Good News: Better Game-To-Movie Adaptations Coming

It's a fairly well-established trend in the gaming industry that movie tie-in titles tend towards mediocrity. With a few notable exceptions ("Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay," the LotR brawler series, and a few others), most games developed in tandem with movies are half-baked, poorly conceived, and generally pretty bad. But if games made from movies tend towards mediocrity, the reverse -- movies made from games -- often end up as abominations of cinema, enjoyable only to the extent that they're laughable.

One of the major pitfalls that face games on their journey to the silver screen is that up until very recently, Hollywood has been totally unable to take them seriously. Films adapted from games tend to fall into one of two categories: either brainless action flicks produced with the aim of getting males aged 18-34 to spring for a movie ticket when there's nothing else to watch that summer; or the inexplicably awful works of filmmaker Uwe Boll. When the source material isn't taken seriously, whether as a source of action, drama, or humor, a good move very rarely results. It's the difference between "Batman and Robin" and "Batman Begins."

That trend, however, may be eclipsed by some encouraging events. For one, the "Max Payne" movie, starring Mark Wahlberg, is set to release in October, and from the trailer looks to be recreating the aesthetic and narrative of the game very well.

And today news surfaced that former Marvel Studios boss Avi Arad has optioned the sci-fi epic game "Mass Effect" from its current owner, Electronic Arts. If any game's storyline can drive a movie plotline, it's absolutely that of "Mass Effect."

Avi Arad is one of the perfect people to create a great film based on a great game. Arad's work on the recent spate of well-made (and successful) Marvel movies shows that he's willing to take a genre that sometimes struggles with a popular perception of being "kid's stuff" -- and present it to a more mainstream audience.

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