Let’s be real: there are many arthouse movies full of rich dialogue and well rounded characters that make for wonderfully intimate viewing experiences. But if you were to turn them into video games? Snooze time.
So the Hollywood mogul inside me wondered what might happen if we amped up these heavy talkies to be more gamer friendly. They certainly wouldn’t be what their makers intended, but they’d rock your Xbox.
7. ‘MY UNDEAD DINNER WITH ANDRE’
Scintillating, soul-searching conversation over a gourmet meal can be grand. But it’ll leave you little to do with your controller, as The Simpsons noted in its great parody of a My Dinner With Andre video game.
But add zombies into the mix? Now you’re talking. While you eat and try to keep your strength up, you have to cope with a gradual undead infestation of the restaurant—avoid contaminated food, fend off ghoulish marauders, keep your waiter from turning into one of the undead. Each round offers a different venue, food, and crazed creatures. It’s kind of like a culinary Robotron. It’s hard to wax eloquent about existentialism and philosophy when someone’s trying to munch on your memories. Bonus points for good debating skills.
6. ‘THE THEORY OF BLASTING EVERYTHING’
Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne amazed us as he portrayed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his battle against the degenerative motor neuron disease. Compelling movie, not such a compelling game.
But Monty Python made the scientific genius even cooler by showing him fly his wheelchair through space (above, unsurprisingly), which made me think: Why not send Hawking on intergalactic adventures in a nuclear-powered, missile-firing wheelchair? He could swirl around planets, shoot through wormholes and invade alien vessels. Who would think he’d be a threat? He can be sent on covert missions throughout the galaxy, and who wouldn’t want to hear him, in his monotone computer voice, declare: “Yippie Ki Yay, alien scum!”
5. ‘WHIPLASH MELEE’
The edgy jazz drama that reaped J.K. Simmons some Oscar gold showcased an intense battle of wits between a pompous, abusive music professor (Simmons) and the cocky, obsessed drum student (Miles Teller) who wants to become one of the greats. But incendiary conversation does not make for gamer bliss.
However, take the nasty confrontations from the film and exaggerate them and you’ve got some crazy scenarios to milk. The goal of Whiplash Melee? Make it through successful levels of the music academy as you avoid a hail of razor sharp pencils that can perforate you, swirling sheet music that can suffocate you, music stands that can impale you, and flying cymbals that can decapitate you. If you’re lucky, catch a cymbal and fire it back at your maniacal teacher. Bonus points for slicing his head off and bonus rounds will include Rock Band-style drum offs. Try to keep your fingers from bleeding.
4. ‘THE SEVENTH SEAL IN MILTON BRADLEY HELL’
A chess game with Death is a creepy notion, but a sit down throwdown isn’t good for itchy trigger fingers. But let’s take a page from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, in which the two Cali rocker dudes play a series of board games with Death to escape Hell and come back to life to avenge their deaths.
In this game you’re a gallant knight about to be taken away to the Afterlife, and you decide to challenge Death to any number of souped up games from the Milton Bradley realm, from 3D Battleship to Hungry Hungry Hippos (with lasers) to Mouse Trap (with mutant rabid mice). It’s better than just laying down and biting it.
3. ‘12 ANGRY ARMED MEN’
Sidney Lumet’s tense film will make your blood boil with its intense jury debate over a death penalty case, but who wants a lot of talking in an action game? If you’ve ever served on jury duty, you know there are at least a couple of dumbasses serving with you who have no business being there. Because lawyers. Imagine what it would be like to deliberate with a little flare?
Here we give each juror a chance to pick up a weapon (axe, nunchaks, taser, gun) and work out their deliberations Rambo-style. Team up with like-minded jurors! Take out the dissenters! Restock the jury pool and your ammunition! Break for lunch! It could be a great multi player experience where you get to go ballistic in legal chambers. Hey, the original movie poster declared: “Life is in their hands—Death is on their minds!” Let’s do this.
2. ‘GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS: QUEST FOR THE LEADS’
The best scene in David Mamet’s Oscar-nominated film is when Alec Baldwin’s “downtown” guy lambastes the stooges at Premier Properties about their crappy track record. He tells them they are all fired and have one week to save their jobs by closing the leads they have. Two will regain their jobs, and the other two will remain unemployed. It sets off a nasty chain reaction among the guys and increasingly desperate attempts to get out of their dilemma.
Even though it’s awesome watching acting heavyweights like Al Pacino and Ed Harris trade barbs, it would be more fun to see what happened if someone stole the Glengarry leads and what these four guys would do to get them back. Done from a first-person perspective, we’ll add in a maze of streets, secret locations, femme fatales, and maybe a nice set of steak knives for you to fight off the other crazed realtors with. We’ll add in some profanity-laden Mamet zingers to keep it spicy and prove that we’re not fucking with you.
1. ‘THE MAN FROM EARTH: AGELESS WARRIOR’
Adapted from a Star Trek episode he wrote back in 1969, Jerome Bixby’s A Man From Earth is about college professor John Oldman, who during a send-off party at his latest job claims that he is 14,000 years old. He’s not an ass-kicking Highlander-style immortal, but he has been a friend to many famous people, from Hammurabi to Columbus to Van Gogh. He also says he was the model for Jesus.
In Ageless Warrior, you get to be Oldman, but in this testosterone-fueled version you’ve got to prove your credentials by playing out awesome battles throughout history. Be a Roman centurion, nutty Viking, or American revolutionary. Each level can offer you a different type of battle scenario. And that Jesus thing? Could be a good interlude. We could use that whole water control thing for some insane aquatic adventures, hot mermaids included.
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