If there's one thing movies have taught us, it's that no good ever comes from videogames. There are usually only two kinds of videogames in movies. The first and most common is the vaguely defined and often violent videogame, shown briefly to drive home the point that the character is out of touch with reality. It's usually played by a slack-jawed loser living in his parents' basement or a bratty kid ignoring his parents or whatever else is going on around them. The other kind of videogame in movies is the one that's literally a gateway to evil. Here's an overview of eight movies that prove, once and for all, that videogames are bad, bad, bad. (WARNING: Most of these movies are rated "R" and contain strong violence. And most of them aren't very good movies, either.)

1. Wargames(1983)

The penultimate "evil videogame" movie has to be Wargames. When a high school student hacks into a government supercomputer, he starts playing what he thinks is a computer game. In reality a nuclear war simulation that almost tricks NORAD into launching nukes for real. This game didn't just lead to death and mayhem. It threatened to destroy the world. The ultimate cautionary tale - kids and computers are the devil's playground.

2. Nightmares (1983)

This four-part horror anthology movie is famous for one of its segments called "The Bishop of Battle," about a guy obsessed with beating the thirteenth level of an arcade game. Thirteen, get it? Subtle. The game ends up releasing the virtual enemies into the real world, where the gamer has to fight for his life. This was released at the same time as WarGames, when videogames were starting to enter pop culture, and seems to have been made in the Soviet Union. That's because, in Soviet Union, videogame kills YOU! [Couldn't embed the trailer for this one. Click here to check it out on YouTube.]

3. Gamer (2009)

This movie has the most cynical premise for a videogame ever. In the distant future, mind control allows gamers to use condemned prisoners in real-life combat reminiscent of first-person shooters. So when you kill someone in the game, you're killing someone in real life. In the movie, the game is incredibly popular, which is a blatant bias against gamers, implying they would kill real people if they could. That's like saying gamers are just serial killers with poor tools.

4. Gamebox 1.0 (2004)

So this one reverses the "game enters the real world" trope, having the "hero" trying out a new game console, and getting sucked into the game world. Then there's some stuff about the real world having gaming stuff in it...I'll be honest, never saw this movie and don't plan on it. Feel like I've already seen it.

5. Arcade (1993)

This one goes back to the "virtual reality becomes real" stereotype, also known as "Holodeck Syndrome." A kid decides to try out a new game console, then discovers that if you die in it, you're killed in real life. Natch. I think this is Hollywood's idea of a quid pro quo. "Like killing people in games? Well, then you die!"

6. Stay Alive (2006)

You know the drill by now. Bunch of stupid bloodthirsty gamers find a mysterious game full of gore and violence, then they start dying in real life. Picking up on a theme here? At this point, the question of why anyone makes these games is raised. Not exactly a good business strategy, making a game that kills your customers.

7. Brainscan (1993)

When a disaffected youth plays a videogame simulation of the perfect murder, he discovers that he's committed murder in real life. He finds himself on the run, pursued by a demonic Trickster that encourages him to continue his killing spree. This one combines the "gamers are bloodthirsty killers" and the "games becomes reality" tropes into one offensive package.

8. How to Make a Monster (2001)

According to Hollywood, the only thing worse than playing videogames is creating them. In this movie, a group of programmers making a horror game accidentally bring a videogame monster to life, which slaughters them in true slasher-movie fashion. That'll teach 'em to try earning a living.

Have you been convinced to avoid videogames forever? Can you think of any other movies that prove videogames are evil? Let us know in the comments.
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AlexJCavanaugh said...

Still dig my computer games!
There's several on the list I haven't seen yet...

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Death to the demoness Allegra Geller!

Badgermonkey said...

Tron?  The Last Starfighter?

monkeymigraine said...

Those are good videogame movies, but they're on the plus side of the column. This post was about movies that portray games as a bad thing. Tron made me want to jump headfirst into my computer games

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