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Tag Archives: wargames

Top 10 Movies about Video Games

No, this list isn’t movie remakes of video games or movies inspired by video games. This list is about movies where video games are a major part of the plot of the movie. So no Doom, Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Sorry, I’ll save that for another list, or three.

10. The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Too young to recall this one? That’s okay, I watched it so you don’t have to. Our main hero here is amazing at video games and beats the game called The Last Starfighter only to find out it was just a test and he’s transported to another planet to help them defend an attack on their home. Thank you, IMDB, for reminding me of the plot. I did enjoy this movie, 30 years ago. I wonder if it’s due for a reboot? I’d be down for that!

9. Wargames (1983)

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This movie almost didn’t make my list. Why? I didn’t remember it very well. So I watched the trailer and OH YEAH. Now, it isn’t as video game related as most of the movies on this list. The initial intention is that he is trying to hack into a video game company to play their games early on and ends up hacking into the government and nearly starts World War 3, thinking he is merely playing a video game. Actually, the computer thinks it is a game. It’s an interesting one, to say the least, and isn’t a bad movie at all.

8. Tron (1982)

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This list can’t exist without mentioning Tron, a movie I saw once a LONG time ago. However, without it would we have video game inspired movies? The world will never know. A game designer is sucked into the very world he created. Funny how the original calls him a hacker, but in Tron: Legacy he is called a virtual world designer. Oh, how the times have changed.

7.  The Wizard (1989)

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The only thing terrible in this movie is the Power Glove. No, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. A young boy (not pictured because why would there be a usable gif of the main character when we have this jerk to look at) is a savant at video games. So, what is the natural thing to do? Ditch your parents and go cross country to join THE gaming tournament. Kids, DO NOT try this at home.

6. Brainscan (1994)

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I nearly forgot about this movie. The only reason I remembered it was because, in my research, I came across the anthology Nightmares (1983). A movie about being sucked into a game. This stirred my preteen crush for Edward Furlong and BOOM I remembered this horror movie. A young teen wants to show a new game to his school’s video game club (crap do I feel old) and murder ensues!

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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I will admit to 3 things: 1) I needed to consult with Vanri on this. It is a movie based on a comic and features a lot of video game like things, but does it fit this list? She said yes. 2) I like the soundtrack for this movie WAY more than I like the actual movie. 3) I rewatch this movie only for Brandon Routh. 4) HE’S THE BEST LOOKING SUPERMAN, FITE ME. (I know, that’s 4 things, give me a break).

Anyway, if you’ve been living under a rock, Scott Pilgrim is a horrible leading man (Haaaave you met Ted?) who does stupid stuff because he’s got a boner for Ramona. The best parts are the fights with the Evil Exes (“I’m BI-FURIOUS”) and the amazing cameos that you spot throughout the movie. Also, Beck put together amazing songs that I listen to often. Is there really any more to know? #TeamKnives

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

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Wreck-It Ralph is an adorable movie filled with lessons, video games, great characters, and mayhem. I happen to love it. It’s all about poor Ralph, who is treated poorly for being the ‘villain’ while not being a bad guy. He goes off to find people who will truly appreciate him. You know what, just go watch the movie. You don’t need to read this. If you’ve seen it, you know what a great movie it is and if you haven’t, you are missing out.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

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I haven’t seen the movie yet or read the book. Now stop booing and understand I was busy and broke at the time and with great movies coming out every 5 SECONDS. I MEAN COME ON, GIVE US A BREAK. I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the movie but we cannot deny how PACKED it is with video game references, virtual reality, and pop culture. I mean, I’ve only seen the trailer and I know. Look, that is Tracer from Overwatch running next to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. It’s on my list, I promise I’ll watch it soon.

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

2. Gamer (2009)

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Actually a great movie, I enjoyed it. I also don’t sit down and pick apart movies, was I entertained? Yup! Good movie. Now the initial premise is pretty easy and previously seen before. Prisoners can get out early if they win the game but is our main character really guilty of his crimes? The spin? The prisoners are controlled by a gamer. They are merely playable characters in a very deadly game. 300 wins? You go free and as the team closes in and gains popularity, things begin to go awry.

1. Stay Alive (2006)

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THIS IS MY MOVIE! Oh my October, do I love this movie. This movie even spurred several projects that, years later, I am still working on. I love this movie. An alpha tester got his hands on a new type of game and all hell breaks loose. Die in the game, you die in real life. It’s amazing, I love it. Is it the greatest movie ever made? Hell no. But it’s a great movie. There are some curious changes to the story of Elizabeth Bathory that are questionable, but the overall movie is amazing. I’ll still never get over several things that happened and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I love it and if you love horror, you should check it out.

Is there a movie I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

You Can’t Please All the People All the Time

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Recently the developer for World of Tanks was asked, as part of a larger discussion about women in esports, whether he would do anything to make his game more appealing to female gamers.  His response was very on the nose, and highlights a couple of things I’ve noticed over the last few years with a higher demand for representation that has been logical and measured from some, and completely irrational from a few.  What he said was:

Not necessarily. I think there’s very little we can do to make photorealistic tanks appealing to females.

Now, on one hand he has a point.  World of Tanks is a very specific type of game.  It’s a wargame simulator that strives to present historically accurate battlefield scenarios involving tank combat.  That’s going to appeal to a very specific demographic.  Of course there are women out there that like historical wargames, photorealistic tanks, and combat sims.  I’m 100% sure there are.  Just as sure that there aren’t as many of them as men that like the genre, and as sure that the few women who do like it wouldn’t want it changed to reach this nebulous ‘broader demographic.’  Too often, demand is put on developers to try and make everyone happy, and many try, and fail.  We see them attacked from all sides for including this, or excluding that, or including it wrong.  We saw it with Assassin’s Creed, heavily criticized for a lame excuse for not including female characters, then criticized for including them wrong, or including them only as a marketing scheme.  It was a much-needed change to add the option, but they still got beat up.

On the other hand, I think he misses something.  Like I said, some women like World of Tanks.  The game is already appealing to those women who it was going to appeal to.  I know the developer wasn’t blindly dismissing those gamers, but it servers a larger point.  Different types of games will always appeal to a certain type of person, despite gender.  Women and men are both competitive to different degrees.  You don’t always find fewer women playing FPS games or wargames because those games don’t appeal to women.  I know a lot of women that enjoy those types of games, are competitive and love the action, violence, and chaos of those them.  Some of them don’t play them for other reasons, which can be addressed, but a lot don’t and never will.  It’s not because those games are missing some hook they need in order to play.  Some gamers, men and women, just don’t like those games.  My wife, as few games as she does play, would never be interested in Battlefield, no matter what they changed about it.

In World of Tanks’ case what could they do?  How was it even a legitimate question?  I don’t like Japanese dating sims, and there’s nothing a developer should, or could, do to make me want to play one.  In all likelihood any change they did consider would only make it worse for the current player base, and not win me over anyway.  That’s a little specific, however.  Imagine instead a romance novel publisher was asked what they planned to do to draw in more male readers.  Books in general already serve a wide market, with a plethora of genres that appeal to different demographics.  I would hate to see what someone’s idea of a romance novel that appeals to the average male would look like, but I have a feeling it would no longer appeal to the average romance novel demo.  The only logical answer is, nothing.  There’s nothing to do.

When we’re talking about wargames like this one, the women who like them will like them, and the women who don’t, won’t.  Likely any changes that anyone would consider are the same insulting, superficial changes we see often in FPS games like pink gun skins, or in this case tank skins.  No one really thinks women are avoiding this game because they can’t have a pink tank, right?

This is much bigger than a single question about one game however.  It’s a trend we’ve been seeing grow over the last few years.  Many games, and entertainment in general, can stand to diversify.  It does, however, come with a caveat that is often recognized by the vast majority.  Sadly the vast majority is usually quieter than the vocal minority.  Recently The Mary Sue published an article that, nearly in the same breath, criticizes the upcoming live-action Mulan for casting a white character, and one that is ‘too Chinese’.  That caveat is that is has to make sense.  Are we to no longer tell stories about a group of guys that go on a road trip, because we can’t tell a story about all guys anymore?  What about a sisterhood of girls with migrating pants, need a male character because it’s not diverse?  Do we shove pink, rhinestone tanks into WWII because we need to draw in the preteen female gamer, or do we stick with a little realism because they won’t like it anyway?

The moral of the story, ladies and gents, is if you’re a creator, artist, writer, developer, or whatever, don’t try to please everyone.  You can’t.  If you try, you’ll fail, and it won’t always be something you can bounce back from.  There are people out there that just can’t be happy with anything, they aren’t your audience.  I’m begging you all to stop trying.  Stop being swayed by the one person that thinks Tracer’s (Overwatch) pose is too sexy, or that Marcus Halloway (Watchdogs 2) is too ethnic.  It’s your creation, your art, and your vision.  If it’s not something people want to see, you’ll know when they don’t buy it, but at the end of the day if you just create to satisfy the vocal minority, they’ll never be enough to keep you creating.