Video game

10 Video Games Most Successfully Adapted Into Animated Movies – Screen Rant

It seems as though more and more video games are getting the live-action treatment. With the success of franchises like Sonic The Hedgehog, Resident Evil, and Detective Pikachu, many video game fan favorites are making the jump from 2D to 3D.

Something new fans of these characters might not realize, however, is that video game characters were making their way to the silver screen long before they could be CGI’ed next to real-life actors. Animated video game movie adaptations have been around for a long time, and are still successful to this day.

Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie (1996)

Sonic and Tails on the beach in Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie

Many years prior to Sonic The Hedgehog running around onscreen with James Marsden, the famous blue sprinter made his big-screen debut fighting alongside Tails and Knuckles against a robotic version of himself that threatens to turn their home into a Land of Darkness.


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The animated film more closely matches up with the content and plot of the video games, with Sonic and Knuckles living in the Land of the Sky instead of the normal human world. It’s fairly popular with old-school videogame fans, gaining a 6.3 on IMDb and rave reviews.

Pokémon: The First Movie -Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

Ash Turns to Stone in Pokemon The First Movie

The very first Pokémon film was chock-full of action as Mewtwo tried to clone Trainers’ Pokémon in the hopes of making an army against humans. It has amazing music, action, and even some tear-jerking moments. The film is all about the bond between Trainer and Pokémon, which fans can totally relate to from their experiences playing the game.

The film is so loved that it placed in the number two spot on Ranker for the top-ranked video game movies of all time. It even ranked higher than its live-action counterpart, Detective Pikachu. There’s just something nostalgic about the first Pokémon movie that fans keep going back to.

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

Resident Evil: Degeneration animated movie characters

General audiences may not know that the Resident Evil franchise started out as a video game that was released in 1996. Then, there was an animated movie that came out in 2008. It did significantly better with fans than the live-action movies that hit theaters around the same time.

While the live-action films were some of the worst video game movies of the 2000s, the animated Resident Evil film was received much more positively, gaining a 6.4-star review on IMDb. Whether it’s because of a better storyline or the shotty CGI of the live-action flicks, the animated film was pretty successful in comparison.

The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

The pigs of Angry Birds wave around plungers

Angry Birds started out as a silly game to play on a cell phone or iPad, and now it’s a wildly successful film franchise that kids who have possibly never even played the in-app game love. There’s something for all ages, too, as there are even adult jokes written into the kids’ movie.

The widespread appeal of the film is probably why the first movie and the subsequent sequel were immensely popular. The original earned a 6.2 on IMDb and the second got a 6.4.

Final Fantasy: A Spirit Within (2001)

Screen grab from FInal Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Considering that the Final Fantasy video game series has a slew of fantastic female protagonists, it makes complete sense that those characters would translate well into an animated film franchise.

Because of the fantasy element involved in the story, a live-action movie at the time wouldn’t have been able to do the games justice, especially at the time of the film’s release. So, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released in 2oo1 and has a 6.4-star rating on IMDb.

Ratchet & Clank (2016)

Ratchet and Clank flying in the movie

The Ratchet & Clank video game series holds a lot of nostalgia for people who grew up in the early 2000s. The original game came out in 2oo2 and since then there have been fifteen different sequel games following the adventures of the Lombax mechanic and his defective robot sidekick.

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Although the games were a huge staple of early 2000s culture, there weren’t any films about the franchise until midway through the 2010s. But, the movie still did well with audiences young and old, getting a 5.5-star rating on IMDb.

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994)

A screen grab from Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

Most franchises are built upon the success of the first outing. But in some cases, the first installment of a film tanks and the sequel does significantly better. This was what happened with the Street Fighter film and video game franchise.

While some Redditors may have the unpopular opinion that Street Fighter II isn’t a good game, fans who’ve seen the movie rate it decently high. On IMDb the film has a 7.2-star rating, one of the highest of the video game-inspired movies.

The Halo Franchise Films

halo 10 video game movies stuck development hell

Halo was a landmark video game franchise for its time. Naturally, as with many of the other critically-loved game series, the saga was turned into a film franchise and is even currently airing as a live-action TV series right now.

The high-action and futuristic features of the game lend themselves well to animation, giving the fans a true movie version of the games that they love so much, with Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn getting a 6.7 on IMDb.

Mass Effect: Paragon Lost (2012)

mass effect movie adaptation

The Mass Effect games feature a future in which humans and aliens have colonized planets across the known universe. Players role-play as customized characters and complete different missions on the many planets in gameplay.

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Because there is so much freedom within the gameplay of Mass Effect, the writers of the feature film could choose whatever narrative they wanted. The animated movie is set between Mass Effect 2 and 3 and follows a group of soldiers protecting a planet’s colonists from The Collectors.

Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic (2010)

In an interesting turn of events when it comes to video game releases and animated film adaptations, the movie version of Dante’s Inferno was released the same year that the game was created.

Both the film and the game follow Dante, who has committed many atrocities in war, as he travels through the seven circles of Hell in order to save his love, Beatrice. The game was critically successful and the film garnered a 6.5-star rating on IMDb.

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