Everything in pop culture builds off what came before, but sometimes it’s not so obvious exactly what inspired your favorite video games. Luckily game recognize game, and Source Code is where Playboy explores games’ eclectic origins and finds out what influences video game developers.
I love the smell of video games in the morning.
Most games draw inspiration from the moving pictures. The games on this list, though, went above and beyond, dedicating entire levels to some of the best movies of all time.
Maybe you won’t see your favorite movie reference here, but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. These are some of the best levels based on classic films in video games. May the force be with you. Rosebud.
RUN, INDY, RUN
Game: ’Crash Bandicoot’
“Boulders” is the first of many levels in the Crash Bandicoot series that forces the titular bandicoot to run for his life from something that could crush him like an orange pancake. This jaunt through a jungle filled with temple ruins makes the reference as obvious as a boulder in the room: this level is inspired by the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indiana Jones flees a giant rolling rock, dodging booby traps and pitfalls to escape.
Our hapless marsupial hero has to do the same, leaping fences and chasms and smashing boxes, all with camera angles and graphics that make this game feel like it belongs in a, well, a place where they keep a lot of old stuff. An antique store, maybe.
SAVING PRIVATE CONKER
Game: ‘Conker’s Bad Fur Day’
The Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan is one of the most powerful and horrific depictions of war in film. Seeing it reenacted with cute squirrels (skip six minutes into the video) instead of soldiers in the Conker’s Bad Fur Day level “It’s War” makes it a little less unnerving, but to be honest it’s still pretty brutal in the game.
Conker’s is full of homages to popular movies, but this level in particular stays very close to the source material, forcing you to work your way across the beach, bullets flying and comrades falling in a bloody mess around you. There’s even a squirrel wandering the battlefield, searching for his severed arm. Like the film, this game isn’t for the faint of heart.
WHERE WE’RE GOING, WE DON’T NEED PENCILS
When your hint for the level is “Get a charge at Eighty-eight!” you know exactly what the flux the reference is. A white-haired scientist sits atop a tower in Scribblenauts’ level 8-11 while the hero charges a lightning-rod rigged car to catch a one-point-twenty-one jiggawatt jolt at just the right moment.
If you don’t get this reference, you’re a butthead. It’s the climactic scene from Back to the Future, and it’s the objective of this level. You can even don a life jacket-like red vest to really McFly it up. But you can’t claim that you invented rock and roll at your parents’ school dance.
SAY HELLO TO MY OBVIOUS REFERENCE
Game: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’
If you think the mansion in Vice City’s “Rub Out” mission looks familiar, you probably like your movies to be as violent as your video games. It’s a lot like the mansion in the film Scarface, and just like the movie the “heroes” in the game gun down a man who betrayed them and take over his empire.
The resemblance to the movie mansion is no accident. In fact, some of the CCTV footage on the television screens in the game are actually pictures of Tony Montana’s castle-like house from the movie. Unfortunately, there’s no fountain to have a cool death scene in the game, though.
In the first SimCity game there’s a scenario that takes place in Tokyo, Japan. As the mayor, it’s your job to fix the city’s troubles. What problem could Tokyo be facing? The same problem it always faces: Godzilla. A monster heavily based on the giant lizard from the film series stomps around the city, bringing his usual level of chaos and destruction.
The Super Nintendo version of the game featured Mario nemesis Bowser instead of Godzilla (three minutes into the above clip), but the message is the same: Tokyo has a serious giant monster infestation. Though they recently seem to have made peace with Godzilla, as a ward in the city just appointed the monster as their tourism ambassador. What could go wrong?
HOME TOWN INVASION
Game: ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’
Who hasn’t gone into a video game battle shouting “Wolverines!” at the top of their lungs? Maybe kids who are too young to have seen Red Dawn (the original, for goodness sake) won’t get it. Just like the film, the Modern Warfare 2 mission titled “Wolverines!” starts off with a surprise invasion from Russia on American soil, complete with paratroopers raining from the skies and attacking a quiet Everytown, USA. It’s your job to protect our freedom. Sure, you’re a little more heavily armed than some school kids with hunting rifles, but you’ll never meet Patrick Swayze. And that’s the real battle you must face every day of your life.
Mike Clark is a Chicago-based writer and video game/comedy/dog enthusiast. He will defend to the death the idea that blowing in a Nintendo 64 cartridge will make it work better despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Tweet your best hate @MikeClarKent.
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