Games creators and writers give their theories on how an upcoming crop of adaptations could avoid the same pitfalls as Assassin’s Creed, World of Warcraft and Super Mario Bros
No other film genre boasts such an unimpeachable reputation for dreadfulness as the video game adaptation. Some, such as this year’s Tomb Raider film and the zombie-themed Resident Evil efforts, almost achieve mediocrity. Others are so fascinatingly terrible that they have become Hollywood legend – for instance, the baffling interpretation of Super Mario Bros proffered by edgy British directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton in 1993, in which Nintendo’s bright, joyful Mushroom Kingdom was reimagined as a futuristic dystopia called Dinohattan, where everyone was dressed in fishnets and black leather trenchcoats. A quarter of a century later, it is still impossible to understand why anyone thought that was a good idea.
The ever-expanding Marvel cinematic universe is ample proof that films can do an excellent job of exploring geek culture and fleshing out the paper-thin characters that dominate it; Black Panther has just become the fifth highest-grossing movie ever at the US box office. Millions have now grown up with video games, so why is it that studios have failed to make a single video game movie that doesn’t stink?