At long last, it seems Hollywood has pushed the reset button on its approach to video game adaptations.
From the reviled 1993 live-action rendition of “Super Mario Bros.” to last year’s loathed arcade-inspired “Pixels,” big-screen interpretations of games have almost always failed to score with critics and audiences. With four films based on popular interactive series set for release in 2016, could this finally be the year video game movies win over filmgoers?
After decades of commercial and critical pitfalls when attempting to turn games into movies, Hollywood is trying out a few bold new strategies in an effort to tap the interactive medium for the latest hit movie franchise, including hiring A-list talent and collaborating more closely with game makers to rework their immersive creations for movie theaters
“Ratchet & Clank”
The first to launch is an animated film now in theaters that’s based on Insomniac Games’ zany platforming series for Sony’s PlayStation systems, starring wise-cracking alien tinkerer Ratchet and his witty robot sidekick Clank. The game creators didn’t simply foist their 14-year-old franchise onto filmmakers. They insisted on joining forces.
“Ratchet & Clank” features several of the interactive series’ original voice actors with a story by former Insomniac Games senior writer T.J. Fixman. The game studio also outsourced a few of their own artists to work with the film’s animators to guarantee their intergalactic romp looked and stayed true to what made the game franchise a victory.
“It’s crucial for anyone who works with the worlds and characters that we created to fully understand them,” said Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games. “We had lots of open conversations with everyone working on the project. As game creators, we always want to tell more stories. This was just another way to do that for an audience that’s hungry for it.”
Over the past 20 years, game publishers have typically handed over movie rights to Hollywood with little to no creative control. While the results have sometimes hit the mark (“Tomb Raider,” ”Resident Evil”), they’re usually unsuccessful undertakings that veer way off course from the originals (“Doom,” ”Double Dragon.”)
Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, said he’s been working with Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment to faithfully adapt “Ratchet & Clank” and silly stealth series “Sly Cooper” into animated films, as well with his colleagues at Sony Pictures to craft live-action versions of treasure-hunting adventure “Uncharted” and post-apocalyptic saga “The Last of Us.”
“I’m old enough to remember a time when people thought it was crazy to make movies out of comic books,” said Layden. “That’s certainly changed over the last decade. The really great games now have narratives featuring all sorts of age-old storytelling tropes. It’s become another great fountain of content that can be applied across other media.
It’s time to claim your rightful place in the halls of old-school gaming glory. You need to star in your own epic retro adventure by standing inside a Retro Gaming Shower Curtain as you level up your cleanliness game and scrub your way to winning. The curtain looks like the cover to a classic game cartridge. It comes from ThinkGeek and is strongly aimed at Nintendo fans with its references to “Cleantendo” and “Super Shower Time” done up in a Super Mario-style font.
The clear window built into the expanse of vinyl sets this curtain apart from other geeky shower accessories. The graphics evoke the 8-bit look of early video games with blocky bits of water coming out of a shower head.
Think of this as just one step toward turning your bathroom into a cosplayer’s delight. Maybe you’ll want to mix things up by adding a Star Trek transporter bath mat or aDarth Vader shower head. Be sure to whistle the Super Mario theme music while you’re cleaning behind your ears.
The Retro Gaming Shower Curtain sells for $24.99 (about £17, AU$33). It may not be the best choice if you have a living situation where people might walk in on you while you’re showering, but a nice hot shower should steam it up pretty well.