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Jun 01, 2016

How come there are successful Movie-to-Game adaptations?

We’ve covered the Book-to-Movie adaptations and how most of them are unsuccessful. This time around, let’s tackle the Movie-to-Game adaptations. Sure, most of them are unsuccessful but there are a few ideas here and there that are worth a look.

Just be aware that the subject is rather vast and there are maaaany tiny areas to cover, which we won’t do right now. I merely wanted to bring this article up just for the sake of starting a debate and, our of curiosity, see what you guys think.

Different mediums

Yes, déjà vu, huh? We’ve talked about this before – it is highly difficult to transpose something from a certain experience into a similar experience on a different medium. In lesser words, it’s very difficult to make a movie “fun and interactive”, both at the same time.

If you watch a movie, the decisions that the main character makes are not yours to begin with. You just sit back, relax and enjoy a story. In a game, your decisions can mean the success of the story itself and the main character is your avatar in the world.

Have there been bad adaptations in the past? Oh yeah… yeahhh, yes yes yup. Pretty bad ones.

Have there been good adaptations? Well, lucky for us, yes! Off the top of my head I can name a few, such as the Matrix: Path of Neo. Becoming “The One” and punching agents left and right is surprisingly well done and immensely fun in this game.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events had a game that, for better or worse, functioned quite well and was fun to play, although simplistic. Harry Potter (the first three games) were brilliant for the time they came out. Indiana Jones was also fantastically adapted in “Fate of Atlantis” and “Emperor’s Tomb”. In fact, the Indy experience was so good, I started replaying these games for the 10th time.

Miracles do exist.

What makes it adaptable?

Mihai and I were watching “Coraline” one night – a fun little stop-motion movie – and in one scene the main character was jumping through a hallway, trying to avoid projectiles. My bro and I exchanged a quick glance and said, almost at the same time: “Yeah, they’re gonna make a game out of this, aren’t they?”

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Lo and behold, a few months later, “Coraline: The Game” was launched. So, does it have to be dynamic in order to be a good adaptation? Not necessarily…

The Sherlock Holmes games I wrote about are as non-dynamic as they get, border-boredom festivals even. Still, the last game was really, really good because it helped you become Sherlock in an easier, better and more immersive way. It actually made you WANT to think, not just force you to think.

So, it might be related to how immersive the game actually is and how it plays with your expectations, in a good way, by going beyond them. “Papers, Please” is basically a simulation, an adaptation if you will, of the life of a border-guard. You check passports and shoot illegal trespassers. The creators took one of the most boring jobs on the planet, basic paperwork, and made it interesting.

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So then, why are the more dynamic movies made into really bad games? Like Thor, or the Hulk…  Well, it’s sad, really – these are mostly cash-ins. The studios don’t have time and money to develop a good game, so they throw in the best they can do so that people quickly buy the games.

I’m not a fan of SouthPark, but I got the game for free and decided to play it – “The Stick of Truth”. Vulgarity aside, it is a REALLY good game and a brilliant adaptation. People say it on all the forums, and I agree, it feels like “playing the show itself” and being a part of it.

So, when it comes to adaptations, and the experience itself, I guess the emphasis should be placed on making you, the player, feel like the character – take the decisions and get involved emotionally. The gameplay and game flow is what helps with this experience and, hopefully, we’ll get to see more of this in the future.

What are your favorite game adaptations? Write them in the comments below!

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