Movies

32 Classic Video Games That Need To Get A Movie Or TV Show

After decades of terrible cash grabs or subpar adaptations that failed to meet fans’ expectations or draw new audiences, we’ve seen a lot of great video game movies in recent years. And while some exciting upcoming video game movies are on the way, many more classic franchises have long been left in a proverbial landfill when it comes to getting the big-screen (or small-screen) treatment.

That being said, we’ve put together a list of classic video games that need to get a movie or TV show. From the early days of the medium up through gems of the early 21st century, here are the titles we’d love to see adapted.

A screenshot from The Oregon Trail

(Image credit: MECC)

The Oregon Trail

How The Oregon Trail, a game many of us first met in the computer lab at school, hasn’t been turned into a movie is a mystery we may never fully understand. Ever since the educational game’s release in the 1970s, generations of kids have found out the dangers of dysentery, the importance of taking a less-than-grueling pace, and that the frontier wasn’t necessarily a fun place to be. A movie, or TV show at least, could introduce even more generations to the simple yet complex game.

A completed metropolis in SimCity 2000

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

SimCity

Theatrical releases like Barbie and The Lego Movie have shown over the years that you can take a property with little to no story elements and create a pop culture and box office phenomenon. That could be replicated with the SimCity franchise with a movie that followed random residents of a massive metropolitan area controlled by some mysterious overlord who has the power to build, destroy, and summon storms of monsters to destroy their creation.

Arthur in Ghosts n' Goblins

(Image credit: Capcom)

Ghosts ‘N Goblins

The journeys of Arthur the Knight in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise have pushed generations of gamers to their limits due to the games’ insane difficulty. It would be great to see a movie that plays on that (and the way Arthur loses his suit after taking a hit) as well as the games’ outstanding art style. This classic would be perfect for a fun, tongue-in-cheek animated adventure.

Luigi in Mario Kart 8

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario Kart

With the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo and Illumination could get a lot out of other games from the beloved series. How cool would it be to watch a movie or TV show based on the Mario Kart franchise? Just imagine something like Wacky Racers or Cannonball Run but with Mario characters (and those dreaded blue shells). The movie pretty much writes itself.

Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country

(Image credit: Rare / Nintendo)

Donkey Kong Country

With the number of iconic characters, levels, and memories, the Donkey Kong Country games would make for a great movie franchise. We’ve seen shows loosely based on the legendary ape, and he showed up in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but a series or film based on one of Nintendo’s most popular heroes would be so much fun to watch, even if they didn’t include the “DK Rap” from Donkey Kong 64.

Mega Man fighting D.r Wily in Mega Man

(Image credit: Capcom)

Mega Man

There have been numerous fan films and discussions of bringing the franchise to non-gaming audiences, but we’ve never received an official adaptation of Mega Man, which is wild. One of Capcom’s most beloved characters, Mega Man would most likely become a fan-favorite on the big screen, and those boss battles would be legendary.

The Paperboy game.

(Image credit: Atari / Midway)

Paperboy

Just think about how awesome it would be to watch Paperboy get some kind of wild and over-the-top film adaptation. With the game’s suburban setting, dangers like cars, dogs, and neighbors, not to mention the struggle to keep subscribers happy, there’s so much that could be done and countless directions for an adaptation to take.

A screenshot from Skate or Die!

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Skate or Die!

Capturing the spirit of ‘80s skateboarding culture, Electronic Arts’ Skate or Die! has an enduring legacy as one of the best NES games of all time. That said, making a movie or show (either live-action or animated) inspired by this trailblazing game would be fun to watch. Give us a story about a young skater trying to prove himself to the world at a five-part competition would be gnarly, that’s for sure.

The G-Man in Half-Life

(Image credit: Valve)

Half-LIfe

Valve’s 1998 first-person shooter, Half-Life, is one of those games that just lends itself to an adaptation. A movie would be cool and all, but with so much lore and so much happening at Black Mesa, the game would benefit from the longer runtime of a series. Now, who could play Gordon Freeman and how would the character be presented? 

Mike Tyson's Punch Out

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Punch-Out

If someone were to make a game set within the world of Punch-Out, we could very well have the next great boxing movie on our hands. With the zany and unique nature of Little Mac’s various opponents, this would more than likely need to be an animated movie. We can picture the training montages now. 

Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

(Image credit: Konami)

There has been talk of a Metal Gear Solid movie for years, but despite everyone’s best efforts it never gets made. Any game in Hideo Kojima’s tactical espionage action franchise would make great movies or TV shows, but the 1998 game (the first to adopt Solid in its name) would probably be the best place to start. The iconic battle with Psycho Mantis, the plot twists, and the final fight with Liquid Snake were made for the screen.

A screenshot from Diablo

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo

Ever since Blizzard released Diablo back in 1997, those of who’ve played the game (and its various sequels) have been clamoring for a proper movie or TV show. This hack-and-slash dungeon crawler has so many awesome characters, battles, and locations, all of which could make for a great adaptation. Plus, there’s so much lore that you could just keep the story going for years to come.

A screenshot from Zombies Ate My Neighbors

(Image credit: Konami)

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

There have been a lot of great zombie movies over the years, with games like Resident Evil and House of the Dead getting big-screen adaptations. However, one of the classic games in the genre, Zombies Ate My Neighbors has been left rotting in its grave. The early ‘90s aesthetic and attitude, if recreated properly, could make for a fun throwback with Zeke and Julie.

A screenshot from Pitfall

(Image credit: Activision)

Pitfall

Pitfall, one of the most recognizable titles from the early days of video games, is also one that has never gotten a proper movie or TV adaptation, which is a shame. Sure, the game doesn’t hold as much prominence these days, but it could see a resurgence if it was introduced to a new generation.

A screenshot from Contra

(Image credit: Konami)

Contra

There are several movies called Contra, but none of them are adaptations of Konami’s classic run-and-gunner. The devastatingly difficult yet undeniably fun classic game could be adapted as a more serious action film or something campier, and honestly, both would work really well.

A screenshot from Gauntlet

(Image credit: Atari Games)

Gauntlet

The Gauntlet franchise has been rebooted, retooled, and rediscovered countless times over the years, but somehow it’s never been turned into a movie or TV series. One of the best hack-and-slash games of the ‘80s, Gauntlet was full of action, puzzles, and great loot. With fantasy movies being a hit again, this sometimes forgotten gem could get its time in the spotlight.

A screenshot from Crash Bandicoot

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Crash Bandicoot

With the Sonic the Hedgehog film franchise and The Super Mario Bros. Movie being hits with gamers and non-gamers alike, a Crash Bandicoot adaptation makes total sense. Though no longer confined to the PlayStation family of consoles, Crash was essentially the mascot of Sony’s first gaming system throughout the late 1990s. That attitude, voice cast, and unforgettable moments would make for a killer animated movie.

A screenshot from GTA: Vice City

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Grand Theft Auto

Though some would argue that the Grand Theft Auto games are essentially interactive movies, we could totally use a big-screen adaptation of the extremely popular franchise. The games take so many cues from movies and shows like Heat, The Godfather, and Miami Vice, and have been a part of pop culture for the better part of 30 years, so there’s little doubt that it could work.. 

A screenshot from Golden Axe

(Image credit: Sega)

Golden Axe

Golden Axe, one of the games most tied to the early days of the Sega Genesis, has been brought up time and time again when it comes to games needing an adaptation of some sort. A faithful recreation for the silver screen or TV would definitely work and be a lot of fun, but a less serious and more meta version also sounds like a good time.

Samus in Metroid Fusion

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid

With Nintendo games getting a lot of love in the adaptation world, it’s only a matter of time before Metroid makes its way to audiences. Nothing has been said about a project based on the action-adventure franchise, but how cool would it be to have an animated series where each season follows Samus around the galaxy taking on all manner of threats?

A screenshot from Space Invaders

(Image credit: Taito)

Space Invaders

A Space Invaders movie is something that could be a lot of fun for audiences if it were handled properly. Admittedly, the classic arcade game isn’t as popular decades after its release, but there’s no denying its prominence in the history of games and nerd culture. It feels like this would have to be a supper silly adventure opposed to a more serious adaptation though.

A screenshot from Raiden

(Image credit: Seibu Kaihatsu)

Raiden

The Raiden rail-shooter fighter jet games of the ‘90s were some of the best to ever do it, and they would honestly make for a great movie or TV show. Though many of us probably overlooked the games’ stories over the years, the Raiden franchise has a bonkers plot about aliens taking over the world’s military hardware, and that could be a lot of fun to explore.

A screenshot from Myst

(Image credit: Broderbund)

Myst

If you were a fan of point-and-click computer games in the 1990s, there’s a good chance you played (or attempted to play) Myst. The puzzle/exploration games have been rereleased over the years, so there’s clearly an audience out there if a movie was ever made. It would be interesting to see how someone would adapt the game, but it could be a fun and imaginative experience.

A screenshot from Wolfenstein 3D

(Image credit: Id Softwar)

Wolfenstein

With all the Nazis and violence, adapting Wolfenstein 3D into a movie might prove to be difficult, but this influential first-person shooter would make for a killer and extremely violent action flick if given a chance. We have a (bad) Doom movie, so why not make a good Wolfeinsten adaptation?

A screenshot from Earthbound

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Earthbound

When it comes to RPGs on the SNES, few, if any, come close to Earthbound. The second release in the Mother series, this beloved classic about a young boy named Ness trying to defeat a cosmic destroyer is equally charming and epic, and perfect for a movie. It has a great art style, a tremendous story, and is still fun to play nearly 30 years after its release.

A screenshot from Final Fantasy VII

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy

Sure, there’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but that 2001 animated movie wasn’t really based on any of the games in Hironobu Sakaguchi’s series of RPGs. With so many great stories to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one game that should be adapted, but popular titles like Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, or one of the spinoffs would be perfect for a movie or show (maybe the latter considering each game’s length).

A screenshot from Star Fox

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Star Fox

A movie inspired by Nintendo’s Star Far franchise could be something really, really cool if done properly. Though there aren’t as many games in the franchise as some of its fellow Nintendo series, but this wise-cracking ace of a pilot could be a fun character to follow on the big screen. 

A screenshot from Out Run

(Image credit: Sega)

Out Run

Out Run isn’t the most popular racer of all time or anything like that, but this ‘80s driving game is one that we think could be made into a fun, action-packed adventure. While an animated movie would be cool, a live-action adaptation of Sega’s racing sim with a sense of attitude and adventure could become the stuff of legend.

A screenshot from Super Bomberman

(Image credit: Konami)

Bomberman

The Bomberman franchise, which has been around for over 40 years, is one that would make for a great and surprisingly poignant movie. With its colorful visuals and addictive game mechanics, Bomberman also has an empowering story about a robot with dreams of leaving bomb-making behind to become human.  

A screenshot from Sunset Riders

(Image credit: Konami)

Sunset Riders

Sunset Riders, a side-scrolling run-and-gun game from the early 1990s, is honestly one of the best things Konami ever released, and a title that would be perfect for a movie. Set in the American Old West, this game features characters (both good guys and bad) that feel like they were pulled out of one of the great Western films

A screenshot from Shadow of the Colossus

(Image credit: Sony Computer Entertainment)

Shadow Of The Colossus

There has been talk of a Shadow of the Colossus movie for years now, and it’s crazy to think that this hasn’t come to fruition yet. A game that completely makes you rethink what it means to be a hero, Sony Computer Entertainment’s 2005 action-adventure title was full of unique monsters (called the Colossi), locations, and powerful moments.

A screenshot from The Secret of Monkey Island

(Image credit: LucasArts)

The Secret Of Monkey Island

LucasFilm Games was one of the best studios in terms of point-and-click adventure games in the early 1990s, and The Secret of Monkey Island is proof of that. Released in 1990, this swashbuckling adventure game follows Guybrush Threepwood as he attempts to make his dream of being a pirate a reality. Puzzles, dastardly pirates, and unique locations added so much to the sense of adventure, and would honestly make for a great cinematic experience.

Hopefully, one, two, or all of these classic video games get the big-screen (or small-screen) treatment in the future. 

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