These Video Game Movies Don't Actually Suck

By "video game movie", I do not mean movies that were adapted from video games. Oh, no.

Instead, I mean movies that had video games as a plot element. In light of the upcoming French thriller Black Heaven, now is as good a time as any to take a look back at some of the other films that have incorporated video games into their plot. Several of these movies came out during the early 1980s, hoping to capitalise on the then gaming craze.

These might not be the best films, but they are interesting. And that's good enough for me! Let's dive in. Shall we?


Set in a massively multiplayer online game of the same name, Avalon is a live action film from Mamoru Oshii, who directed the landmark anime Ghost in the Shell. Shot in Poland with a Polish cast, the film is a knowing look at online gaming and, for when it was made in 2001, ahead of its time in many ways. And like most Oshii films, Avalon is interesting, but messy.

Cloak & Dagger

Henry Thomas (from E.T.) witness a murder and gets an Atari 5200 video game cartridge from a dying victim. On the cartridge are plans for a bomber plane. This movie is also why I am afraid of old ladies. Big plus is Dabney Coleman. And his mustache.


David Cronenberg? Genius.

The Last Starfighter

When I was six this was the bestest movie ever.


Like The Last Starfighter, Tron was one of the first films to use computer graphics. The film followed an arcade owner (and former computer software employee) as he delved into the game world of...Tron.

War Games

A "master" at computer games, Matthew Broderick finds computer games — one of which inadvertently could start thermonuclear war. Added bonus: Dabney Coleman.

The Wizard

You know it, you love it, The Wizard. Wall-to-wall Nintendo tie-ins, the movie game American viewers a sneak peak at Super Mario Bros. 3. It is basically a very long Nintendo commercial, but I can still remember seeing this in the theatre. And the horrible 1980s clothes I wore.



    Just got eXistenZ after seeing it on late night tv a while ago. Really liked it goes well into the... 'mind-fuck', for lack of a better word, category of movies. Also loved The Thirteenth Floor which isn't on here, not so much about a game as it is a virtual reality world, but I think it still deserves a mention.

    Watched Tron recently too as I've always heard of it but never seen it. Am I the only one that found it a little hard to follow?

    Haha, some of those were terrible. Haven't seen Last Starfighter but looks full of great moments. 'You're gonna crack the record!' and 'Oh my gooooooooooooooooood!'. Oh wait, wrong film.

    And the Wizard was the shiz. That kid with the powerglove was badass.

    The wizard.....a one and a half hour ad for the new mario game coming out.....and the powerglove.

    Heyyyy, Cloak and Dagger!

    I remember watching it as a kid.
    Even recorded it on VHS. ah good times.

    I'm glad Avalon was mentioned. It was the first movie I thought of when reading the article about Black Heaven yesterday. And eXistenZ is one of my favourite movies. I also rented and played the crap out of SMB 3 after watching The Wizard.

    Interesting that "Gamer" didn't make the list, but then, it's only a recent release and not in the era of the others.

    If Kotaku does a "Bad Video Game movies", I'd put 'Subterano' and 'Arcade' up for nomination.

    Am I going insane! eXistenZ was the absolute worst film I have ever seen in my life. The acting was absolutley beyond ridiculous and my dead guinea pig could give a more convincing performace. The film culminated around the torrid touching of the vaginal holes called bioports. It was all too ridiculous when Alegra or whatever her name was said somthing like "Your bioport is exited" and proceeded to feel it erotically.

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