Any of us who grew up in the last few decades can recall being around videogames. Whether it was the old Atari 2600 in the living room, the video arcade at the mall, all the way to the current game systems, video games have permeated our lives. Movie studios have used that as a springboard for a number of films, based on both actual and fictional games. The Abilene Public Library offers a number of these for checkout.
Probably one of the first videogame inspired movies was 1982's Tron. When computer hacker and arcade owner Kevin Flynn hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer, he is digitally broken down into a data stream by a villainous software pirate known as Master Control. He then becomes reconstituted into the internal, 3-D graphical world of computers. It is there that Flynn joins forces with Tron, a heroic security program, to outmaneuver the Master Control Program that holds them captive in the equivalent of a gigantic, infinitely challenging computer game. Jeff Bridges, David Warner, and Bruce Boxleitner star in this movie, whose special effects might look primitive today, but were quite state-of-the-art at the same time. In the sequel Tron: Legacy, Flynn's son goes looking for his father (again played by Bridges) and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.
The Last Starfighter is the story of a videogame whiz named Alex Rogan, who lives in a remote trailer court. He becomes the top player of the Starfighter arcade game. After achieving his best score, he is approached by the game's inventor, Centauri. Stepping into Centauri's vehicle, he discovers that Centauri is an alien who whisks him off to another planet and recruits Alex as a gunner for a galactic defense force. Robert Preston is especially good as Centauri, a character reminiscent of Professor Harold Hill from The Music Man, a role Preston made famous.
A more recent movie inspired by video games is Wreck-It-Ralph from 2012. Ralph longs to be as beloved as his game's perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix. The problem is that Ralph is a Bad Guy who longs to be a hero. So when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun, Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game just to win a medal, but soon wrecks everything, accidentally unleashing a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. The movie not only features appearances by videogame icons like Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong, it also humorously plays with the conventions of videogames both past and present.
We have other titles based on actual videogames, such as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, The Angry Birds Movie, and more. Come check out these titles soon, no quarters necessary!
Article Contributed by Tony Redman, Information Services Librarian