Ross Bonaime, Staff Writer

Video game movies have come a long way. Movies from yesteryear like Super Mario Bros. still seem laughable today. With the release of films like Gamer and the new Bruce Willis project Surrogates, it’s hard to argue that with films like these, video games are bombarding the film industry. The bridge between interactive media and movies are starting to take some interesting cues from each other.

In 1993, Super Mario Bros. became the first movie based on a video game, starting a long line of terrible adaptations including Double Dragon, Max Payne, and Doom. Meanwhile, recent video games have gone for a more cinematic style, putting emphasis on strong storytelling.

Take, for instance, this summer’s surprise hit District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp originally signed on to direct Halo, but when that fell through, he was allowed to direct whatever he wanted. He wisely chose District 9, which opened eyes this summer. Many felt like the film was Blomkamp trying to prove he was capable of directing Halo, and his film felt like a combination of famous games like Halo, Half-Life 2 and Resident Evil 5.

Several large-scale directors have also adapted video games for their next projects. Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy director Gore Verbinski was originally slated to direct the adaptation of the critically-acclaimed Bioshock, but has since passed the project to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, director of 28 Weeks Later.

Next summer, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell will release Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman is lined up to direct the Gears of War movie, and Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi is in talks to direct Warcraft, adapted from the hugely successful PC game.

Interestingly enough, Hollywood appears to understand the importance of video games in media. Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson have all worked on their own video games, and actors are getting involved: Vin Diesel has created his own successful video game company, Tigon Studios.

In recent years, video games have become more cinematic. The upcoming Heavy Rain, a beautifully realistic Playstation 3 game, will attempt to tell a story with all the subtlety and mature themes of a normal movie, slowly closing the gap between movies and games.

The game’s creator David Cage said in an interview for Chief Magazine that his game is “not a game about saving a princess or the world. It’s purely about a father’s love.” Instead of making choices like who to shoot, the player makes everyday choices like whether to spend time with the character’s son or where to go for dinner, in addition to more action-oriented choices.

Even Jimmy Fallon is trying to make video game creators and the games themselves as big as the celebrities he interviews. On Late Night, he recently interviewed Brutal Legend creator Tim Schafer and had an exclusive demo of Microsoft’s newest X-Box technology, Project Natal, helping make audiences more aware of the booming video game medium.

It seems like the synergy between movies and video games is becoming more powerful. Hopefully, this will lead fans to discover the merits of a different type of entertainment then they are used to.