Are You Game? 10 Movies You Can Play as Video Games

Ghostbusters 700x384Good video games based on movies are so rare, you can usually count them with one hand wrapped around a joystick. To wit, here are 10 video games that were adapted from film, for better or worse.

1. Angry Birds Rio
Released as a marketing tie-in for the animated avian hit Rio, Angry Birds Rio initially confused some consumers who weren’t sure why the title featured a completely different set of fowl than those usually seen in the video-game franchise. Despite that hiccup, Angry Birds Rio went on to become one of the most downloaded games among both Apple and Google users.

2. Ecks vs. Sever
Occasionally, a video game turns out better than the movie which serves as its source material. Such was the case for Ecks vs. Sever, a first-person shooter game for Game Boy Advance based on the ridiculously awful Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, a thriller about a pair of rival secret agents (Antonio Banderas Jr. and Lucy Liu) who team up to battle their common enemy. While the movie was critically panned, the game earned pretty good reviews, with one critic calling it “the best GBA first-person shooter to date.”

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. may have been one of Steven Spielberg’s finest works, but its corresponding Atari game suffered from a rushed, five-week development schedule. Slammed for its unclear objectives and low-rent graphics, the game was so horribly received that millions of unsold copies wound up buried in a New Mexico landfill, with many citing its poor performance as a major factor in the video game crash of 1983.

4. Ghostbusters
Want to make gamers of a certain age cringe? Mention the original Ghostbusters game. Programmed in a mere six weeks, Ghostbusters was notoriously hard to win—or, for that matter, play. Wonky controls and an overzealous Marshmallow Man tended to keep players from reaching the final level. Those who did were rewarded with a typo-festooned victory screen that read, “CONGLATURATION.”

5. Gotcha! The Sport!
Gotcha! was a 1985 action-comedy starring Anthony Edwards and Linda Fiorentino as young co-eds caught in an international web of intrigue and espionage. While the movie received tepid reviews and failed to recoup its production costs, it did manage to spawn a Capture the Flag-style video game as well as two lines of real and simulated paintball guns. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the Nintendo version that includes a college student getting it on with an exotic Czech girl.

6. Hudson Hawk
As Bruce Willis’ title character, Eddie “Hudson Hawk” Hawkins, players grapple with dachshunds, killer nuns and janitors, stealing priceless artifacts from The Vatican and a series of auction houses to power an alchemic gold machine. In other words, all the plotlines from this unappealing, action-comedy flop that the kiddies just loved!

7. Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut about a jewel heist gone horribly wrong turned him into Hollywood’s newest wunderkind—and ushered in a new era of cinematic ultraviolence. Similarly, the video game based on the movie was effectively banned in Australia for its extreme gore. Fun fact: Michael Madsen was the only actor from the movie who lent his voice to the game.

8. The Goonies II
You’d think that a game called The Goonies II would be based on a big-screen sequel to everybody’s favorite adventure-comedy about a group of ragtag kids who happen upon a 17th-century pirate’s long-lost treasure—but you’d be wrong. Goonies II was actually a sequel to the original Goonies game. (A big-screen Goonies sequel still hasn’t been made, though fans of the 1985 cult hit continue to hold out hope.) Nevertheless, Goonies II earned an appreciative fan base thanks to its creative gameplay.

9. The Room
A game based on Tommy Wiseau’s laughably awful passion project—in which he plays a banker named Johnny who must contend with a cheating fiancee (Juliette Danielle)—is a concept that seems horrible at first and even more horrible the more you think about it. The video games tries to tie up the movie’s notorious loose threads in its final level, where Johnny… returns to his mothership after being outed as an alien. Just what this story needs—another absurd plot twist!

10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
A smash hit about a half-animated, half-real world where a cartoon rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) partners with a hard-nosed gumshoe (Bob Hoskins) to clear his name after being framed for murder sounds tailor-made for gaming. Unfortunately, Nintendo players wound up massively disappointed by this Robert Zemeckis movie’s video-game adaptation, which required kids to memorize and type out vaudevillian punchlines before the allotted time ran out. As Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner) might say, the game’s not bad; it’s just programmed that way.