The Power of Passion: Video Game Cinema

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May 13, 2024

At some point we have all had a pop at cinematic adaptations of video games, whether for deviance from the original, style over substance or a nostalgia for being able to actively play the game. It is true that the critically-panned works far outnumber success stories like The Angry Birds Movie. However, there is more to the passion that drives the opinions on video game films than success or failure.

Regardless of whether video game films are loved or hated, you cannot deny the strength of feeling from fans. These art forms cultivate some of the most passionate and highly engaged audiences around, and this enthusiasm is a rare gift.

The diversity of audience segments that stand under the umbrellas of cinema and gaming are vast so there will always be exceptions, but our indexes frequently highlight the strong shared interests between the two groups. Not only does this explain why video game films get made in the first place, it offers fantastic opportunities to those looking to connect with these audiences in innovative and brand-safe ways.

The relationship between films and games is also far richer and more complicated than just RPG to film-reel adaptations.  Games are made to accompany the release of films, gamers have developed the habits of viewers through watching videos of game play and artists have been riffing off video games and mods for decades.

We have selected five campaigns from the last eighteen months that showcase the different sides and appeals of the relationship between gaming and cinema.



(C) BagoGames / Flickr

Blending the sci-fi premise of a race to save a city from alien invasion with a plot device to allow the characters to be in a real-life video game situation, Pixels perhaps best captured the appeal of experiencing game play outside of the traditional console setting. Live enactments have enjoyed a golden age thanks to the enthusiasm for immersive experiences like Escape Room or Punchdrunk’s work.


Warcraft (C) Universal

Immaculate visual detail characterised the cinematic adaptation of Blizzard Productions’ real-time strategy games.  The fantasy saw human and orc forces struggle for survival in a world that brought beasties and beautiful landscapes from the console to the big screen.

Hardcore Henry                    

(C) BagoGames / Flickr

Not based on a previously published gaming title, Hardcore Henry was shot almost entirely in the first-person perspective using Go-Pros to mimic the point of view of a first-person shooter game. The ingenuity of the cinematography led to a bidding war for the distribution rights at the Toronto Film Festival.

Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages

© 2014 DontSpeakSilent. Licensed under CC-BY.

The eighteenth installment in the franchise’s animated series drew on the Pokémon X and Y games and focused on main character Ash and Pikachu’s adventure with the legendary creature Hoopa. Enjoying cinema releases in Japan and Australia, the film debuted in time for Christmas in the UK and USA.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

(C) Wikimedia Commons

With Alicia Vikander set to take on up the mantle of Lara Croft next year we couldn’t help but look back on our campaign for Rise of the Tomb Raider. The twentieth anniversary celebration of Lara Croft was specially enhanced for the high-quality display options on the Play Station 4, giving tech enthusiasts an opportunity to engage with Tomb Raider in the high definition environment that both cinema and gaming have embraced.