Movies are so much more than a couple of hours in the local picturehouse. Spin off media for many popular franchises often pull in more revenue for the studios than the box office haul. Whether its the toy merchandise boom which began in the ’80s, or the comic-book prequels and sequels, popular movies are now jumping off points for audiences to enjoy their favourite characters and stories beyond the big screen.
The rise in online gaming has seen many popular film series make the jump onto the information superhighway. These can be seen as 21st Century iterations of the 8-bit computer game movie tie-ins, in which pixelated versions of our favourites bleeped and blooped across our tiny TV screens. Now it seems there are console and online games for almost every major Hollywood release, with the online casino arena taking particular advantage of audience recognition.
Today we’re going to be looking at some of the most popular movie based online games, and to show you how far into the past games companies are willing to go we’re starting with an old favourite.
This is one of the defining films of the ’90s, making a star of Sharon Stone and opening wide the box office potential of the erotic thriller. Like Scream would do for the horror genre, Basic Instinct pointed the way for many copycat films to follow in the decade before the genre fell out of favour. There is something distinctly adult about the world of Basic Instinct, and this translates well to the dark aesthetic of the online game. As with many of these games, the pull factors are the recoginsable faces from the movie, with Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell being at the forefront of the gameplay. And there’s no surprise that the bonus round features the movie’s most infamous scene.
Another ’90s classic gets the online slots treatment here with Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump providing the basis for this game which has many of the iconic symbols present and correct. The game makers at Cryptologic have even incorporated an action sequence inspired by the film in which prizes are awarded for how far you can make Forrest run on the football field. It’s a neat addition to the feel-good nature of the film-inspired game.
Superman, along with many of his DC stablemates, is a firm favourite in the online gaming scene. Perhaps it is the bold colours, the instantly recognisable suit and cape combo – or just maybe it’s the wish fulfillment element that brings people back to the character time and again. There is a well known online game inspired by the ’70s Superman the Movie, complete with snippets of John Williams’ legendary score, but this example of Playtech’s DC Super Heroes jackpot slots series makes great use of the underrated Zack Snyder film.
There are bonus rounds which centre around the movie’s set pieces, and the graphics are suitably bright and bold.
Finally we move into the horror genre, and a game that was inspired by a film that was one of the most influential of its type. Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity made an astonishing return on its budget, and in doing so it helped to reinvigorate the Found Footage subgenre which remains a draw for audiences and filmmakers today. One of the best things about this online game of the film is how it uses some of the techniques prevalent in the film to great effect. There’s a tense, foreboding score which ratchets up the fear factor, while there’s some crackly static to properly unnerve the player.