Videogame films, they're rubbish aren't they? I can't name a single tie-in that even flirted with the idea of passable. They are rubbish, misguided, turgid affairs where the only resemblance to whatever licensed joystick-twiddler usually boils down to a name and a catchphrase.
And yet they keep on making them. At current count we have over 60 cinematic nightmares with at least 10 in development: one, inexplicably of which, is Angry Birds. If the world didn't decide to end in 2012, surely the Hollywood production of an avian crusade against swine will push it over the edge.
Being a staunch and ardent gamer, I can't help but feel the pangs of betrayal as a videogame character makes it to the big screen. It's not that I'm a massive nerd (of which I undoubtedly am) and squirm with anger when something non-cannon occurs, it's just that they are oh so, oh so, oh so, awful.
Take for instance the first videogame tie-in I ever saw: The Super Mario Bros. Now, being a 90s child, I was down with the Fresh Prince, backwards baseball caps, and Nintendo. I loved it all, from the constant Wayne's World references to telling people to talk to my dirty child hand. But then Mario came.
I write that with faux-foreboding but I actually loved The Super Mario Brothers film. It had dinosaurs, rocket boots, and Dennis Hopper: what else does a child need?
But then viewing at as an adult paints a different picture. Exactly what do dinosaurs, rocket boots, and Dennis Hopper have to do with Mario? Why is King Kooper a middle-aged white man with cornrows? Why is Mario's last name Mario? Why is it set in the dino-future? Why? Why? WHY?
The route-cause of this article in fact has nothing to do with Mario Bros. but instead it has been something collecting in my mind for the last few weeks. Not so long ago, Valve sold the movie rights to Portal while Naughty Dog also gave Nathan Drake up for silver screen quotations.
While I understand the reason for developers to sell movie rights - cash - I don't understand the arrogance that Hollywood still holds. Both Portal and Uncharted are excellent videogame series, both in terms of gameplay and writing. Portal 2 is possibly one of the finest examples of gaming comedy, while Uncharted is the bastard child of George Lucas - but interactive.
And that last word is key. While a film is static, linear, and unchanging, videogames aren't. The reason for a Portal and Uncharted movie is redundant. I can play the characters of both games, mould the world, and actively participate in them, with a film I can just watch and gawp.
Now as technology has advanced, and crucially developers have matured in terms of storytelling, a film tie-in is the absolute definition of pointless. These adaptations can only be infuriating let-downs, given the fact that you can normally run Nate Drake in a wall whenever you feel like it, Nolan North isn't present, and they didn't even try to use Nathan Fillion.
So this is an open letter to developers and publishers: stop selling your videogame movie rights. The medium of videogames is now mature enough to stand on its own, and the slipstream between the joysticks and movie screens should now only run one way. Games can add to a film: films can't add game.