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Top 5 Games That Should Be Movies

THE game that needs to be a movie...

Today I read an article on IGN titled “Videogames That Should Be Movies.”

In this article, the author discussed a number of game franchises that they personally would like to see adapted to film.

While many of the games cited seemed to be of the jokey variety, namely their concepts of what an Excitebike and Star Fox would be like; most seemed to be largely genuine.

While the article was kind of a fun read, I found myself disagreeing with some of the selections listed.

Metal Gear and Halo felt like poor (but inevitable…) choices for films, given that both have sprawling canon that is far too dense for feature film; and both have a feel and presentation style that is already film-like in the first place.

If Avatar: The Last Airbender is an indication of the shit storm that can crop up when one tries to cram too much into 2 hours, I don’t wanna’ know what would happen if someone tried to do the same with a Metal Gear game…

At the same time, Portal struck me as a weird; somewhat fanboy-ish choice, given that the game has no real narrative; not to mention the gameplay mechanics are very much a novelty that is more fun to experience rather than watch.

Then again, I’m among the minority of people that didn’t really get much out of Portal, so I might be biased on that one…

Nitpicking aside, as I pondered on this topic; I found myself coming up with my own ideas of game series that I think could be fun in movie form.

That being said, while I can’t call them my “top” 5, being as they’re really the only ones I came up with; here are 5 choices/concepts for games that I felt should be movies:

#5. Saturday Night Slam Masters

Saturday Night Slam Masters may not have been the best of games, however it’s core concept and brilliant character designs (courtesy of Tetsuo Hara of Hokuto No Ken fame) made it a favorite of mine in my youth.

I loved how Slam Masters took the colorful pageantry of wrestling, exaggerated it in a borderline realistic manner; and then mixed it together with the 2D fighting gameplay of Final Fight and Street Fighter 2.

While the game really had no story to speak of, I think a Slam Masters movie could be a lot of fun if the wrestling universe was treated as reality ala Kinnikuman.

Basically, you take a fairly basic storyline; like Mike Haggar vowing to win the Slam Masters championship for his daughter/the glory of Metro city/an injured Guy or Cody, and then combine it with the tournament structure of Bloodsport or Enter the Dragon.

Make Scorp/The Astro out to be a Chong Li-esque uber-bastard, and boom; you’ve got a movie.

While the story or writing wouldn’t win any awards, in all honesty; I would happily pay money to see a pro-wrestling version of Bloodsport, provided the characters and costumes remained intact, and the fight choreography was up to standard.

I know this one is definitely not for everyone, but in my eyes; it could be a lot of fun.

#4. Final Fight

Despite it’s status as a beat ’em up, Final Fight actually has a fairly decent story to it.

For those that are unaware, the basic plot of Final Fight, is that the Mad Gear gang of Metro City kidnap the mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter in order to force his cooperation in their unlawful wrongdoings.

Being as he’s a beastly former pro-wrestler, and THE MAYOR to boot; Haggar instead decides to dish out some street justice on the Mad Gears via his fists, but not without first recruiting the aid of his daughter’s boyfriend/fiance Cody, and his random ninja buddy Guy.

While it isn’t much, I really think Final Fight could be a lot of a fun as a vigilante justice movie with a high quotient of hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Think The Warriors meets Taken/Edge of Darkness/The Man from Nowhere.

Besides, who the fuck wouldn’t want to see a Mike Haggar go toe-to-toe with Hugo Andore in live-action.

That alone would be worth the price of admission if it was staged with any sort of professionalism.

Shit, now all we need is a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 movie and we’ll have a cross-franchise trilogy of Mike Haggar movies…

#3. Front Mission

The Front Mission series plays host to some of the grandest and most believable storylines I’ve encountered in all of gaming.

While I honestly haven’t played all that much of the series, (half of #1, and half of #3) what I experienced was incredibly detailed, and more importanly; polished.

Reminiscent of the politically charged story Gundam, only far more accessible due to it’s story roots being set in existing continents and nations; Front Mission is a superior war drama that benefits from likeable characters and a largely believable art style.

While many have cried out for a live-action Gundam movie, personally; I feel the money would better spent bringing the far less gaudy Front Mission to the screen instead.

Truth be told, I think Front Mission would work best in long form, as a TV series or anime; but even so, there’s many elements of the timeline that I feel would be worth telling in standalone films, particularly the Huffman Conflicts that served to shape the Front Mission universe as a whole.

#2. Sunset Riders

 

Weird, somebody shopped the guns out of their hands. Damn censors...

I’ve actually wanted to see a Sunset Riders movie since I was a little kid.

Just like in the case of Saturday Night Slam Masters, I’m pretty sure it’s the colorful cast of characters in Sunset Riders that have always been the selling point for me.

In every story I’ve ever written, or dreamed up, or wanted to write; the characters are always the one element that I put most of my efforts into.

In my eyes, if you take a fairly pedestrian storyline and stuff it with quality action sequences and cool characters; chances are you’re going to end up with a really awesome movie.

It’s a simple formula, and I think it’d work just fine for Sunset Riders.

Think about it:

4 trigger happy, bounty hunter cowboys embark on a suicide mission to free the West from the evil of a gang of ruthless killers.

Sure, it sounds like every Western ever told; but with the awesome boss designs of the game, as well as the lack of assurance that everyone was going to make it to the end to ride into the sunset; and you have a classic Western with the added bonus of an action quotient like no other.

I’d picture it being kind of like a combination of the more colorful elements Tombstone, and the fatalistic “men on a mission” feel of The Wild Bunch.

Anything that can be compared to Tombstone or The Wild Bunch, let alone both; is guaran-damn-teed to kick-fuckin’-ass.

If ever I become a Hollywood film director, I will fight tooth and nail to get the licensing from Konami to make this movie.

#1. River City Ransom

You know how I said I wanted a Sunset Riders movie since I was a kid?

Well, even though I honesty didn’t start working on it until about 5 years ago; River City Ransom was a game that I actually tried to write up a plot outline for.

Technically, I used the original Japanese version of the game, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari; as my jumping off point, but the only real difference between the 2 is the fact that one takes place in America, and the other takes place in a Japanese high school setting.

Anyway, the basic plot of River City was that a simple kidnapping of Ryan/Riki’s girlfriend, resulting in him and his rival; Alex/Kunio reluctantly joining forces to save her from a mutual enemy.

To me, the shaky alliance between the 2 is the real reason it would work.

I think if you were to establish them as hot-blooded rivals early on, a lot of drama would naturally spring up as a result of them working together as the story progressed.

I even remember putting a note in my plot outline explaining the bandages on Riki’s torso, and the band-aid on Kunio’s brow as actual bandages (as opposed to character decorations) for wounds they inflicted on one another near the beginning of the movie.

Combine the strained relationship between the 2 protagonists, with the awesome characters of the Kunio-kun series of games, including the Double Dragons; and I think you’d have a really fun high school gangster story with, of course; awesome fight scenes.

I put a lot of time into my idea for a River City Ransom movie, and I’d like very much to post it here someday; but for now, I’ll just say this:

River City Ransom needs to be a movie someday.

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The Best Track in the Game #5: Top Gear

VRROOOOOOOOOOOMMM!!!

TOP.  FUCKING.  GEAR.

To all those that have played Top Gear, those are the only words one needs to say to get their engines going.

I mean, come on!  Look at this brilliant fucking gameplay!:

Well, okay, that was boring as shit, but hey, back in 1992 that was high-fucking tech for a racing game.

As one of the first racing games released for the Super NES, Top Gear has the distinction of being awesome for exactly the same reasons it sucks donkey balls.

At the time of of it’s launch, games in the Super NES library made extensive use of Mode 7.

In case you’re wondering, Mode 7 is that goofy background scrolling effect used to rapidly move the scenery while the foreground sprites remain in place.

Secret of Mana Mode 7. Yes, Secret of Mana was a better game than Top Gear.

Games like F-Zero and Pilotwings relied so much on the creation of Mode 7, that in many ways, they served like retail tech-demos for it.

The only difference between those games and Top Gear however, was the fact that they were good.

Well, that and Top Gear didn’t actually use Mode 7, but give me a break, I felt like talkin’ Mode 7 for a minute.

Anyway, point is:  most Super NES games were good, whereas Top Gear was decidedly not.

Then why is it that Top Gear holds such a special place in my heart?

The first, and for the most part, only time I ever played Top Gear in my youth, was during my days spent over at my cub scout (Den 123, woot!) friend’s house.

This would be the same friend’s house that I used to play Star Fox at.

And no, we didn't look like this. We weren't old enough to have facial hair...

You see, during sleepovers, I had a habit of staying up way later than whoever I was hanging out with.

Basically, whenever my friends would fall asleep, I would set about playing the single-player games in their library.

At my cub scout buddies’ house, said games consisted of Aladdin, Pilotwings, and Star Fox.

Yup, this was me in Pilotwings, only with a lot less "Skydiving", and helluva' lot more "Falling."

When my buddy was awake however, Top Gear was the order of the day.

Part of the fun of Top Gear, at least for me, was the fact that my buddy and I played it, not as a competitive racer, but as a co-operative one.

Like Super Mario Kart, Top Gear utilized a progressive, point-driven tournament system for deciding each players ranking for each of the country/continent based circuits.

Only, without the fun of chucking red shells and bananas at people.

Ooooooh.... You know somebody's about'sta get pwned...

Essentially, coming in first in every race was not a necessity to win the game, so long as the players managed to earn enough points to qualify for the next circuit.

Because of this, my buddy and I would back each other up during every race, bumping CPU drivers off the road and dropping back to concede a first place win in order to keep our point totals in the black.

I remember there was one CPU driver in particular that pissed off my buddy and I.

His name was Richie.

Richie was the CPU driver that would consistently come in first, provided none of the players managed to out-race him.

I always pictured Richie as being some sort of stereotypical blonde Californian asshole, like Ice Man from Top Gun, that one douche in the black SUV in Twister, and, well, let’s just face facts, Richie was Billy Zabka.

Their only weaknesses are: Tornadoes, Kicks to the Face, and Tom Cruise with his shirt off...

Richie was a pain in the ass, but the real source of Top Gear’s difficulty, was definitely the fuel/pit-stop system.

That’s right folks, cars in Top Gear could run out of fuel, and boy I’ll tell yah’, they found a way to make it happen every fuckin’ time.

Eeew.... Wouldn't wanna' get caught in THAT circle jerk...

Pit stops were often times tucked away off the side of the road in such a way so as to make them next to impossible to find.

Or in the case of some people, a little too easy to find.

You see, even though the game offered an onscreen prompt to signal players to the pits, more often than not, players would end up barely missing the turn-off, or barely making it, thusly leaving one in the unsavory position of either being dead on the track, or stuck in the pits at an inopportune time.

The Red Car was lucky enough to make the pits at the RIGHT time. Yeah, I never did that.

I’m pretty sure those bloody pits were the only reason I never beat Top Gear.

From a gameplay standpoint, Top Gear was no Mario Kart.

And that’s saying a lot, seeing as the game was a straightforward racer, with no real complexity to the gameplay outside of the ability to manually shift your car and occasionally use a burst of nitrous oxide for speed boosts.

In fact, probably the deepest part of the gameplay came in the form of picking your car from an assortment of 4.

As a kid, I always played it safe and picked the White Car, ’cause it’s fuel efficiency ensured fewer trips to the dreaded pits.

Nowadays I prefer to pick the Green Car.

That's right, it's fuckin' GREEN! Fuckin' kids, tryin' tuh' tell me it's blue n'shit...

Top Gear’s interface was clunky amid a sea of 90’s clunkiness, with an option screen that required a special touch to properly maneuver, let alone discover.

You press "select" here, just so you know.

Most peculiar was the actual racing interface, as it was perpetually locked in a horizontal split-screen configuration, regardless of the number of players.

During single-player races, the other half of the screen would be occupied by a CPU driver, who, like Richie, would consistently place first unless you beat him to it.

Yup, 'cause that's how I like to play my games. With HALF OF THE FUCKIN' SCREEN devoted to shit that has nothing to do with my car.

Because of the split-screen, slow-down ran rampant throughout Top Gear.

Hell, when going over hills, or through tunnels, the game would chug along at fuckin’ Little Bear speeds.

STILL. FUCKING. SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

Despite these flaws, when I was playing it with my buddy, Top Gear was a no-frills racer that was buckets of fun.

All that business aside, you probably wanna’ know what the music was like in Top Gear, right?

Well, get ready for a shocker, ’cause The Best Track in the Game is…

EVERY. FUCKING. TRACK.

Haha!  Didn’t see that comin’ did’ja?

Top Gear has an awesome fucking soundtrack.

In fact, if you’re not particularly attached to the pants you’re wearing right now, here’s a download for the ENTIRE soundtrack.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you though, Top Gear music has been known to ’cause many a man or woman to splooge their pants.

There’s only a handful of tracks to choose from, but every one of them is awesome in that crazy electronic, sped-up Ace of Base sort of way.

From the Title Theme, to every race BGM that follows it, every track is full of fun and excitement.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that virtually every track in Top Gear is hummable in my book.

Here’s a few standouts, starting with the awesome fuckin’ Title Theme:

Isn’t that just fuckin’ awesome!?
Next up is the “Long” Race Theme:

I call it the “Long” Race Theme because technically none of these tracks have titles, as they are recycled at will throughout the game.
The first time you hear this track is on the San Francisco track, which just happens to be a long ass race, hence, “Long” Race Theme.
Finally, we have the “Night” Race Theme:

It’s technically not used exclusively for night races, but once again, the first time you hear it is in New York, during a night race
Doesn’t it sound remarkably appropriate for a Super NES night race?
Hah, not to spam the Karate Kid references or anything, but I can’t help but draw a comparison between this track and that one song they played during the scene where Johnny and the Cobra Kai show up on the beach riding their dirt bikes.

……Well, now that I’ve heard the whole song, maybe they’re not quite so similar.
But still, that one part, that they used in the movie?  Spot on.

Anyway, that’s Top Gear.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get caught up with my posting tonight so I can get back to making quality posts like this once again!

See yah’ tomorrow folks!

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The Dig, A Story by Trevor Hart

Note: Many images, concepts and dialogue stolen from Star Wars, Lucasart’s PC game The Dig, and Star Fox are to follow.  Apologies to George Lucas in advance for unauthorized use of the term “droid.”

Deepest apologies to all those that dare read the following.

I know it’s not easy reading a story without any exposition or narration to establish who is speaking, or why.

God be with you, and I’ll see you on the beach.

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