Ten Fictional Games We Wish Were Real

The games cinephiles want to play.

by | December 8, 2010 | Comments

After a long week on the job, we at RT like to curl up on the couch and play an
exciting game of Wrestle Jam. Or perhaps tune in to a gripping Quiddich match on
TV. What’s that you say? Those games don’t exist? Well, we wish they did. With
hitting theaters, we’re compiling a list of fictional video
games, board games, and sports from the movies that we wish we could play. You
may wonder why we’ve omitted such films as
The Running Man
from this list, but there’s a good reason: we may be sick puppies,
but we don’t actually wish to watch human beings killing one another on
television for our amusement. This is by no means a complete list, so feel free
to let us know what fictional movie games you wish you could play in the

Cycle battles

From: TRON (1982)

There’s been a few merchandised games for TRON, famously two arcade games
that came out in the first few years after the movie’s release, the online adaptation of Space Paranoids, and a PC game called TRON 2.0,
which came out in 2003 when it really seemed like the franchise was gone
and forgotten. Though TRON: Evolution (out on December 7 for contemporary
game systems) might reverse this trend, thus far no game has truly captured the
visceral thrill of light cycle combat. Sleek, aerodynamic vehicles, sweet
outfits, neon lights, and the open grid to criss-cross and zig-zag around.
What’s not to like?


From: The

It’s understandable that Randy “The Ram” Robinson would look back nostalgically
on his golden years as a pro wrestling superstar. However, at times Robinson
seems trapped in the late 1980s. He rocks out to the likes of Cinderella and
Ratt, and when he sits on his couch and picks up a controller, he sticks with
the 8-bit games of his heyday. In fact, the Ram is pretty clueless about the
ultra-realistic games of the modern era; when he asks a neighborhood kid what the hottest new game is, the Ram stumbles over the title (“Call It Duty 4?“).
Wrestle Jam (a fictional game similar to the NES title
Pro Wrestling
) is
more his speed. Despite its garish colors, jerky movements, and repetitive
soundtrack, it’s a pixilated reminder that the Ram was once on top of the world.
Plus, the 8-bit Ram can deliver his patented “Ram Jam” closing move without
worrying about creaky knees or a bum ticker.


From: the
Harry Potter

Not just for injecting FX-heavy action set pieces into the
Harry Potter

movies, Quidditch is as close to an actual sport as you can get when you’re
talking about a game played by fictional characters on flying broomsticks. In
fact, enough real-life “Muggle Quidditch” leagues have sprung up over the last
decade that college-level tournaments — governed by the International Quidditch
Association, natch — aren’t uncommon. Not bad for a game whose ingredients
include words like quaffle and bludger, a prize called the Golden Snitch, and
the aforementioned broomsticks (not to mention the threat of bodily harm). Of
course, real Quidditch seems pretty silly compared to its cinematic counterpart,
but its existence speaks to just how strongly J.K. Rowling’s creation has
captured the public’s imagination — and just how badly some of us wish we could
fly around and beat the tar out of each other.


Fantastic Mr. Fox

If cricket looks too complicated (and frankly, a bit dull), try and figure out
Wes Anderson‘s oddball hybrid of the English gentleman’s game, baseball and
hurdles — as played by foxes, beavers and gophers. Actually, as
Owen Wilson‘s
Coach Skip explains, it’s really quite simple: “There’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners and the player at whack bat. The center player lights
a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack batter tries to hit the
cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until
the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls ‘hot box.’ Finally at the end you
count up however many score-downs that adds up to and divide that by nine.” Got
that? See, easy.


Never Say Never

Forget Battleship, this is the game that movie producers should be developing
for the big screen. “The game is called Domination,” explains cartoonish
supervillain Maximillian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) to his opponent, James
Bond (Sean Connery). “I designed it myself.” In place of Battleship’s dividing
field we have a holographic globe of the world which brings up targets for
obliteration in the quest for power. “Ve vill be fighting for countries, chosen
at random by the machine,” Largo continues. “Whoever hits zem first vis his
lazer beam will score points.” And who wouldn’t want to zap entire countries, at
least fictionally, while a robot vocoder commentates on the action? We could do
without the electric shocks on the joysticks, though.



You watched the anime. You bought the Game Boy games. You were even into the Pokemon
card game for a bit. (Disclaimer: Rotten Tomatoes is more of a Magic: the
Gathering kind of company.) But no matter how much you mix it up, you’re still
left fantasizing about being in the arena, calling up little elemental monsters
to do your bidding and defeat your opponent. Pokemon may be classified as
strictly kids stuff, but, similar to other media like Harry Potter, there’s an
undeniable universal appeal. Pokemon speaks to the youthful collector in all of
us, and the desire to see our toys come to life and shoot enormous
fireballs at each other.


From: BASEketball

Gather ‘round, young whippersnappers, and let me tell you a story: long ago,
there were no Xboxes or PS3s, so when some of us were bored, we’d make up our
own games. I myself helped create a sport called Rhubarb, an exceedingly violent
combination of football monkey-in-the-middle that could only be played on this
one hill in the woods of New Hampshire. The reason you’ve never heard of Rhubarb
is that I didn’t have the same foresight to get into the picture business as the Zucker brothers, whose BASEketball was based on a hybrid of baseball
and hoops that David Zucker invented in his driveway in the 1970s. Unlike the
stodgy, stick-in-the-mud NFL, in which the refs will penalize players 15 yards
for taunting, trash talking and grossing out opponents is actively encouraged in
the National BASEketball League. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a league that has
team names like the Roswell Aliens and the New Jersey Informants. Despite the
tepid response from the critics, BASEketball can still put a smile on
your face; it’s a movie that celebrates the goofy imaginations of kids with garages full of sporting goods and too much time on their hands.


From: Jumanji

So you’re probably thinking, who would actually want to play
?” Who would pursue a
round of a board game that asks you to roll dice, move pieces, and then fend off
lions, rhinos, torrential water and more natural terrors that spring from its
magical center? Well, in our modern wired world where everything is archived and
recorded, there’s something to be said about the pure lo-fi chaos Jumanji has to
offer. Furthermore, it’s like a trip to the jungle, the mountains, and the
ocean all in one — and you don’t even have to leave the house. Of course,
whether you even still have a house standing after the game finishes is another


Star Wars (1977)

Chess has proven its greatness by being around for centuries. And in the late
80s, Interplay developed an animated version for computers that brought the
pieces to life. So we’re betting that the circular, holographic version seen in
Star Wars (known in-universe as “dejarik”) would probably be pretty nifty to
play. Instead of knights and rooks, you get to move miniature monsters around
the board, watching them battle each other and gloat over their victories. You
can play against droids and aliens, too, although when playing wookies, we
recommend a very specific strategy…

Last Starfighter

From: The Last Starfighter

During the early ‘80s, some of us dropped enough quarters in arcade machines to
pay for a trip on the space shuttle, so it’s only fitting that
The Last
— about an Asteroids-style arcade game that secretly
serves as a training simulation for intergalactic fighter pilots — is one of
the decade’s cult classics. Of course, by the time Starfighter arrived
in theaters in 1984, the first video game craze was starting to wane — but the
movie’s story, which takes a lonely teen from his dingy trailer park to the
middle of a high-stakes space battle, has the kind of timeless appeal that will
always resonate with dissatisfied youth. But don’t take our word for it: ask the
folks who wrote the free, fully playable version of the game, downloadable