Ever wondered what the best video game movies are? Be it a documentary on the development of independent games or a film about how to get the best out of the gaming world, there is a definite point in the market for films about video games. Here are the top 10 video game movies. Note that we are looking at video games, not game adaptations.
10. Gamer – 2009
Starring Gerard Butler, Gamer is one of the best video game movies that explores a future where people can play video games in an ultra-realistic way. Or more than that. The game is totally real.
In the feature, a new technology allows chips to be implemented in humans, making their decisions and motor coordination under the control of another person, the player, who controls them as if they were a video game character.
Butler lives one of the many inmates who are used as “dolls” in a game where the bullets are real and a wrong move can be fatal.
The film explores the trivialization of violence, in addition to minor points, but equally important as free will, redemption and, of course, video games.
9. Grandma’s Boy – 2006
Grandma’s Boy is a 2006 American stoner-style film produced by Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison. The film stars Allen Covert, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film.
The story is about a video game tester named Alex, who is forced to live with his grandmother after being evicted from his home. Co-stars include Nick Swardson, Linda Cardellini, Shirley Jones, Shirley Knight, Joel David Moore, Kevin Nealon, Jonah Hill and Doris Roberts as Grandma Lilly.
The film is obviously no big deal on a bigger stage, but it has its moments and is noteworthy, one of the reasons why it made it on our list of the best video game movies. And when the theme is the universe of games, it is much better than most.
8. Jumanji: The Next Level – 2019
Let’s start by recognizing that everything Dwayne Johnson touches turns to gold. Our beloved “The Rock” is a machine for making successful productions in Hollywood, and Jumanji was another one of them.
After the success of the first film, the sequence “The Next Level” managed to overcome the first and fell in favor with fans and critics.
For those who do not remember or were not born, Jumanji is a reboot of the series that had only the first film, released in 1995 and starring Robin Williams. In that movie, the game was not a video game, but a board that influenced the real world.
7. The Last Starfighter – 1984
This one is a crazy trip, but it’s really cool.
After reaching the top score of his favorite video game, “The Last Starfighter”, teenager Alex Rogan finally meets its creator, Centauri, who reveals that the game was created to train and recruit pilots to a space battle. On a distant alien planet, Alex finds it difficult to use his video game skills on a real adventure, especially when lives are in danger.
6. WarGames – 1983
“The only winning move is not to play.” Phrases like that resonate in the film, serving more as a message about the ridicule of war, in this nuclear case, than about video games.
Its stars, Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy (bringing together two of the greatest teen films of the 80s before they were even made), play two teenagers who, unknowingly, are starting a nuclear war simulation, invading the main computer of a great developer game to play a new game. How they confused planning a nuclear war with playing video games, we don’t know. All we know is that it made a very good film.
The success of WarGames resulted in the creation of a video game for 8-bit computers, with the goal of stopping nuclear war using tanks, submarines and weapons before reaching Defcon 1. We are not sure if this looks like fun or no, but it definitely shows the influence that the film had afterwards.
5. Tron: Legacy – 2010
In 2008, at Comic-Con International, a trailer was shown about a film that an entire generation had been waiting for nearly three decades. When bars and a character dressed in a light suit appeared on the screen, animated murmurs began to rise. When the character jumped in the air, a cycle of light appeared before him. The whispers became screams scream. Tron: Legacy (or as it was called at the time, TR2N) was in production.
The sequel to the cult classic Tron, released 28 years earlier, Tron: Legacy showed the son of the past protagonist finding his father trapped within the system he had previously created (The Grid) by hacking into the computer at Flynn’s Arcade. The film, like the original, created a ‘digital frontier’, installing itself inside the computer and forcing the characters to participate in games to regain their freedom.
One of the most spectacular things about Tron: Legacy is its soundtrack. There is something basic about how Daft Punk and video games combine so well, with the pair being fascinated by the original film for a lifetime. The music they created for the soundtrack was incredibly popular with fans after the film’s release; it even started to be used in video game trailers.
With regard to Cillian Murphy’s uncredited role as the son of the original antagonist Dillinger in this film, it is strongly suggested that another film be made. With Sam and Quorra in the real world, and Flynn presumably dead, what will happen next?
4. Tron – 1982
Tron’s original 1982 film featured a young Jeff Bridges hacking into a computer and entering his mainframe. Tron presented the ideas of light cycle races and identity discs as weapons that “programs” would use when participating in tournaments against each other. These ideas would again appear strongly in the 2010 sequel, Tron: Legacy.
The film was not very successful at the box office and was acclaimed more for being innovative in showing the potential of computer-generated images than storytelling. However, it was these groundbreaking images that disqualified the film for Oscar special effects, with the Academy believing that using computers for a film was cheating. The film may not have received the reception it deserved at the time, but it is definitely considered a cult classic by the current generation of film fanatics.
After Tron was released, video games were created based on the light cycle races featured in the film, which were placed alongside Donkey Kong and Space Invaders in the arcades.
It is a must for anyone interested in seeing how computer images have changed in recent decades.
3. The King of Kong – 2007
The King of Kong is a journey full of nostalgia to the world of arcade games and the high-scoring champions who reign over arcades like kings. The documentary focuses mainly on the competition between a newly arrived hero, Steve Wiebe (science teacher, father and husband) and the current champion of Donkey Kong, Billy Mitchell (king of hot sauce, in addition to Kong).
The film holds an 83% rating on Metacritic, placing it alongside some of the greatest documentaries of all time. It’s strangely fascinating for a film that purely details the fight for Donkey Kong’s world record score, but when it comes to an end and Mitchell doesn’t show up in the confrontation organized by Wiebe, you feel as disappointed as Steve looks.
There is a melancholy feeling in The King Of Kong for those who spent the 1980s as a child playing on arcade machines, spending every penny in their pockets. These men would have been heroes to them at the time, and they could still feel heroes to them now, after watching this masterpiece.
2. Wreck it Ralph – 2012
This animation is one of Disney’s great wonders. The story is simple, but very well tied and extremely captivating. Now, who doesn’t like an antihero looking for redemption? Ralph is the villain of his game, where his only job, during the day, is to destroy buildings while Felix, the heroic character controlled by the player, must rebuild before time runs out.
But during the night, when the arcades are off, Ralph lives alone and sad, always treated like a villain just for doing his job.
Read Also: The 10 Best Space Movies To Watch
This is the starting point for a story that involves travel between games and a flood of references to other epoch-making games.
1. Ready Player One – 2018
First on our list of best video game movies is “Ready Player One”, a very interesting movie you don’t want to miss. In the distant future, with society collapsing due to lack of jobs due to artificial intelligence, people spend almost all their time in OASIS, an endless virtual reality where everyone can be whatever they want.
It is a gigantic game that has other games inside itself, with a good story, arcs of convincing characters and many, many references not only to games, but to pop culture in general.