Video games with Oscar: 15 games based on a movie with a statuette

Video games with Oscar: 15 games based on a movie with a statuette

The 93rd edition of the Oscar Awards will take place this Sunday, April 25 (early Sunday, April 25 to Monday, April 26 in Spain), but it will not be done as traditionally at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California, but in a different way. Due to the health crisis of COVID-19, the organization issued a statement to indicate that it will finally be held in a courtyard of the Union Station rail center in Los Angeles. On the other hand, some of the additional acts will take place at Dolby, one of the most mediatic places in the United States and which is also the stage where some of the most unforgettable moments of E3 in the video game industry have taken place. Movies and video games have a lot in common; not only because they are two forms of audiovisual cultural expression, but also because an extremely close relationship has existed between the two for years.

There are not a few video game studios and great creatives who have acknowledged having used all kinds of films to design their works; as well as well-known actors who have participated in interactive entertainment developments to lend their voice, movements or knowledge.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood will choose this Sunday the winning film of what in video games we understand as GOTY; although there are multiple categories. Starting at 5:00 p.m. Los Angeles time (2:00 a.m. from Sunday to Monday in Spain) we will know which film wins the most statuettes, including Best Film. In the absence of knowing if The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Woman, Sound of Metal or The Trial of the Chicago win any prize (or how many), we review today at FreeGameTips those video games based on winning movies of an Oscar Award; a selection of fifteen names with a great feature film behind it.

We'll leave out big names, including the long list of PIXAR films that have combined in both sectors; as well as Back to the Future, Rocky or The Golden Compass. Not surprisingly, here is our list.

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather are big words. Francis Ford Coppola directed in 1972 one of the most important productions with an adapted script in the medium. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino dazzled on screen, although he was the first to win the Oscar —which he rejected because he was against the treatment of the Indian people in Hollywood—. In total, three awards including best film and best adapted screenplay.

But what about video games? Beyond a PC adaptation simply called Godfather in 1981, it wasn't until 2006 that an officially licensed video game based on The Godfather was released. EA Redwood Shores (dissolved in 2017) would take over the job, a production between Electronic Arts and Paramount Pictures for PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and PSP.

On paper, the approach was attractive to the Anglo-Saxon public as it had a luxury cast that would lend their voices for the video game: Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, James Caan as Sonny Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen and Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Tessio. Only Al Pacino failed. At the marketing level, the game had the approval of Mark Winegardner, author of the novel The Godfather Returns.

Although today the memory is already somewhat diffuse, the promotion of this video game was very powerful. In fact, EA hyped it up by incorporating the MobFace program, which allowed all sorts of physical and cosmetic traits to be created with a mobster creation tool.

Although he drank from games like Mafia and Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto saga, the result was a remarkable title, halfway between what he would have liked it to be and what it finally ended up being. Not surprisingly, this recreation of the New York spirit from 1945 to 1955 continues to be defended by many.

Star Wars—Original Trilogy (1977-1982)

The original Star Wars trilogy in the world of cinema is also the most famous for many fans; not only because of nostalgia or for being the one that spawned the phenomenon, but because of many other things. Among them, the recognition of the Academy, which considered at the time that Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) should have 12 nominations. George Lucas's film won 7 statuettes, many of them technical awards.

Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1978), did the same with a total of 4 nominations and two wins at the corresponding gala; again, special effects and sound. Finally, in Episode VI he closed the original trilogy with Return of the Jedi (1982) in nominations where only one of them, Best Special Effects, allowed the Lucas universe to say goodbye —temporarily— to the big screen.

The video game world has been a participant in this recognition through a multitude of video games. A lots of. However, and as paradoxical as it may seem, it has been LEGO who has respected this trident of tapes more specifically.

In its day, yes, we had the video game corresponding to each tape. To begin with, between 1983 and 1988 the epic arcade machines received an adaptation of Star Wars; although machines like the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit family, ColecoVision, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Apple II, DOS, Macintosh and Amiga also had a sleeve with that name . In Nintendo territory, Star Wars (1987) and Super Star Wars (1982) were the shock for NES and SNES players, respectively.

In current times, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (2006) for PC, Mac, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and GameCube is the most recommended and accessible option to breathe that universe back into our homes.

Star Trek (1979)

Star Trek counts, until now, with a total of thirteen films; of which six correspond to the original series, four to the new generation and three to the reboot timeline, directed by JJ Abrams and Justin Lin. The first of these, Star Trek: The Movie, was released in December 1979 with Robert Wise directing. More than two hours long for a tape that would open a trip to the stars that lasts to this day. Wise's USS Enterprise was awarded an Oscar for Best Director plus two other statuettes.

How could it be otherwise, Star Trek was a commercial gold mine for other sectors such as video games, of which there is evidence of more than 25 titles on all types of platforms and with a multitude of genres; to highlight, the strategy and the simulation adventure.

If we move away from the games released within the canon of the series, the first official video game that took the first 1979 film as a reference was produced by Milton Bradley for Microvision. This shoot 'em up coincided with the premiere of the film and was, in essence, a martian killer. Interestingly, various licensing issues led the game to lose the Star Trek name and remain simply Phaser Strike; in other countries it radically changed its nomenclature, such as Shooting Star in the United Kingdom.

Alien: The Eighth Passenger (1979)

Once again, on the eve of the beginning of the 1980s, a film where aliens and the interspace theme would embrace theaters would hit theaters. Ridley Scott would make it clear that his work as director was no joke, and that British cinema was going to give a lot to talk about in the coming years. The historical importance of Alien is superlative; even in film schools. At present, products derived from this name continue to be launched, video games in between.

At the Oscar Awards the recognition for best visual effects was his main award, but in other contests his awards were more. We could do a separate report only on titles based on the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. universe. Predator, but we keep that idea in the drawer for another time. This time, we will focus on the titles that were based on the movie. The first of them, in 1982, three years after the premiere of the film that spawned all this phenomenon.

It was in the Atari 2600, like many others, the system chosen for the work of Fox Video Games to take shape. A Pac-Man-style puzzle title where the player controls a human who must collect all kinds of eggs while dodging alien monsters. From then on, games on the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Amstrad... So up to the current home consoles, and canceled games, which were also there. Alien: Isolation, from Creative Assembly, is the last great video game released around the franchise, with a Predator: Hunting Grounds that is expected to be released this year 2020.

Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Surely it is no coincidence that the name of Steven Spielberg appears several times in this report. Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first film (within the canonical line) of this George Lucas production, considered by multiple magazines as one of the best films of all time and, undoubtedly, one of the most influential. Harrison Ford became an international hero and, to a greater or lesser extent, the young people of the time began to feel a special interest in archaeology.

Of the nine nominations he received at the Oscar Awards, the Academy awarded him five of them. This time there was no luck for John Williams in terms of best original song, but the Oscars for Best Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound and Art Direction. The thorn in the side for Spielberg was the statuette for best director, but the legacy that this name had in the universe of marketing was massive.

From books to other television adaptations and video games, where we have to highlight the one that was specifically based on this film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, released just a year later, in 1982, for Atari 2600. The title, designed by Howard Scott Warshaw (which also programmed the ET game), included puzzles and mysteries, enough to get rid of the fierce criticism that the alien video game would receive just a month later.

Beyond this, Indiana Jones has had many video games, including adaptations to the LEGO universe. The latest one, Indiana Jones Adventure World, curiously launched on Facebook. There have been many requests for new games based on the saga; we may have surprises in the next generation.

ET, the extraterrestrial (1982)

Talking about ET is making it the highest grossing movie in history at that time. Those born in the eighties will remember this as one of the most impressive first science fiction films for what it meant and for the importance it would have in the medium immediately. Steven Spielberg, aware of the potential of this idea of ​​an imaginary friend, materialized a personal idea in an extraordinary film, in the literal sense of the word.

The 55th Academy Awards ceremony wanted to recognize that work with even the award for Best Picture, which Gandhi would end up winning, but that did not prevent John Williams from receiving his corresponding statuette for Best Soundtrack. Williams was accompanied by the sound team with the Oscar for best sound, best sound editing and best visual effects.

The ET video game at Atari is the best known and most emblematic; not so much for its quality but for the story behind the title. 1982 is the date on which a title that we could describe as strange was launched, where the player had to lend a hand to the protagonist to find three parts of a telephone hidden in a forest. Although the North American giant expected the game to be a success because of the name behind it, reality hit this mediocre recreation hard and the result was a failure both in sales and in critics; to the point that Atari's financial situation was delicate in that fiscal year.

In summary, the number of accumulated units -and with no view of being shipped in the western market- was such that Atari decided to get rid of them in the most discreet and silent way possible. They could have burned them, but those thousands of never-sold cartridges were buried in a desert in the state of New Mexico.

We would have to wait until 2014 when an excavation team managed to find remaining original units of said cartridges… which would now be sold for gold. (The country)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

We travel to 1984, this time James Cameron, another tall man in these conflicts. This film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, took us to a not so distant year 2029, a photograph that presented a society governed by artificial intelligence, Skynet, whose war with human resistance was hanging by a thread. All or nothing. The impact was massive, but it was the second part that really made a dent in the great annual event of the cinematographic world.

Terminator 2: The Last Judgment, was much longer than the first part, a sequel released in 1991 where plot arcs were closed and others were opened, which would continue in the third part released in 2003. It was here that the international awards fell easily , to the point that the android T-800 CSM-101 received four Oscar Awards: best visual effects, sound, makeup and sound editing. Only photography and montage escaped him

That year, 1991, the video game Terminator 2: The Last Judgment, which shared a nomenclature with the film as it was entirely based on it, would also reach arcade machines. Production was handled by the Midway Manufacturing Company and allowed up to two people to play at the same time on the cabinet. There would also be a version adapted for SNES and Mega Drive in 1993, a cartridge that is now quite valued if you look for it with a box in good condition.

The problem is that the game, according to those who could play it at the time, was clearly a bad version, without the essence of the film or gameplay consistent with a video game of the time. Adaptations of a successful movie didn't always go well; not everything goes This time, unfortunately, no luck.

Jurassic Park / Jurassic Park (1993)

The original Jurassic Park movie is today one of those films that is studied in any type of higher education related to the cinematographic arts. Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Williams... Names that made a movie an entertainment franchise capable of anything and that continues to this day. Because beyond this first one and its sequels in 1997 and 2001, that fourteen-year jump to the reboot of the series and The Fallen Kingdom in 2018 make up a saga with books, toys, merchandising and video games everywhere.

His influence on popular culture, as well as on the cinema itself thanks to his system of animal recreation through the CDI, were later a mirror in which others would look. In addition, it delighted the critics and the Academy, which wanted to celebrate this success with a total of three awards for technical and sound work.

If we focus on the video game adaptations published at that time, in 1993, we see that Ocean Software was officially commissioned to handle a total of three different versions: NES, Game Boy and PC. For its part, SEGA did the same with a video game for Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear. While the Nintendo console version focused more on being a top-down action adventure, the SEGA version stuck to the two-dimensional platform genre. A year later, in 1994, SEGA finished supplying the coverage of this film with a point and click title for Mega CD and a shooter on rails for arcade machines.

Matrix (1999)

The first Matrix movie was also a before and after in science fiction; just at a time when technological changes and the turn of the millennium were shaking hands with the eternal promises we heard in the nineties about a society magnetized by technology. The trilogy of the Wachowski sisters with Keanu Reeves as the protagonist raised many questions in the behavior of the human being and devised a fictional universe that quickly began to attract the attention of other popular culture media.

The criticism of the first film was almost unanimous: a great film. The 1999 Oscar Awards featured Matrix in the technical awards, with a prize for Best Editing, Sound, Sound Editing and Visual Effects. For the most fans of the saga, Warner Bros. announced last December that we will have Matrix 4 in theaters next year 2021; although there are no concrete details about the possible participation of the original actors.

Reeves is one of those video game buff actors. His participation in Cyberpunk 2077 with the role of secondary protagonist is serving to attract the attention of people who, perhaps, would not have noticed the existence of the CD Projekt title.

Shiny Entertainment's Enter the Matrix was distributed by Warner Bros. as publisher in the Western market. The title, designed by David Perry (Earthworm Jim), launched in May 2003 as an action-adventure based on the film's universe; specifically, between the events of The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded. He told an alternative story that did not make much headway in the press, although as the first of several video games, for PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube players it served to calm the desire for more Matrix in the cinema.

Shrek (2001)

Although for two decades it has been more than common to see video games based on animated films, with special attention from Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, the truth is that everything has several turning points. If in the SNES and Mega Drive epics we had names like Aladdin and The Lion King, among many others, at the turn of the century it was Shrek, by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, who hit the table not only with recognition of the international public but also by the Academy.

It was that year, at the 74th Academy Awards ceremony in 2001, when a category dedicated exclusively to animated films was introduced for the first time in history. There were several candidates to raise that worthy statuette, but it was Shrek who received that recognition and who definitively seduced those most responsible for that recognition. 90 minutes of a film full of adventures, humor and fantasy, elements easily transferable to the world of interactive entertainment.

Thus, the production of Aron Warner would also be taken to the video game world in an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft, since the video game itself based on this film was only released on the first Xbox back in 2001... on the occasion of its launch. The window display was powerful for a newcomer. The Redmond company opened a gap in the world of hardware to compete with SEGA, Nintendo and PlayStation; and one of its third party assets was this Shrek title.

This exclusive status was short-lived, however. The DICE game, published by TDK Interactive, would arrive in Europe in 2002, while at the end of that same year the GameCube would receive an improved and expanded version under the name of Shrek Extra Large. In Europe, we had to wait until the end of 2003. The result of this platform game, unfortunately for those who trusted the cover at the time, was somewhat disastrous, with reviews full of suspense or ratings that did not exceed 5 out of 10 .

These reasons were not an impediment to the launch of a total of three spin-offs based on this first film. We haven't mentioned Nintendo handhelds yet, but that was mainly because TDK had a Game Boy Advance exclusive karting game in the works, Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway. Sony, which had also been left out of the initial equation where there was only room for Microsoft, would have to settle for Shrek: Treasure Hunt, a mini-game title with one of the lowest scores in recent years.

The Lord of the Rings — Trilogy (2001-2003)

The film trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, based on the homonymous novel by JRR Tolkien, made those original 557 minutes with a gross of 2,917,000,000 dollars raised to become one of the most successful fiction creations of all time. Peter Jackson is one of those most responsible for that success, an eight-year project that, of course, had its corresponding video game adaptation in various ways; even today, with adaptations derived from that universe.

In total, seventeen Oscar Awards where the third part took the biggest role imaginable. If The Fellowship of the Ring won four statuettes and The Two Towers honored his name with a couple of awards, The Return of the King broke everything and returned to each with eleven Oscar Awards. An outrage where he won all the categories in which he was nominated.

Moving on to video games, the adaptations of the Middle-earth universe have had multiple interested publishers: Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Vivendi Games... It was from 2001 to 2003 when the flame was rekindled based on video games where EA was Who got the movie licence? Vivendi Games, meanwhile, got the power to produce games, but based on the Tolkien Enterprises books.

To highlight, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, from EA, where the events of the two films to date were narrated with an adventure with hack and slash gameplay. The title was released on PS2, Xbox, GameCube and GBA in 2002 under the development of Stormfront Studios, a team sadly dissolved in 2008 after not being able to cope with the economic vicissitudes of the moment. It was a small studio, with about thirty people, but experts in receiving commissions for video games based on movies.

King Kong (2005)

Peter Jackson again. This adaptation of the 1933 classic wanted to reinterpret the concept of remake to redefine it as reboot: take a phenomenon of yesteryear and reconvert it with a few changes. The result was, at least critically, an unmitigated success. With Naomi Watts as the main protagonist and 187 minutes of footage (200 if we count the extended version), this film caught the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood from the start. It didn't get any nominations for Best Performance, Directing or Outstanding Picture, but its sound, visual effects and sound editing were highly convincing. A film of those that are enjoyed in the cinema for what you see, for what you hear and for what was broadcast at all times.

That description fits, also with little room for doubt, in the video game sector. Peter Jackson's King Kong is the name chosen to transfer this feature film to the electronic entertainment sector with a title released in the middle of the Christmas period, when the big names went on sale. He caught at the end of that generation and did it with a Ubisoft willing to turn everything upside down: there was going to be a version for absolutely all systems.

While the Montpellier division was going to take care of the PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and GameCube version, from Ubisoft Casablanca they would do the same on NDS, while Phoenix Games Studio would do it on PSP. The most remarkable thing about the game is that it was directed and designed by Michel Ancel, father of Rayman, which aroused the interest of fans of said character. An action adventure without much fanfare, although with a very positive review; unusually positive. That 82 out of 100 on Metacritic for the home console version testifies that it was successful in concept and execution, a video game that, even today, continues to transmit some of the magic that permeated those who once had the opportunity to play it. fifteen years younger than now.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

2003 was the year in which the Pirates of the Caribbean universe became an indelible reality in the memory of thousands of young (and not so young) fans of the Walt Disney factory. An idea inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at the Disneyland theme parks that, at the hands of Gore Verbinski, materialized into a resounding box office success. It was not until the second part, however, that it was recognized by the Film Academy with an Oscar.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) received four nominations, with the award for Best Visual Effects going to the team of John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel and Charles Gibson. It would thus set a precedent rarely seen by being an award-winning film for the younger audience without the need to incur animation, a field clearly dominated even today by Pixar.

His video game, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, was commissioned by Buena Vista Games for Griptonite Games and Amaze Entertainment for GameBoy Advance, Nintendo Ds and PSP. Without fear of being wrong, it was one of the most frequently chosen gifts in that hot summer of 2006 for the holidays; a game that, despite its lackluster reviews, brought with it a few hours of entertainment as we took on the role of Jack Sparrow in a light-hearted action adventure.

Avatar (2009)

The universe of science fiction has had dozens of contenders in the cinema who are candidates to seal their name in the history of the seventh art. It has not always been recognized by the Academy in the way that many critics would have liked, but Avatar, known in Spain as Avatar, by James Cameron, not only broke all kinds of historical records at the box office by being the first film to exceed 2,000 million dollars in revenue (leadership snatched by Avengers: Endgame in 2019) but by making those plastic glasses that simulate 3D have a grace period both in movie theaters and in our homes.

The 81st edition of the Oscars wanted Avatar to be a candidate for nine statuettes, of which he won three, all of them technical. James Cameron was left without a prize, although he took home a record that few would have imagined.

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game was the direct adaptation of that phenomenon with the Dunia Engine in a third person action adventure. Ubisoft had great commercial anticipation and knew how to see the potential of this production, so it delegated Ubisoft Montreal to take charge of a game that would have a version on practically all existing consoles at the time: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, PSP , Nintendo DS and even iOS devices, where an emerging iPhone was beginning to warn that it was also a viable option for video game development. As far as is known, the game managed to sell 2.7 million units, more than many current successful video games under the AAA category.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

George Miller did not expect to be nominated for ten Oscars, but at the 88th Oscars held in 2016, the production of Doug Mitchell and Miller himself hit the table by making a post-apocalyptic film with tires, sand, action and blood won no less than six statuettes, including practically all the prizes related to the technical part. Its 90 in Metacritic left the Warner Bros. film as one of the best valued films of the time, despite the fact that when it became known that Charlize Theron was going to be the protagonist, not everyone saw that it fit a role that, finally and according to the review, it overflowed.

The video game sector could not stay without an adaptation of this phenomenon at the box office; essentially because it is such an easily adaptable and malleable concept for the average adult audience that enjoys having a controller in their hands.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment also had an opportunity to capitalize on the rise of open-world video games in what was then an emerging new generation. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One began to carburete and the public was receptive. Instead of making a 1:1 title based on the film, as had been done in the previous five years, WB chose to trust Avalanche Studios, the Swedish studio responsible for Just Cause, so that the name of Mad Max would be one of the big names of those Christmases. This is the short story, but the long story includes the pre-production of two other Mad Max video games developed by Cory Barlog (God of War) and Interplay Entertainment, respectively. The result was a double cancellation for different reasons.

Thus, the only one that saw the light was this action adventure that we rated at the time with a 7.8 on FreeGameTips. With an excellent recreation of the Páramo, storms and an excessive viscerality, the driving of the game and its strategy system ended up convincing in the playable plane. Its story and main quest design failed, denying the game an even higher rating. Over time, the community fondly remembers a game that fortunately did not tarnish the brilliant impact of the movie.