The influence of gaming culture in cinema has been around for years, spawning dozens of movies that pay homage to classic arcade games. While these films might not top the charts as mainstream favorites, catching glimpses of iconic video game characters (like Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion) is a delightful treat for gaming enthusiasts.
In this post, we’re sharing a list of the best arcade video game movies that have graced the big screen.
Street Fighter (1994)
Major Guile (played by Jean Claude Van Dam) leads a team of elite fighters into battle against General M. Bison (Raul Julia) to make him pay for his international crimes. Fans of the Street Fighter arcade game franchise get to see their favorite characters (such as Ryu, Sagat, and Chun-li) go to battle for the sake of humanity.
Although this film received a 4.0/10.00 on IMDB, it’s a fun film to watch, and it has some great fighting action, especially the matchup between Guile and General Bison. As one of the first movies based on arcade games, this cult classic helped pave the way for those that followed over the next 30 years.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Once Street Fighter was released, it was only a matter of time until this influential fighting game landed in theaters. Watch as Liu Kang battles Shang Tsung to save the earth realm in an all out Mortal Kombat tournament. Fans of the game will delight in recognizing the specialty moves of their favorite characters, and the unforgettable soundtrack is sure to bring back nostalgic memories and get you pumped up. Here are some of the best video game soundtracks.
Despite a 5.8/10.00 rating on IMDB, the first Mortal Kombat movie was received well as a faithful representation of the game. Plus, it was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, who went on to write and direct a variety of video game movies, including Alien Vs. Predator, Death Race, Monster Hunter, and the Resident Evil movies.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been in a couple of video game movies, including Doom and Rampage.
In Rampage, he plays primatologist Davis Okoye , who wrestles against time as he works with a team to find an antidote to help stop 3 mutated animals (Lizzie, Ralph, and George) from causing a bigger ruckus than they’ve already made. The thrilling special effects and inclusion of the playable characters from the classic arcade game makes this a fun one to watch.
Receiving a 6.1/10.00 on IMDB, Rampage is an action-packed blockbuster that loosely represents the arcade game, building a world around the 3 monsters punching buildings.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Sega’s beloved hedgehog has certainly made a name for himself across the video game marketplace, so of course the success would make its way to film. Released in 2020, fans of the franchise get to watch the iconic arcade character, Sonic (Ben Schwartz), and his new friend, Tom (James Marsden), go on an adventure to retrieve his rings and steer clear of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
The original CGI animation of Sonic that appeared in the movie trailer wasn’t received well. But Sonic was redesigned to look more like the video games, and the family-friendly movie became a huge success grossing over $306 million and receiving a 6.5/10.00 on IMDB.
History buffs, along with gamers alike, get to see the origins of the Tetris arcade game and how it became a global phenomenon in the late 1980s. Exclusively on Apple TV, this true story follows Henk Rogers (Teron Egerton) and his fascination with a Soviet programmer’s game, Tetris. Categorized as a Thriller, this movie shows the struggles they faced to get this addictive game into consumer’s hands worldwide.
Tetris received a 7.4/10.0 on IMDB, and it’s a very interesting take on the video game movie genre with its dramatic thrills and pixelated art.
We hope you enjoy these films, bringing back fond memories of your favorite video game characters reaching the big screen.