Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Miranne Khaled   Miranne Khaled  

Great stories have an enthralling effect on one’s mind and heart. Whether it’s books or movies, you can develop an emotional attachment to some characters, unable to let go. However, there are many great stories that only a few groups of people knew of, adventurous gamers. Video games can also offer engaging stories and lovable characters. 

Little did many people know that books weren’t the only inspiration for great movie hits but also video games. Interestingly, great filmmakers took the initiative and bought the copyrights of many excellent, unmissable video games and brought it to the big screen or the small ones. Here’s a fascinating list of incredible movies you may not know were initially video games unless you’re a true gamer:

1. The Last of Us (2023)

HBO has recently released its latest hit, The Last of Us. This series is adapted from one of PS’s most popular games with the same name. The game was initially released in 2013 by Naughty Dog developers for PlayStation 3 and 4, earning immense popularity among gamers around the world. Upon its great success, another part was released in 2020. 

The characters and storyline have had a significant impact on viewers. It’s an action-adventure game narrating the story of a smuggler ordered to escort a teenage girl unscathed in a demolished world following an apocalypse. Turning this story into a series drama wasn’t only successful, but the show has already been renewed for a second season, adapting the second game’s events.

2. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

Super Mario is a fictional character that is popular among all generations. Even more, people love this character for nothing more than its simplicity and the nostalgia that comes along with this red and blue attire. Little do people know that Super Mario was initially a video game released in the 80s called Donkey Kong. 

Later, the character and its basic storyline were likeable and popular enough to be made into several movies. The first Mario live-action movie was released in 1993, titled Super Mario Bros., featuring our beloved plumbers, Mario and Luigi, going on grand adventures. 

Thirty years later, this story and characters are still famous, and a brand new animated movie will be released this year. The voiceovers are some of our all-time favourite stars, including Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi, and the Queen Gambit’s star, Anya Taylor-Joy, as Princess Peach.

3. Uncharted (2022)

Uncharted is one of the most popular and successful video game series ever. The franchise started as a PlayStation 3 game released in 2007, with the title Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Naughty Dog was the game developer in collaboration with famous video games publisher Sony Computer Entertainment. 

In 2018, a short live-action fan film was released based on the adventure game starring Nathan Fillion and Stephen Lang. However, a hit movie was released in 2022, adapting the first part of the Uncharted game. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan and our youngest Spider-Man hero, Tom Holland, as Nathan Drake. 

4. Werewolves Within (2021)

Werewolves Within is a comedy horror movie released in 2021, starring Milana Vayntrub, Sam Richardson, Anni Krueger, and Harvey Guillen. The story follows the lives of town residents whom a snowstorm unexpectedly ambushes, trapping them in a local inn. Meanwhile, a bewildering monster is roaming, causing great terror and fear. 

The movie is based on a 2016 video game developed by Red Storm Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. It was released for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows, but it requires PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift to play the game, offering a great VR experience for all sorts of gamers.

5. Monster Hunter (2020)

Released in 2020, Monster Hunter was one of the greatest action-adventure movies. The film was a captivating story about a group of soldiers with a leading female Captain, Natalie Artemis, existing in a world that monsters and humans share. Living in a fight-or-flight mode, they’re keeping an eye open for potential dangers. Things change when a mysterious hunter assists in letting them escape the danger. 

The movie stars Tony Jaa, Milla Jovovich, and Ron Perlman. Interestingly, the movie is adapted from the 2004 video game Monster Hunter, released for PlayStation 2. It became a franchise series, where different parts of the game dropped over the years for various video game platforms, engrossing millions upon its release. 

6. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic is synonymous with Sega, one of the oldest video games ever released for the Sega Genesis in 1991. Sonic Team was the game developer, and Sega was the game’s publisher, associating the game with the brand. The Japanese-based game gained great popularity among early gamers, depending on basic adventure schemes, including collecting gold rings and avoiding touching enemies. 

The fictional character became recognised among players, and several game versions were released on different platforms. In recent years, a film series has been produced based on the video game, with the title Sonic The Hedgehog. The film stars several actors, including Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Idris Elba, and Tika Sumpter.

7. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

The Pokémon world is a Japanese franchise that came to life in 1996, starting as a video game. It was published by Nintendo, developed by Game Freak, and released for the original Game Boy. A Pokémon anime began airing in Japan in 1997, gaining immense popularity. Later on, the franchise got a famous trading card game and became widely spread.

In 2019, a new movie about the famous character Pikachu dropped in cinemas, offering a brand new storyline that doesn’t take place in the Pokemon world. It’s a mystery film with a comic twist, focusing on Pikachu as a brilliant detective solving the mysterious disappearance of Harry Goodman. Ryan Reynolds voiced the main character, and the movie involved other famous stars like Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, and Rita Ora.

8. Assassin’s Creed (2016)

When action meets science fiction, we get a captivating story that you can’t help but get hooked on. Assassin’s Creed was one of Michael Fassbender’s movies that grossed millions upon its release. Although many people enjoyed the movie, hardcore gamers professed that the video game had a more positive reception. 

The movie was based on the video game franchise, with the first part of the series released in 2007 for PlayStation 3. This story was much more successful as a video game than a movie, and it got several sequels, with the latest one released in 2020. Moreover, Ubisoft developer announced the release of a new game in 2023, entitled Assassin’s Creed: Mirage.

9. Warcraft (2016)

Fantasy is vital in offering gripping storytelling in either video games or movies. Warcraft was among the fantasy films that started as a 1994 game featuring a world where humans and orcs co-exist. Turning into a global franchise, the game kept getting sequels throughout the years, with the latest one released in 2020 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox consoles.

The video game was then adapted into a movie with the same name and released in 2016, starring Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, and Paula Patton. Again, despite its success, the video game was more well-received than the movie, especially among gamers. Yet, the story was still whimsical and exciting, featuring mythical human-like creatures, especially to those unfamiliar with the franchise. 

10. The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

The Angry Birds Movie was a massive hit among animation lovers and got a new part. This adventure animated film was initially a video game released in 2009 with a simple casual story that involved wingless birds in an endless fight with the piggies. Despite the silliness of the idea, the game was received positively and was almost on every smartphone. 

The story was adapted into an animated film released in 2016, with a second movie released in 2019. It narrates the story of three outcast birds living on an island of flightless birds; they use slingshots to take down the invading green pigs and save their community. It’s appropriate for all family members and suitable for good laughter. 

11. Need for Speed (NFS) (2017)

Need for Speed is a real thrill for racers and car lovers. The franchise has always been an enormous success as a video game, with the first game of the series released in 1994 for the original PlayStation. The video game revolved around a group of racers, causing shenanigans across the streets and escaping being caught by the police. 

In 2003, the first film adaptation was released, followed by several sequels, turning the movies into an action-racing saga, rivalling the Fast and Furious series. The story was all the same as the video game, with the addition of a plot twist to complement the storyline.

12. Max Payne (2008)

Max Payne is the name of the game’s protagonist, a former detective whose drug addicts killed his family, leading him to become a vigilante. Such a captivating story with a neo-noir genre was a massive leap in the early period of video games. The game was developed by Rockstar Games and Remedy Entertainment and involved a third-person shooter.

The game was first released in 2001 for PlayStation 1 and was adapted into a movie in 2008, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Turning into a film series, Max Payne’s third and last part was released in 2012. Interestingly, 20th Century Studios has announced a reboot movie in the making. 

13. Silent Hill (2006)

Silent Hill is among the horror games of PlayStation 1 and was developed and published by Konami. It’s deemed a pivotal horror franchise with a rigid ambience and dreading elements. The game was more suitable for adults, given its mature themes and intense violence. Moreover, the video game franchise turned into a series of movies, with the first part released in 2006.

The story revolves around a dying young girl whose mother takes her to a faith healer to save her from an inevitable fate. Along the way, the pair passes through a town confined in the darkness that seems stronger than those trying to outrun it.

14. Alone in the Dark (2005)

Developed by Infogrames, Alone in the Dark is another survival game for adults adapted into several movies. The first video game was released in 1992 and became a franchise after its massive success among gamers. The 2005 movie starred Tara Reid, Christian Slater, and Stephen Dorff.

As the name suggests, the game has a scary aura, following the story of a town in Virginia that had the reputation of being haunted in the 20s. The movie is based on the original video game’s story, where a young girl investigates her uncle’s mansion, searching for a note explaining his death. However, the sounds of footsteps and slamming doors made her investigation journey hard.

15. House of the Dead (2003)

House of the Dead sounds like a legit horror movie that leaves you sitting on the edge of your chair. It’s an actual horror movie released in 2003 and based on the 1996 video game developed and published by Sega. The game was initially launched for Arcade and Sega and got different remakes, with the latest one launched for newer consoles, including Xbox One and PlayStation 5. 

The game was well received by players, given its exceptional option, where you can get different endings depending on your performance and score rank. This feature kept the game more exciting and unpredictable. The first movie adaptation was in 2003, starring Ellie Cornell, Erica Durance, Ona Grauer, and Jonathan Cherry.

16. The Resident Evil Series (2002 – 2018)

The Resident Evil franchise has always been favoured as both movies and video games. It was originally a Japanese horror game, commonly known as Biohazard in Japan, created by Capcom. This game was among the first to bring back the zombies and apocalypse concept to pop culture.

It got adapted into a film series with several sequels, starting in 2002. Throughout the franchise, Milla Jovovich portrayed the protagonist, Alice. However, the latest reboot released in 2021, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, features new faces, including Kaya Scodelario, Avan Jogia, Robbie Amell, and Hannah John-Kamen.

17. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Series (2001 – 2018)

Lara Croft became somewhat synonymous with Angelina Jolie for long years, given that she portrayed the protagonist ever since the Tomb Raider franchise was adapted into movies. The movie series was successful, winning multiple awards and becoming among the blockbusters movies. 

Little do some people know that the movie was originally a video game released in 1996 on the Sega Saturn. Angelina Jolie played a vital role in the story’s success when she starred in two Lara Croft movies. Alicia Vikander was the second actress to play Lara Croft; with a Tomb Raider remake released in 2018, it wasn’t as successful as the original movie.

Not only is this list featuring enthralling movies or series that were initially video games, but it also gives prominence to some of the all-time best movies. 

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