These are eight of our favorite movies that we wish were video games—unusual video games, that is. It’s easy to take Westerns and war films and make them into typical games, but some of these aren’t your usual fare.
I’d love to see any Hayao Miyazaki story as a video game,* but Spirited Away, the tale of a girl trapped in a spirit world, is one of my favorites. The bathhouse makes for an intriguing setting where stealth, puzzles, and minigames—cooking, cleaning, dragon-riding, exploring, etc.—would all fit in thematically. The player might even have to rearrange and build parts of the bathhouse in order to get around.
*Ni No Kuni is a Studio Ghibli film, but Miyazaki himself was not involved.
This one might not strike you as an obvious choice, but Casablanca as a video game would be a great way to explore the history of WWII era Europe and Africa. Players would have to ferry documents and uncover secrets, figure out who to trust and who to avoid, and watch how those relationships are affected by the war.
The Dark Crystal
I’m surprised no one has picked this one up yet—it’s a classic from the early 1980s, with all the trappings of a fantastic video game. The movie stars Jim Henson puppets, which could lend the game a different aesthetic from the norm. This is a fantasy story unlike any other. It would be a great diversion from the usual Orcs vs. Humans games.
The Secret of Kells
This animated film would make an evocative adventure RPG exploring Celtic illuminated manuscript and myth. Players might have to fill in designs and solve puzzles in the art in order to progress.
Josie and the Pussycats
I’d love to see a game that’s a mash-up between relationship sim and Rock Band. You’d have to forge and preserve friendships while rocking out in cute outfits—I would’ve loved playing this in middle school.
This one might seem pretty obvious, but the concept is perfect for co-op play. Two people in the room have to work in conjunction as the double pilots of their giant, customizable mechs, fighting for the freedom and safety of future Earth.
The Land Before Time
A sort of stealth game where baby dinosaurs have to hide and run from the Sharp Tooth while gathering tree stars for themselves and their friends. Your guide would be the memory of your mother, who’d died to protect you—bring tissues.
The toughest thing about making this famous story into a video game would be preserving the emotional elements while playing for strategy. Players would direct seven hero units to keep a town safe from bandits; perhaps the characters’ personal struggles would get in the way of the player’s design, but make for more engaging and empathetic gameplay in the end.
What if your favorite films were made into games? How would you do it? Let us know in the comments!