originals\ Jan 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

2011 film awards contenders -- How would they be as video games?


There are few things I love more in this world besides video games and Batman, but one of those things is movies.  Unfortunately, movies and video games have always had a rocky relationship, as Hollywood churns out crappy movie tie-in game after crappy movie tie-in game.  But I ask you this:  Is the problem the games, or the movies that we are making them out of?  So I thought I would turn to the movies from this year that are getting awards buzz and topping Top Ten lists.  Surely these films, as the best of the year, will make the best games, right? 

DISCLAIMER:  I have not seen all of these, but as an online film and video-game writer, I still feel fully qualified to talk about them.

The Tree of Life

the tree of life

What’s it about?

The Tree of Life is director Terrence Malick’s meditation on life, the universe, and everything.  It apparently contrasts one small town family’s struggle with the very beginnings of existence.  I haven’t seen it, but I hear it’s gorgeous, and that Brad Pitt is great as a strict dad (as opposed to in real life, where I sort of imagine he and Angelina playing catch with their various African babies.  As the balls, not as partcipants). Also, it has dinosaurs in it. 

Would it make a good game?


Didn’t you hear me?  It has DINOSAURS IN IT.  You would play as Brad Pitt, roaming the Prehistoric landscape, fighting dinosaurs and neglecting your children.  Sounds like a hit to me. 

War Horse

war horse

What’s it about?

Stephen Spielberg’s latest epic is about a horse in World War One.  You couldn’t tell that from the title? 

Would it make a good game?

Dude.  It’s called ‘War Horse.’  As you fight your way through campaigns, you would get to buy upgrades for your horse, decking him out with flame throwers, machine guns, and why not, lightsabers.  My horse would be named Sir Neighthan Trotsalot: Bringer of Death.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure this would be the best game EVER.

wierd computer robot horse

The Descendants

the descendants

What’s it about?

George Clooney plays a Hawaiian dad who has to take care of his daughters when their mom goes into one of the best comas I’ve ever seen.  Also, there’s some stuff about him having to sell land he owns.  There’s a lot of cutesy dialogue, emotional speeches, and long shots of George Clooney running in flip flops.

Would it make a good game?

The movie is pretty dialogue heavy, but that hasn’t stopped games like Mass Effect. However, in this game, all of the options make you sound like a self-absorbed douche.  Also, there would be two meters:  An ‘Ancestor Meter’ that increases the more Hawaiian you act, and a ‘Flip Flop meter.’  You fall over when it runs out.


drive movie poster

What’s it about?

Ryan Gosling plays a quiet, possibly mentally challenged stunt driver and getaway guy who gets involved in the shady dealings of a Jewish mobster when he falls in love with Carrie Mulligan.  And really, who can blame him? 

Would it make a good game?

The movie has some awesome car chases, which would actually translate pretty well to a game.  Also, you would get to interrogate dudes by hitting them with a hammer, and let’s not forget the bonus round, where you earn points by stomping in as many dude’s faces as you can in as short a time as possible.  Every dialogue option is ‘Stare longingly at Carrie Mulligan.’ 

carrie mulligan



What’s it about?

The hit comedy starring Kristen Wiig is about a woman who freaks out and spirals into despair after being asked to be the Maid of Honor at her best friend’s wedding.  The rare, raunchy comedy that is actually getting awards consideration, it features a scene where everyone throws up on each other, and then one of the main characters poops in the street.  It’s really good.

Would it make a good game?

It could be, like, a really screwed-up wedding simulator.  You’ve been asked to help organize a friend’s wedding, but people keep throwing up on you.  Also, you need to get your personal life in order and organize the wedding before your ‘Mid-Life Crisis Meter’ fills up.

kristen wiig snl

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

tinker tailor soldier spy movie poster

What’s it about?

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley (seriously), an aging spy asked to ferret out a mole in british intelligence.  I know that because this is a spy movie; it sounds exciting, but it’s mostly a bunch of old British dudes staring intensely at each other in dimly lit rooms.  It’s pretty good though.

Would it make a good game?

Actually, yeah, probably.  It wouldn’t be your traditional spy game, but there would be plenty of cool sneaking sequences, and tense battles of wits between extremely British spies.  It would be all about piecing together the clues and bringing down the mole.  And once you beat the game, you can play it all over again, but with a rocket launcher.

the fifth element


moneyball poster brad pitt

What’s it about?

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill do some math, and it has something to do with baseball.  Jonah Hill turns out to be a good actor, and Brad Pitt has epiphanies while silently driving around in his car for long stretches at a time. 

Would it make a good game?

People love sports games.  And people, uh, love math games.

math blaster

So you play as both the baseball team, and as Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, solving mathematical equations while playing America’s Favorite Pastime.  (Wait, you mean math isn’t America’s favorite pastime?  What about eating burgers?  Are you sure it’s not eating burgers?)


shame movie poster

What’s it about?

Shame is the harrowing story of a sex addict whose sister comes to stay with him while he struggles with his addiction.  Michael Fassbender gives the performance of the year as a guy who screws a lot of people, but doesn’t ever enjoy it.  And Carrie Mulligan gets naked.  Good thing Ryan Gosling isn’t there to see. 

Would it make a good game?

I don’t know if ‘good’ is the word, but it would certainly be original.  I’m picturing an open sandbox of New York, where you walk around doing your best not to have sex with people.  The game throws hot girl after hot girl at you, but if you succumb and your ‘Sex Addict Meter’ goes up, then Carrie Mulligan puts her clothes back on, and everyone loses.

carrie mulligan

About The Author
Eric Zipper Eric Zipper is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. When he's not making you laugh, playing video games, or watching movies, he's probably sleeping. Follow him on Twitter @erzip
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