same as the Ridley Scott film, the plot deviates a little from the cinematic masterpiece we all know. The protagonist is, in fact, another hunter of replicants, Ray McCoy, who must find a group of androids fleeing in Los Angeles in 2019. A small curiosity that links this title to the original film is that in the Italian version, Ray McCoy is dubbed by Michele Gammino, the voice of Rick Deckard in Scott's movie.

LEGO The Lord of the Rings

LEGO The Lord of the Rings is, in all likelihood, one of the LEGO games for PC and most successful consoles of recent times. The video game is from 2012 but has aged quite well, and retraces the Peter Jackson film trilogy. The story is divided into six different levels per chapter, for a total of 18 levels. In each of these the playable characters are automatically provided and a series of objectives must be completed. The protagonists of the story are all the characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Tolkien's fantasy saga.

Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider restarts the franchise with a more rooted and a star who is clearly more than up to the task. Following in the footsteps of the 2013 videogame reboot, Tomb Raider shows us a different Lara Croft than the one we were used to. Lara Croft is the independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who passed away years ago. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, the young adventurer embarks on a perilous journey to her last known destination: a legendary tomb on a mythical island that may be somewhere off the coast of Japan.

The worst video game movies and vice versa

Street Fighter and Street Fighter - The Movie DOOM Super Mario Bros. Assassin's Creed ET - The Extraterrestrial Home Alone

Street Fighter and Street Fighter - The Movie

Although it may seem strange, Street Fighter - The Movie is not a movie, but a video game based on the movie Street Fighter in turn taken from the video game of the same name. Both of these titles, both Street Fighter the film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Damian Chapa and Kylie Minogue, and the video game Street Fighter - The Movie are counted among the worst tie-in products ever made. Adaptations that have caused much discussion, especially the feature film, whose uninterrupted action sequences are not enough to compensate for a predictable and irregular plot.


The video game of D OOM, created from the genius of John Romero, is one of the most loved titles ever, set on Mars where a hellish chasm opens from which very angry demons emerge. The atmospheres and the avant-garde technical realization for the time (the game is from 1993) and also the ultra violent images, new for the time, make DOOM a timeless masterpiece, unlike the film with Dwayne Johnson of 2005 that we can simply define horrendous.

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros is the first film in the history of cinema to have been based on a video game, for this reason, therefore, you might appreciate the side pioneering the question, even if, unfortunately, the experiment was not entirely successful. The film gets some laughs but nothing special. It is a far cry from everything Nintendo has built behind the Mario character and the universe in which his adventures are set, resulting in only a few trivial and often embarrassing clichés.

Assassin's Creed

The video game saga of Assassin's Creed has also revolutionized the world of gaming, making very interesting stories usable through the use of very captivating gameplay. The cinematic adaptation of the Ubisoft franchise was highly anticipated by fans who, unfortunately, found themselves in front of a colossal flop. This, above all because the plot of the film is totally unrelated to what are the narrated stories of video games, there is no mention of Desmond or Layla, or other important characters for the universe that over the years has created a fandom of planetary dimensions. br>

ET - The extraterrestrial

Probably with E.T. - The extraterrestrial we are facing the worst game in history. Made in no time, because the game had to be ready for the release of Spielberg's film and the upcoming holiday season, it pays the price of being one of the many video games released in the early 1980s that fueled the 1983 crash. Retired quickly from the market, the remaining copies were buried in the New Mexico desert, as if to completely erase their memory, they were only unearthed in 2014. The author of the game is Howard Scott Warshaw, a programmer who has worked mainly with Atari during the 1980s and which developed shortly after ET's failure

Home Alone

Mom I Lost the Plane is the Christmas film par excellence of the last thirty years, not everyone knows, however, that a film with Macaulay Culkin was based on a video game of dubious taste, not only for the plot that follows bit by bit that of the film, but for the game mechanics that were already old in 1991, when the game was marketed for various gaming platforms. The plot, very similar to the film, involved two parts of the game. The first in which Kevin is struggling with the preparation of the traps, the second, instead, on the effects of these on the two thieves Harry and Marv. Home Alone is a very cumbersome and difficult game, not very interesting and does not take away or add anything to the Columbus movie that we all love.

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