Video games and movies go together like chocolate and regret. Fans of one are intrinsically drawn to the other. But then you have to ask: does that make us predictable and common, or unique and exciting? We’ll go for the latter because it makes us feel better. [This reads like the diary of a madman. I LIKE IT. – Ed.]
We’ve all ridden this dead donkey before. We love a particular video game franchise, so we rush to see it in cinemas when the inevitable film adaptation is released, only to leave disappointed. Tomb Raider and Resident Evil aren’t half bad, but they’re buried under a heap of trashy cash-ins (i.e. anything with Uwe Boll’s name attached to it) and enthusiastic-but-terrible attempts (i.e. anything with the word “Fighter” or “Mortal” in the title) at turning games into movies. Based on a few minutes of research it seems that every ten years or so Hollywood dips a toe in the video game pond and as a result a few new movies pop into existence. Now with Warcraft coming in 2016, it looks like the cycle is starting up again. We’ll just pretend Pixels – which was fun but felt a little trite and tired – never happened. So that sets the scene.
Like them or not, there’s one video game-related movie that is making its way to us in 2017 to which you should pay attention. Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg’s next project after completing his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG is set to make fans of Ernest Cline’s novels mighty happy. Spielberg is directing Ready Player One (adapted from Cline’s bestselling novel of the same name), which is due for release in 2017 – more specifically 15 December 2017.
For those who’ve not read it, the book feels as though it was written by a gamer and does an excellent job of presenting a dystopian future where everyone that can be is plugged into the many virtual worlds of OASIS. The book is packed with gaming references and ’80s pop culture that should have most of you cracking a smile here and there. The story goes that the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, left an Easter egg in this virtual world as a challenge to its players: anyone who finds the egg will inherit Halliday’s sizable estate and take control of the whole of OASIS.
The story bleeds in and out of the virtual world, and delves into the personal relationships of Parzival (real name Wade Watts), a “gunter” (egg hunter) who is – like many millions of other players – trying to find the egg. Things get real when Wade meets a girl, successfully finds the first key to the prize, people die, and he falls in love. We’ll leave it there, but it’s definitely worth reading if you’re a fan of gaming. The movie is being scripted by Zak Penn, who has worked on films like The Avengers and X-Men: The Last Stand. There’s a writing credit for Ernest Cline in there too, so fans can rest easy.
If you haven’t read the book, then get cracking. It’s not too long so slow readers should be done by 2017. If you have read it then you might want to pick up Cline’s latest book, Armada.