edward norton

Now I know I’ve said video game movies are terrible. On this very site I’ve also explained why I think they’ll be terrible for a long time to come. So at this point, you must think I’m being controversial or am bored or I’ve just run out of ideas.

I’ll have you know, however, that only two of those things are true. Bam, take that, haters.

All that being said, I have admitted many times that I will continue to watch video game movies, despite the inevitable disappointment. And, as a byproduct, I fantasise about them actually being good. With that in mind, I’ve selected four games which I think would make more some pretty amazing movies (if done properly).

I’ve included which actors I think would be good in the role, too. Have a look, and tell me which actors you would choose – and which games you’d add to the list.

Half-Life

Let’s start out with the obvious choice. Not just because I’m a fanboy, this is a property which could easily be franchised into a three part trilogy. For a dose of real authenticity, the producers could make sure they never release the third film.

Jokes aide, it just works so damn well. This isn’t a trilogy like The Hobbit was a trilogy; we won’t have shots of Gordon Freeman washing dishes for 45 minutes just to fill out some of time.

The Half-Life world is so vast, with such a long-running, progressive storyline that there’s more than enough content available.

Just imagine the first film dealing with the Black Mesa incident – it would have that creepy worldwide disaster feel of Resident Evil and the claustrophobic, isolated scares of Alien.

Cut to the second film, where the world is essentially a post-apocalyptic police state, at war with a ragtag group of rebel fighters trying to overthrow an alien presence.

I’ll be damned if that isn’t cool as hell.

Starring: I’ve always liked Ed Norton for the role of Freeman – although we might have to actually let him speak. Jada Pinkett could probably do Alyx, with Morgan Freeman being the obvious choice for her father, Eli. He’s probably too old for the role now, but I would have loved to have seen a younger Alec Baldwin for a sarcastic Barney Calhoun.

See? Morgan Freeman totally digs science and shit.

See? Morgan Freeman totally digs science and shit.

The Stanley Parable

This one would need to have more of a story fleshed out, but the premise is epic. An office worker wakes up and finds the building deserted, with no memory of the day’s events.

He quickly realises a narrator is commenting on everything he is doing, and that he has become part of some kind of literal and psychological maze he doesn’t understand.  I love it.

I think this would work best as a kind of horror-comedy – there’s something distinctly distressing and ominous about the whole thing, juxtaposed with the cheerful narration and bland, non-threatening environment.

It would take a skilled screenwriter and director to make this come together, but if it could be executed properly I think it would become one of those cult classics people are still talking about years later.

The only proper way to deliver this would be to give away absolutely nothing in the trailer, and have everyone coming in with no idea what it is they’re about to watch.

Starring: I’ve been wrestling with this for a while, and can’t really make up my mind. The protagonist role could literally make or break this film, and I don’t want to suggest someone that isn’t perfect. So I’m asking you, NAG readers, who would you cast for this?

Wolfenstein

I’m really surprised we haven’t seen this one yet, to be honest. Playing The New Order gave me a really good idea of the kind of awesome story that can be woven into this universe, and I’d love to see that translated into film.

The whole Nazis-won-the-War yarn is one we’ve seen spun many times (although admittedly, a lot more in books than movies), but Wolfenstein feels different. There’s something about the way the Nazi technology looks and feels – that combination of advanced engineering with old-school mechanics would translate awesomely into film. Imagine today’s technology rendering cyborg dogs and giant, anachronistic contraptions that are far beyond anything we have today yet at the same time are belching steam and leaking oil and creaking like a rusty hinge.

This is the kind of movie I’d love to see someone like Tarantino handle. Someone like QT could get the dialogue right where it needs to be, combined with the epic plot, ridiculous characters and over-the-top violence that I think characterises the franchise. Done right, it’d be a fantastic two-hour romp.

Starring: I think either Ben Kingsley or John Malkovich could do a great General Deathshead. As for Blaskowicz, I think I’d like a hulking, Sin City-esque Mickey Rourke or possibly a beefed up Bruce Willis. Just please don’t cast The Rock.

Like this, but with less hair.

Like this, but with less hair.

Portal

This one would be great even as an indie – I can imagine this being done on a pretty tight budget, although one would have to get creative with the special effects work.

I see this playing out as one of those Skinner box character films like the Saw franchise or The Cube, where people are placed in a particular scenario and the viewer gets to see how it all unfolds.

The puzzles would have to be adapted slightly to work better on-screen – a lot of the things taken from the game are far more interesting to play than they would be to watch – but everybody adores an Indiana Jones-esque traproom that has to be navigated out of.

The screenwriter here would be critical – what really made Portal was obviously GlaDOS’s narrative, and if that isn’t executed perfectly the movie would likely fall a bit flat. Ripping all of that straight from the game -would be a little uninspired, but the writer would have to nail that perfect balance of terrifying shit-your-pants nightmare fuel and hilarious sarcasm.

Because really, underneath all that cake-is-a-lie sardonic banter, GlaDOS was utterly terrifying. The film can’t lose that.

Starring: Another tough one. I think for the movie the character needs a little more depth than the standard female action star. Perhaps someone like Emily Blunt? I’m not sure. Help me out here, NAG readers.