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Video Games That Still Deserve Movies And TV Shows

If there has been a constant in the world of Hollywood, it's that video games, more often than not, do not make the best fodder for movies or TV shows. With such legendary box office disappointments to this adage's name as "Super Mario Bros.," "Prince of Persia," and "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," it's no wonder fans and creators alike are skeptical of the prospect. The interactivity and enormously long narratives that make video games successful simply don't transfer to other mediums all that well. 30+ hours of mutable playtime is really hard to condense into a two-hour feature presentation.

But recent successes such as "Pokemon Detective Pikachu" and "Sonic the Hedgehog" have fans wondering if video game-based movies and TV shows have more potential than previously realized. It's even gotten us thinking about specific games that might lend themselves well to cinema or television. From Nintendo classics to beloved horror titles, these are the video games that could become spectacular movies or TV shows.

Left 4 Dead 1 and 2

Many zombie games hit the scene in the '00s. But if you were the type to stay up late with your friends playing multiplayer games, then the chances are extremely high you were playing "Left 4 Dead" and "Left 4 Dead 2."

Released in 2008 and 2009 respectively by beloved game developer Valve, the "Left 4 Dead" games have a wonderful sense of humor and a whole lot of zombies to fight. There are the Boomers, whose bile attracts other undead. Tanks spell doom for you if you are unlucky enough to be in their path of destruction. And, perhaps most memorably, there are the creepy Witches, who are set off if you get too close. Each game follows a different quartet of survivors looking to survive hordes of the infected and escape to safety. The games' major hook is their cooperative gameplay, which both unites players with a sense of brotherhood, and, much like "Mario Kart" before it, has ruined many a sleepover.

As a TV show, "Left 4 Dead"would be more fun, colorful, and lively than "The Walking Dead," which, for all its strengths, is one of the most emotionally draining shows around. Having a zombie show oriented around tongue-in-cheek humor and creative zombie kills could, in contrast, be a recipe for success if put in the right hands.

Brutal Legend

2009's "Brutal Legend" is a metalhead's dream come true. Even if you're not the headbanging type, it's hard not to love the game's spectacular visuals, stellar soundtrack, and talented voice cast, helmed by the incomparable Jack Black. As anyone familiar with Black's work as part of the comedy-rock musical act Tenacious D knows, he's a major metal fan. If you appreciate the genre as much as he does, this game is like Christmas — and if you don't, it's still enormous fun.

"Brutal Legend" isn't perfect: The player's inability to jump and the more strategy-based battle sections are sticking points for some people. Yet one cannot deny its humor, style, and wonderful appearances from the likes of Motörhead's late, great Lemmy, and the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne.

The game's strengths definitely lie in its voice acting and its visuals. Therefore, it'd be the perfect basis for an animated project, be it a film or a TV show. Adult animation is on the rise, and the advent of streaming has made bizarre, creator-driven content more readily accessible than ever before. Now is the perfect time to turn "Brutal Legend" into a gloriously violent animated adventure, in the same vein as the '80s classic "Heavy Metal," Adult Swim's "Metalocalypse," or Netflix's "Love, Death & Robots."

Mass Effect

With "Halo" finally getting a show of its own, it's only fair that one of gaming's most lauded sci-fi franchises should get that treatment as well. "Mass Effect" has captured the hearts and minds of players all over the world with its memorable characters, detailed customization options, and freedom to make significant choices through actions and dialogue. The games focus on Commander Shepard, a character who has made it their mission to rid the known galaxy of an evil mechanical species known as the Reapers. The player is given the freedom to customize their Shepard however they like, from their voice and skin tone to their relationship preferences. This allows for a tailor-made experience.

Despite controversy concerning the end of 2012's "Mass Effect 3," the series has always been praised as a top-tier example of how to craft a compelling sci-fi-action story within a sprawling video game. Shocking reveals, moments of tragedy, and visual spectacle keep the player on the edge of their seat — and, were it adapted into a movie, the audience as well. With its solid premise and potential for universe-building, "Mass Effect" could even be made into a series of high-budget summer blockbusters.

Red Dead Redemption

It's fair to say that Rockstar Games has created some of the most addictive and vast open-world games of recent memory. One of their biggest claims to fame is definitely the Western masterpiece, "Red Dead Redemption."

Both 2010's "Red Dead Redemption" and its sequel, 2018's "Red Dead Redemption 2," have been highly praised. Specifically, they're both hailed for having incredibly well-constructed plots and two of the finest main characters in gaming history in John Marston and Arthur Morgan. Even people who aren't die-hard Western fans still sing the praises of these games.

Both games are immense, and, much like "Grand Theft Auto," are packed to the brim with interesting side characters, missions, and mini-games. From high-stakes poker to bounty hunting to facing off with the West's worst of the worst, the "Red Dead" adventures are chock-full of enough material to keep any hardcore gamer satisfied for months. This would also provide any potential television adaptation with fodder for a substantial run.

The Legend of Zelda

If there is a game that has had the potential to become a big-budget movie since its inception, it would have to be "The Legend of Zelda," one of Nintendo's biggest and most successful gaming franchises.

The seemingly never-ending adventures of Link, Princess Zelda, and Ganon have entertained gamers since the days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. From 2D to 3D, the franchise has continued to be one of gaming's most well-known and lucrative properties. With all of that in mind, it's quite confounding that a "Legend of Zelda" film, whether live-action or animated, has never materialized.

While Imagi Animation Studios put together some test footage for a potential "Zelda" film back in the '00s, nothing ever came of it. More than likely, this was due to Nintendo's protective nature regarding their major properties, likely reinforced by the disappointment of 1993's "Super Mario Bros." movie. But "Zelda" has all the makings of a great fantasy film, from its vast setting to its unique enemies to its ever-expanding lore. If there was ever a gaming series that deserved the "Lord of the Rings" treatment, it would most definitely be "The Legend of Zelda."

Dead Space

Contrary to what you've been told, horror films can take place in space! For proof, look no further than 2008's "Dead Space," which shows just how scary deep space can be. While "Dead Space" obviously takes inspiration from films such as "Alien" and "Event Horizon," its threat isn't just one lone creature, but a swarm of reanimated corpses resurrected by extraterrestrial infection.

Space-related horror isn't as common as other horror subgenres. But when a production nails the balance between paranoia-inducing isolation and sheer physical revulsion like "Dead Space" does, you have a recipe for something truly memorable. "Dead Space" has been praised for its environment, compelling pacing, and disturbing atmosphere — elements present in some of horror's most memorable films. It's worth noting that "Dead Space" was adapted into a straight-to-DVD film, 2008's "Dead Space: Downfall." But given the game's popularity, it's certainly worth another adaptational attempt. The horror of the Necromorphs simply must be brought to the big screen. If trusted to the right hands, "Dead Space" could be the next great horror film.

Marvel vs. Capcom

With all the big money moves the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes, it's curious that one of the biggest arcade franchises of the '90s hasn't yet been brought to the big screen. "Marvel vs. Capcom," the arcade cabinet that separated countless '90s kids from their hard-earned allowances, is still seen as one of the true classics of the coin-op era. The concept could not be simpler: Characters associated with Capcom and a vast array of heroes and villians from the world of Marvel Comics battle for supremacy. The sheer potential for vibrant silver screen action sequences is insane, as are the endless combinations we could see in terms of one-on-one fights. It's more than enough to make the prospect of a movie adaptation desirable.

Picture it: Spider-Man versus Ryu. Captain America takes on Mega Man. M. Bison squares off with Doctor Doom. The list goes on and on. With Marvel raking in huge box office returns for showcasing more and more comic book weirdness, why not take a chance on "Marvel vs. Capcom"? A movie could bring gamers and comic book fans together for the action movie to end all action movies.

Grand Theft Auto

The "Grand Theft Auto" games have been pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable in video games since 1997. Along the way, the series earned a place in the pantheon of gaming classics. While the series as a whole is worthy of this status, 2008's "Grand Theft Auto IV" and 2013's "Grand Theft Auto V" have received the most praise, becoming two bona-fide classics of the 21st century. This is due in no small part to their memorable main characters, compelling narratives, and their massive open worlds, full of creative side missions. 

The franchise has always taken cues from the likes of "Goodfellas" and "Scarface," so the notion of a live-action movie adaptation makes sense. Both "IV" and "V" have enough going on to justify a pair of fun action-adventure films — all they need is a creative team that understands how to write likable scumbags and create a sense of madness and anxiety. The Safdie brothers, who directed both "Good Time" and "Uncut Gems," would be a perfect choice to bring the world of "Grand Theft Auto" to the big screen.

Half-Life and Portal

1998's "Half-Life" focuses on Gordon Freeman, a scientist looking to escape the Black Mesa Research Facility when it is flooded by savage alien creatures. 2007's "Portal" follows Chell, a mute prisoner at the mercy of a sentient artificial intelligence known as GLaDOS, as she is forced to engage in various tests of experimental portal technology. We've put these two together due to their shared game developer, Valve, and their use of puzzles. Both games are also known for their unique mechanics, emphasis on problem-solving, and passionate online communities. "Half-Life" and "Portal" fans are obsessed with the lore and Easter eggs scattered throughout the games — remember when everyone was yelling about some piece of cake being a lie? Yep, that was "Portal." And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Both games are also visually unique, frequently hilarious, and develop added layers of intrigue atop their fairly standard sci-fi exteriors. If handled with the right level of production expertise and understanding, they could be adapted into any number of inventive and intriguing sci-fi films.

Bendy and the Ink Machine

2017's "Bendy and the Ink Machine" is a dark and twisted homage to the golden age of rubber hose animation. You play as Henry, a former animator who worked for Joey Drew Studios. He has returned to the abandoned studio, and has to contend with a mysterious ink machine and its nigh-demonic creations.

The game is equal parts charming, disturbing, and complicated. It draws you in with its retro, sepia-tone graphics and its cute homages to old-school animation, then proceeds to sucker punch you with jump scares, creepy cartoon-human hybrids, and fiendishly complicated puzzles. Making a "Bendy and the Ink Machine" animated film wouldn't be particularly hard, especially with "Cuphead," another love letter to ancient animation, getting its own cartoon courtesy of Netflix. Plus, with dark and bizarre animation becoming more commonplace and profitable (hello, "Rick and Morty"), "Bendy and the Ink Machine" could be downright lucrative.