Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You're Almost Certainly Getting Sick Of These Videogames I'd Like To See Made Into Movies (And How I'd Make Them)

I've never really been much of a PC gamer, certainly not in the last ten or fifteen years anyway. It's not that I have anything against the games, except maybe that when I grew up so many of them seemed to be RTS war simulators which isn't really a genre that appeals to me, but mostly I just didn't have the time, money, patience, and know how to continually update my system to accommodate new and better games requiring new and better technology to play them. Give me a console and every game designed to play on it just plays, no advanced graphics card upgrade required. That being said, I have played a few PC games over the years, so I thought I'd take a brief detour from my consolography and talk about some of the classic old school computer games I'd like to see on the big screen.

1: The Tex Murphy Series

A noir detective series set in a post apocalyptic future divided between mutants and humans, with a wise cracking Philip Marlowe wannabe often inadvertently stumbling into cases with the fate of the world usually hanging in the balance. I came a bit late into these games, first playing the third installment Under A Killing Moon (which from what I gather is the case for a lot of people, as the first two games were a little more obscure). It came out in the heyday of FMV games, but somehow resisted the tendency of those games to suck massive balls, mostly with its humorous, lighthearted tone counterbalancing the darkness of the material. Maybe its cheating to have an FMV game series turned into a movie, especially one which boasts a few name actors in the later installments, as in many ways it technically already is one, even if its interactive. Still, if only because we need this series back in some form, and the adventure game genre is effectively dead, I say movie-ify that shit. Given the acerbic nature of the character, I think it would be a good Ryan Reynolds vehicle after he's done raping the corpse of Highlander.

2: Gobliiins

The story of three fairy tale stooges who set out to save their king from the torment of a voodoo spell, Gobliiins was an adventure puzzle game so fun and stylish that it was well worth the tedious loading of multiple floppy disks required to make it almost sort of run properly. That of course was the trial of PC gamers when I was among them, but it didn't get in the way of my fond memories. This series was known for its slapstick and comic brutality, especially in the later installments when they did away with the life bar, allowing the main characters to take much more punishment. Still, I'd start with the first game in the series, and do it in old school claymation. I don't mean Paranorman-esque stop motion puppetry, but full on Will Vinton style clay creatures that shape shift their way through fantasy environments with just the right tinge of creepy atmosphere that only the clay medium can provide. If you want to go the full geek, keep the original Goblinease dialogue and do it either with subtitles, or better yet, mime. I think I just came in my nostalgia pants.

3: Toonstruck

Is it becoming apparent yet when I gave up playing PC games? Toonstruck followed the motherfucking one and only Christopher Lloyd as an animator sucked into his own cartoon, forced to team up with the annoyingly sweet main character to battle against an evil cartoon Tim Curry and a sadistic clown using his toony powers for evil. Not only do you have a reverse Roger Rabbit with a human entering what is essentially Toon Town starring Judge Doom himself, but the premise and cynical tone is right out of Cool World, which you know I love. At first blush I'd say Lloyd is probably getting too old for a straight up adaptation, but he still brings it whenever he shows up in movies, and there's no reason we can't make the character an aging, retired cartoonist instead of a working stiff. I'd say give it back to Ralph Bakshi and actually give him the creative freedom to make it the movie he wants as an apology for turning his cartoon horror script into something he hated. Or have Frank Mancuso Jr. re-write the thing to make it awesome like they did with Cool World.

4: Ski Free

This one is kind of cheating, as I actually pitched this on my show, The Dirty Sons of Pitches, when we were talking about Videogame Movies, but I like the idea so much I thought it should have a place on this list. The game is simple enough, ski down hill between the flags until the Yeti kills you. I always thought the Yeti was inescapable and meant the game was over, but supposedly there is a way to beat it if you believe the internet (which I always do). I'd turn Ski Free the movie into a campy 80's throwback to ski movies, where the lodge is attacked by ravenous monsters, forcing the teens to fight back so that they may Ski Free! Since I already turned Trickstyle into Ski School 2 in my Dreamcast edition, I'd say we...just do the same thing. Fuck, bring back Wendy Hamilton again. Only this time, with Yetis.

Yeah, that's the stuff.

5: The 7th Guest/Phantasmagoria

I couldn't decide which FMV era horror game I'd adapt, but ultimately they would both turn out fairly similar I imagine. The 7th Guest is a period piece that follows a group of strangers brought together by an eccentric toymaker as part of a deal with the devil, while Phantasmagoria centers around a husband possessed by the ghost of a multiple wife killing magician. Much like the Tex Murphy series, there's not a lot to do as far as adaptation, with one game being an interactive movie and the other being a series of puzzles that wouldn't really lend themselves to film. For Phantasmagoria, I'd give it to James Wan, director of the original Saw, what with all the magic tricks turned death traps, and I'm leaning toward giving Shayamalan another chance with the 7th Guest, as its just twisty enough to suit his sensibility, with a lot of potential for interesting visuals, without it feeling too gimmicky.

6: Wolfenseien

Supposedly there was going to be a movie of this produced at some point, or maybe it is still in production, but until then, I say its fair game. I've mentioned in a few posts about how I'm itching for that great Nazi-sploitation movie that actually uses Hitler as the main villain instead of some nameless general. With Wolfenstein, you not only get Hitler, but the disembodied head of Hitler affixed to a massive cybernetic body. Otherwise, its basically just Captain America meets Die Hard. I say give it to Quentin Tarrentino and make it a spiritual sequel to Inglorious Basterds, an inexplicable return for a real life historical figure who was himself inexplicably killed. That, or throw in an evil Hitler Puppet. Either one works. 

7: Battle Chess

Okay, here me out on this one. It's set in the present day, where all modern forms of gaming have given way to the classic board game of feudal combat, but with a twist. Instead of a board that can fit on a coffee table, it's arena sized, with life sized robots designed to appear like fantasy kings and queens, white and black knights, and so on, who do battle at the command of chess masters controlling their pieces remotely from either end of the field. The action heats up when the robots rebel and break out of the stadium West World style, taking their lust for battle out into the bustling metropolis of the near future. At first they are content to leave collateral damage in their wake as they battle each other, but eventually the malfunctioning logic circuits in their brains begin seeing anyone wearing the opposite color as one of thier opponents. The fate of the world rests in the hands of a Bobby Fischer-esque prodigy, the only one able to speak the language of the machines.

See, told ya. Throw in Wendy Hamilton, and that's an Oscar winner right there.


Next up, the last in this series, unless I decide to do a second volume for systems I never owned (a distinct possibility considering my total lack of creativity), where I take on some games from the most recent console I've purchased - The Nintendo Wii.

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