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Live-action video game adaptations may never work

Live-action video game adaptations may never work

Live-action video game adaptations may never work
April 08
12:00 2022

With “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” zooming into theaters this week, we are getting yet another video game movie. While I am sure the movie will be fine just like the first one was, it is certain the sequel is already fighting an uphill battle.

When talking about the toxicity oozing out from the depths of the internet, no fandom stirs up more discourse than those who take their love for video games a little too seriously. Even if there are video game film adaptations with enjoyable qualities, the defense mechanism of the “passionate” gamer will always be there to kill its momentum.

There are actual reasons why these adaptations may never truly be anything more than just okay. Video games give us an extra sense of involvement when we play them. Not only are we watching what these characters are doing, but we are also controlling them as well, with a lot of our personal choices dictating the way the game plays out.

When you make a movie or series out of a video game, you are stripping the material and importance of the extra connection made by controlling the characters. This doesn’t necessarily make it impossible to make a good live-action adaptation of a video game, but it certainly sets the foundation at a disadvantage.

Relating back to the fans, if there is a lack of reference in the adaptation, studios believe it will not be received well by fans. This leads to things like an overflow of quotes and references from the original material, making the movie or series come off as self-indulgent and not a stand-alone project, or even an independent endeavor at all. 

Look at the “Mortal Kombat” movie from 2021. There are so many on-the-nose references and quotes, that it almost reads as a parody at times. I absolutely love the film but it is safe to say a lot of the fans used the campy use of source material against it.

Moving forward, the only hope to keep everyone satisfied seems to be with upcoming projects like “The Last of Us” series for HBO. It may be a video game, but there has never been a game so devoted to its narrative, that it almost plays out like a movie already, before any notion of a show.

There are high hopes and big names involved but even if the show is a resounding success, I am sure it won’t be without some pushback from “fans” who claim nothing will ever be as good as the original.

Movies like “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” will get criticized for straying too far away from how the source material functions, but then projects like “Mortal Kombat” will get trashed for trying to cater to hardcore fans of the franchise.

The truth is, even if a live-action adaptation of a video game is great, it won’t be accepted as so. If there is one thing we learned over the last couple of years, no one holds more power than a group of faceless internet users who all agree with the same thing. It is a shame because movies like “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Resident Evil” are actually a lot of fun, but a hoard of unrealistic standards will always be there to level out the playing field, whether it is necessary or not.

While a lot of video game movies and shows may lack quality, it is safe to say a lot of negative reactions are just overplayed because nothing will ever be good enough for those who hold their standards at unbeatable levels.

Featured Illustration By Erika Sevilla

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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