Sunday, November 25, 2012

Even More Videogames I'd Like To See Made Into Movies (And How I'd Make Them)

I've talked about this topic before, and its also a recurring theme on my podcast, the Dirty Sons of Pitches, and every time I think of a few video game to movie adaptations, I always realizes that I have way more than can or should fit into any one article, so I figured, why not make it a running series. I think I'll go console by console at first, throwing out five to ten ideas for each one, and then go back as needed whenever I come up with a few more good ones I've missed. First up, the first video game console I ever owned - the NES:

1: Base Wars 

I'm not typically a fan of sports movies, mostly because I'm not a big fan of sports, mostly because I sit around and play video games all day (and watch Vamps). The one sports game I did always enjoy was a baseball game for the original Nintendo called Base Wars, because unlike every other baseball game ever made, it did away with all that stupid shit like famous players and humans running around bases, and replaced them with kick ass robots beating the shit out of each other. I would envision the Base Wars movie as the hard R baseball equivalent of Real Steel, following a human talent scout who looks for new robots for a down and out team of misfit droids. You can throw in all the normal tropes of a baseball movie, the hotshot prodigy pitcher/hitter, the crabby coach, the sappy nostalgia and bullshit reverence for the honor and history of the game, but do it all with robots that kill each other to get on base as a parody of the genre as insane as the original game was.

2: Excite Bike

Another NES favorite of mine, with a simple gimmick of motorbike racing and no real plot to speak of. So how would I adapt it? Well, you'd have to make a lot of shit up for one thing, but still stay true to the spirit of the game, and so I'd take inspiration from the best aspect of the original game, the create your own track system, where the player could add their own hills and ramps and so forth for custom levels. I'd set it in the future and give it a sort of Hunger Games twist, where riders are forced to participate in a game that continues until only one racer has survived. The trick, the audience at home designs the track in real time, constantly causing it to shift as the riders traverse it, adding and replacing various hazards and death traps along the way specifically to kill them.

3: Kabuki: Quantum Fighter 

Perhaps a somewhat lesser known game. I only remember playing it once as a kid as a rental, but for some reason it always left an impression on me. It follows a man who has converted his mind into a computer who sends his consciousness into the Earth's planetary defense system to track down a virus before it programs a massive orbital super weapon to destroy the planet. Inside the system is a massive fantasy landscape created from the man's mind, and he is transformed into how he sees himself, which for some reason is a super powered Kabuki ninja. I'm thinking this could be the next Wachowski siblings movie. With the inner mind/inner world of cyberspace concept, its rife for pseudo-intellectual philosophizing, but unlike, say Cloud Altas, it also provides the opportunity for some inventive and interesting looking action sequences, which they haven't really been able to pull off since the Matrix series.

4: Monster Party

Another one that a lot of people might not remember, it follows a boy who travels to a dark magical world to fight evil monsters with a baseball bat, and with the help of a Dragon who lives inside his body. I was conflicted between going with this and a similar game, Ghoul School, which has the same kid with baseball bat vs. monsters plot but set in a school overrun by demons, but I decided to go with this because of the potential relationship between the boy and the Dragon. I see it as sort of a Dark Action Fantasy version of Training Day with a bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thrown in , with the two of them starting out as friends on a mission, until the brutal nature of the boy's monstrous mentor becomes more and more apparent as the story goes on, and finally the boy rejects the Dragon and barely makes it out alive. The game is notorious for its morbid ending, as well as bizarre character and boss designs, which make it easy to tell a darker story while staying true to the tone of the original.

5: Whomp 'Em

Getting even more obscure here, as I know I played this at some point, but even I don't remember when, and I needed Wikipedia to remind me that it existed. The story follows a Native American coming of age in his tribe who must go through various tests, all involving fighting and taking the powers of supernatural creatures, before he can become a warrior. I always wondered if there was ever any controversy surrounding the subject matter of this game, especially considering the silly title, but I never heard anything. Anyway, I'd go further with the Native American setting and use the supernatural elements as a backdrop setting up the final act. We'd follow a young Native American from a fictional tribe in tune with the elemental forces of the Earth whose parents are killed by white settlers. Many years later, a now grown up warrior makes it his mission to find the elemental spirits from his rite of passage and steal their power so that he can get bloody revenge on his family's murderers.

6: Zombie Nation (AKA - Samurai Zombie Nation)

More obscure in that I'm guessing even fewer people have played it, though it has become something of a cult phenomenon of late due to its insane storyline and gameplay. To the extent that it has a plot, it is about the giant floating head of a samurai warrior who floats through New York City, which has become infested with zombies thanks to an alien meteor, flying around and cleansing the land of undead filth. Also he fights an animated Statue of Liberty that I want to say breathes fire, but I can't really remember and I don't think it really matters. One might think it impossible to adapt, but I say just do it from the perspective of bystanders rather than the heroic giant head. Make the main characters a group of survivors who are trying to get out of the city overrun by zombies, while avoiding the falling debris created from the giant samurai head's epic battle with the Statue of Liberty. Basically, its a zombie movie and a giant monster movie rolled into one. And because you'd need at least one guy who knows enough about the giant samurai head to give exposition, you can make one of them a samurai themselves, and have some kick ass katana against zombie action.

I'll be going through the various old school consoles in order of when I originally owned them, and then go back to the ones I didn't play until much later on like the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64. Next up, because Genesis does what Nintendon't, a look at seven titles from the Sega Genesis, or Master System if you live anywhere other than the U.S., that I'd like to see brought to the big screen. Stay tuned.
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