Are videogames remkes of movies?

The journal The Velvet LIght Trap recently released a call for papers for a special issue about remakes. That got me thinking about the recent trend of making videogames based on old movies. Just this year games based on, The Godfather, The Warriors, Jaws, and Scarface have been released — and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

What are these games? Since the call for papers asked for papers about remakes, the question that popped to my head was, “Are these remakes?” In some cases, they are sequels. In other cases they are side stories. Can a story taken from one medium and made in another even be a remake — that is to say, are adaptations different things than remakes? Must a remake be in the same medium as the original? Is a film of Romeo and Juliet a remake?

I’m not sure. Any thoughts?

2 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. Robbie

    I guess you could observe them as two different takes on the same script, particularly in the case of Romeo and Juliet. Both the play and the film present the same script in different ways. Though thinking of the various Star Wars games that have come out, they’ve mainly been successful due to the fact that they work within a canon of other material without appropriating directly from the films. Regardless, I don’t think that the games that are based directly on the films (and vice versa)are particularly good; for instance, by creating a game sequel to Scarface the film is undermined. The purpose of the gangster film is to show it as a tragic destruction of a character, by reviving Tony from his demise at the end of the film turns it from a socially ordered film into a gratutious killfest. I don’t know whether the game will attempt to end with a dramatic death at the finale, but the fact that they resurrect Tony at the start from such a dramatic death in the film means that any future death is immediately called into question. I can’t see a way in which the game can present itself without potentially damaging the credibility of the film. Perhaps it would be better for game designers to be able to rely on original material, rather than appropriate scripts from film texts, but I suppose there would be less financial input for games that aren’t based on “proven” films.

  2. Meredith

    The CFP also mentions sequels and adaptations, so if you wanted to write for the issue you could. (and I think it would be a cool idea) I would be tempted to say that the videogame versions of things like Scarface are more adaptations, since it’s a cross-media event. I would also call movies of Romeo and Juliet adaptations, for the same reasons.

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