Is the Game Ever Better than the Movie?
“I really want to finish the book before I go see the movie” is a common response we hear when we ask friends to go see a new movie based on a novel. The movie theatres in the late 90s and 2000s were bombarded with countless movies which had their debut in the pages of books!
Major franchises such as; Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games and Twilight were all best selling books in North America which made their fair share of profit in the North American box office as well. Children, teenagers and adults were flocking to bookstores to be among the elite movie-goers who could beat their chests walking into the theatre already knowing how the movie will end…and probably spoil it as you are buying a slushie.
Book worms walking out of theatres could make the proclamation that “the book was better than the movie” or “they changed so many things that made the book great!” Those are all perfectly subjective claims that are acceptable after seeing the new Harry Potter Film I suppose. But how many times have you told a friend you can’t watch Rocky because you haven’t played the game yet? Or wanting to jump into Tarzan: Untamed because you loved the 1999 animated Disney classic? Almost resoundingly, video game tie-ins are not held in the same regard we hold books to be, and for good reason. These games are typically cheap throwaways to squeeze as much money as possible out of movie lovers who happen to also own a GameCube.
In the mid 2000s, video games based on movies were being published at an alarming rate and that bubble popped like fresh popcorn at the end of the GameCube and PlayStation 2 generation. The GameCube was home to dozens of movie tie-ins starting on November 18, 2001 with Tarzan: Untamed, all the way to it’s last few days when on June 26, 2007 we saw the release of Pixar’s Ratatouille. Gamers in 2007 were done with going to the movies and digging through the bargain bin at a department store to experience the movie again in a 6 hour sub-par experience.
Based on the licensed games we have seen in the last 13 years, this change to original games seems to be for the better. As much as we love Goldeneye on N64, Spider-Man 2 on Gamecube, giving intellectual properties to developers and publishers to create their own stories based on the subject matter has given us some of the best games of all time. We got the Arkham series instead of a Batman V Superman tie-in, and Knights of the Old Republic instead of a Force Awakens tie-in which would have featured a 7 hour linear experience and a quick-time event dance off.
Unpopular opinion though, the Gameboy Advance movie tie-in games were almost always fun to play on car rides to grandma’s house... Just me? We have a very nostalgic feeling when we find another copy of The Incredibles at the video store. But there is a reason that game is ALWAYS on the shelf for $7.99.
Check out episode 29 of the GameCube Was Cool Podcast to listen to our lookback on all the movie tie-in games from 2001-2002.