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  • Games vs Movies
    Games vs Movies

    A quick look at gaming's increasingly cinematic AAA blockbusters makes it abundantly clear that mainstream games are trying harder to emulate movies all the time. But the thing is, they needn't bother. Because as games become an ever more mainstream medium, films are increasingly taking cues from them.

  • 1. Sucker Punch
    1. Sucker Punch

    The one that inspired this article. And ye gods, where do you even start? Sucker Punch is basically “Video Game Fan Service: The Movie”. The central concept (aesthetically at least) is little more than “Hot chicks in short skirts vs. Nazi steampunk robot samurai dragons”, but even going beyond the obvious visual design (which is like watching a cutting room floor megamix of Final Fantasy cut scenes that were dropped for being too long and sexist), the entire structure of the film is very, very gamey indeed.

  • 2. Speed Racer
    2. Speed Racer

    Speed Racer is the world’s first non-interactive sci-fi arcade racing game. There’s not a single element of its homicidally epic race scenes (which take up about half of the film) that you haven’t experienced in a game. The rollercoaster track design is pure F-Zero GX/Wipeout. As for the race choreography itself, throw together GX's velocity, Ridge Racer's physics-breaking drifts and Mario Kart's knockabout combat. Then mix thoroughly, sprinkle in a few magic mushrooms and heat to boiling point.

  • 3. District 9
    3. District 9

    What does District 9 take from games? Guns. Lots of guns. Yes, District 9 is a smart film. Yes, it has a whole lot of gritty apartheid metaphor coursing through its veins. And yes, its story kicks with the emotional impact of a wine drinking, poetry writing goth mule. But by great Smith & Wesson, does it ever take delight in its over-powered sci-fi weaponry too.

    But there’s an obvious source for District 9’s gun designs. Games. The medium which, above all others, has had the biggest hand in furthering the cause of overpowered sci-fi weaponry over the last couple of decades. You see a big gun in a film or a comic is just a big gun. A big gun in a game however, is a central gameplay mechanic, a vital piece of interactive design which changes the way you play and shapes your whole relationship with the game world . In the shooter genre, imaginative gun design is the key which opens the fun chest, and thus, it has been evolving like crazy ever since the Wolfenstein 3-D.

  • 4. The Matrix trilogy
    4. The Matrix trilogy

    While the Wachowskis’ genre-changing Cyberpunk epic clearly lifted one hell of a lot from the aesthetic of video game combat, but in terms of its narrative, themes and general workings, The Matrix films take a hell of a lot more from the very interactive mechanics of video games. In fact they’re pretty much the internet’s “If real-life worked like games” meme stuck on a cinema screen. 

    Regarding those fights though. The Matrix’s slow-motion punctuations to combat have been a fighting game trope ever since Street Fighter II, making gaming’s latter day obsession with bullet-time rather a case of things coming full circle rather than strict cinematic inspiration. And the Wachowskis’ repeated use of side-on camera angles during combat can be no coincidence either.

  • 5. Crank
    5. Crank

    The most shameless video gamey film on this list, Crank wears its colours on its sleeve right from its garish 8/16-bit opening title sequence.

    Right from the opening shot, which depicts lead character Chet Chelios waking up and making his way out of his bedroom via a first-person camera perspective only to immediately have the film’s basic premise explained to him by way of a convenient video message, Crank is steeped in the tropes of current and last-gen gaming. And much like that of many games, its core premise – Chet has been injected with an experimental Chinese drug and needs to keep his adrenalin level high or he’ll die – is simply a background McGuffin used to facilitate and excuse as much flagrant carnage as possible.