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How Video Games Became Movie Fodder

By Staff | Aug 26, 2008

Imagine this for one minute, will you — a movie about “Madden 2009.” That’s right, I said it. Video games are no strangers to movie adaptations, so why should one of the most widely successful video game franchises not have its day on the silver screen? Exactly, so humor me, will you?

The movie opens and you’re staring at half of a worn leather football in the grass. The grass, broken and bent, looks old but well kept. Suddenly a hand reaches down to grab it. You can see the caked earth residing under every fingernail and there’s a hint of blood soaking through the tape on his finger. He’s holding the ball to the ground for some reason — you don’t know why. Suddenly the ball flies backwards as the camera remains close-up on its features. Suddenly another hand is holding it, but differently as the images surrounding are blurry, making out only a shoulder pad and a sideline of players. And just as quickly as you got there, the ball is off and soaring through the air. A sudden jolt and the ball is buried in a jersey and then slid effortlessly to the side and placed in the crook of an arm. The camera swings with the arm until another shockwave hits the camera and now the ball is loosely rolling in the dirt. A voice chimes in, “Wap! He got developed!” Gradually the screen goes black as hands grope for the ball, fighting, biting each other just to hold it …

Exciting eh?

 In case you’re a newbie to Madden Football, you didn’t get the “Wap! He got developed!” reference. Subsequently, phrases like the following happened in real life: “Can you believe a cow jumped over that thing?” when he was looking at the moon in one broadcast, “Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon,” “Here’s a guy who, when he runs, he moves faster,” and of course my personal favorite, “Hey Al, ya’ ever kick a bag of bolts?”

A comedian couldn’t make up better lines to say in a sports casters booth (and trust me, they tried with Dennis Miller about five years ago).

So that’s my pitch for why John Madden should have his own video game to film adaptation. I know it’s not foolproof, but it’s got to be as good (if not better) than the ones we’ve had in previous years.

It all started (it seems like) on May 28, 1993, with the inception of “Super Mario Bros.” Who could ever forget Bob Hoskins as Mario,  John Leguizamo as Luigi and last but not least, Dennis Hopper as King Koopa? From there came Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile in “Street Fighter” back in 1994, followed by the ever-popular “Mortal Kombat” in 1995. Eventually, the video game to film journey went crazy with the likes of “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Resident Evil,” “Doom,” “Silent Hill,” “Hitman,” and “Far Cry.”

So although it is not a big genre, there are some big things happening at the moment. The film-noir PC classic game, “Max Payne,” is getting a a kick in the butt by Mark Wahlberg and is finding its way to theaters come Oct. 17, as well as “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” starring the non-Persian (Jake Gyllenhaal), is set to release a couple years from now on May 28, 2010.

Upcoming projects, ones that are rumored but highly anticipated, are the underwater epic “Bioshock,” the 2007 game of the year “Gears of War,” the ever-popular “Halo,” the bloody “Kane & Lynch,” and the eternally good “Metal Gear Solid.”

 We’ll see what comes of the maybes, celebrate the definitelys and hopefully my request will find its way to a Hollywood exec’s desk. Two years later, I want to see Madden on the silver screen, talking about how much he likes sauerkraut, dirty players and heroism.

Contact Ben at bspanner@graffitiwv.com