The 20 Best Movies About Gamers

Movies About Gamers
Grab your potions and armour as we search for some diamonds in the rough!

Since the release of Pong, mankind has always sought to recreate the classic games of the silver screen and move them to the big screen. Whether it’s an adaptation, a remake or a film about games, video game movies have existed almost since the creation of the video game! While not all of them have been successful, there have been a fair few great video game (or at least video game adjacent) movies released since then. 

It can be hard, however, to distinguish between the good and the bad video game movies – and believe me, there are a LOT of bad video game movies. For that reason, today I’m going to list twenty great video game movies that no gamer should miss! Warning: this list covers not only video game and board game, but also adaptations, reboots, and films inspired by video games and video game culture. Basically, anything vaguely game-related is good for this list. So strap in, and keep your potions on hand, because we’re going to look at twenty of the best films for gamers!


1. Ready Player One:

Set between a dystopian future Earth and the virtual reality people use to escape it, orphan Wade Watts falls into a modern day treasure hunt to win ownership of the OASIS - the life-like virtual paradise created by reclusive programmer and Wonka-esque character James Halliday - before the evil corporation IOI can win and gain control over the system.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name and inspired by the avid easter egg communities that hunt for in-game secrets, Ready Player One is a BFG3000 blast of a blockbuster, having plenty of heart, references and great performances for the whole family to enjoy. If you’re a gamer, you’ve gotta check this one out.


2. Dungeons and Dragons: Honour among Thieves

Oceans Eleven but make it swords and sorcery, Honour among Thieves stars Chris Pine as the bard Edgin who – alongside Michelle Rodriguez playing friend Holga the barbarian as well as the ragtag crew assembled along the way – on his quest to find the Tablet of Reawakening to bring back his wife from the dead, stumbles into a classic Dungeons and Dragons style campaign in which he must rescue his daughter Kira, stop the Red Wizard Sofina and save the city of Neverwinter!

A surprisingly well-recieved film and one that harkens back to the feel-good family adventure films of the noughties and of the early MCU, Dungeons and Dragons: Honour among Thieves is a modern classic and easily the best DnD film. Even if you’ve never played a single campaign and don’t know what an Owlbear is, there’s tons to enjoy here!


3. The Super Mario Bros Movie

With their plumbing company struggling to get its feet off the ground, brothers and business partners Mario and Luigi are in the midst of a mile long run of bad luck. That all changes, however, when after a major water main leak in their hometown of Brooklyn, both brothers go exploring in the sewers beneath the city – only to find a certain pipe that every gamer will find familiar. 

While Mario may not have the best track record when it comes to movies, the recent Super Mario Bros movie smashed people’s expectations and went above and beyond in delivering an authentic cinematic Mario experience. The soundtrack alone is reason to see this film, playing a mix of modern hits and remixed Mario classics throughout. Jack Black’s performance is also a must-see and makes this movie well worth the price of admission. 


4. Sonic The Hedgehog 2


After narrowly defeating Eggman in the last film, Sonic finds his arch nemesis back with a vengeance – and an echidna! Introducing the Chaos Emeralds into the franchise, alongside various locations from the original series, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens the movies up to a whole new dimension. Sonic is going to need a lot more than just his speed to take on Eggman, but with Knuckles and a certain two-tailed friend, they might just stand a chance! 

The most successful video game adaptation until a certain italian plumber stole the show, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a video game movie with heart – a rare feat in the modern movie machine. I chose this one above the first film because while both are great, Sonic 2 throws in a killer performance from Idris Elba as Knuckles, as well as being more authentic to the original games than the first. Either way, both films are well worth the watch! 


5. Indie Game: The Movie


Following the development behind Super Meat Boy and Fez – while also talking about the success of Braid with Jonathan Blow – Indie Game: The Movie highlights an often-underrepresented aspect of video games – what goes on behind the scenes. With 300 hours of interview footage with various developers filmed, the final product was cut down to two hours consisting of just four developers, who each recount their struggles as they attempt to enter the brutal games industry.

A sneak peak into the creation behind some of the most iconic indie games of all time, Indie Game: The Movie showcases the struggles and creative processes responsible for three all-time indie classics. The real stars here however are the developers who risked their livelihood to put out these games, facing lawsuits, crunch time and financial issues to express themselves creatively. Anyone looking to join the gaming industry or even just interested in the matter should check this one out. 


6. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu 


Set in the futuristic city of Ryme City, Detective Pikachu follows a Pikachu that’s also a detective. Already a great pitch, right? Tim Goodman, a once-aspiring Pokémon trainer – is on the hunt for his father, a police detective missing and presumed dead after a car crash. Tim decides to investigate only to find his amnesiac partner, a talking Pikachu (played by Ryan Reynolds no less)! What follows is a fun mystery adventure through the Pokémon world! 

The first live-action movie in the Pokémon franchise, Detective Pikachu is a great, if a little strange, entry for the series. Starring a great duo in Ryan Reynolds as the titular Pokémon and Justice Smith as his confused accomplice Tim Goodman, while the film’s plot becomes a little convoluted by the last hour, it’s still a lot of fun and well worth the watch for any Pokémon fans. 


7. Pokémon: The First Movie


The first in a long lasting film franchise, Pokémon The First Movie takes place during the Indigo League series of the show and follows Ash, Brock and Misty as they receive a mysterious invite to battle the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world on a faraway island. Upon arriving, however, they discover not everything is as it seems as they meet Mewtwo, the most powerful and dangerous Pokémon in the world. 

While the English-language adaptation didn’t do as well critically for cutting certain themes of aspects of the story, the original Japanese version is surprisingly mature in its theme of cloning, ethical science and nihilism. That and it’s also a classic Pokémon story, even featuring Team Rocket in a minor role! If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is definitely worth a look. 


8. Tron


With unknown games developer and programmer Kevin Flynn kicked out of ENCOM, he attempts to hack into the mainframe system only to be booted out by the Master Control Program; a problem shared by the company VP Ed Dillinger, who realises that the MCP has gained sentience. Now Kevin (with the help of two developers on the inside) must enter the digital world and find Tron, a digital security program designed to counter the MCP and the only thing capable of stopping the MCP’s continued growth and tyranny. 

One of the first major Hollywood films to use early CGI, Tron is arguably the most famous and culturally relevant video game movie ever released – with one sequel, one television adaptation and hopefully another movie on the way. The Light Cycle sequence is still one of the most referenced moments in film history some thirty years on. Even if you’re not a fan of games, everyone should give Tron a watch at some point in their lives. 


9. The Wizard


Ever since his sister Jennifer drowned two years prior, Jimmy Woods has suffered from PTSD and hasn’t uttered a single word. His mother and stepfather want him institutionalised, but brother Corey won’t allow it and runs away with his brother to Los Angeles. There, they discover Jimmy’s natural talent for video games and – along with Haley, a friend picked up along the way – the three fight their way to the Video Armageddon championship in the hopes of winning the grand prize (all the while being chased down by Putnam, the bounty hunter assigned by their parents).

One of the most notorious video game films ever created, The Wizard notably introduced both the Power Glove and Super Mario Bros 3 to audiences alike. That doesn’t save it from being a bad Nintendo advert of a film though. I cannot recommend this movie on the premises of it being good. HOWEVER, I can recommend it on the premise of it being so-bad-it's-good. The Wizard is the most fun you can have with blatant product placement, awful child acting and a plot that can go from contrived to confused in about five seconds. 


10. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World 


In the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada, Scott Pilgrim was dating a high schooler. The rest is history. Scott Pilgrim’s quest to face IT girl Ramona’s seven evil exes and learn to become a better person (partly by not dating high schooler Knives Chau if you’re worried about that) became an underappreciated cult classic and one filled with comic book and video game moments galore. 

Based on the acclaimed comic book series of the same name, Edgar Wright brings his signature style to Scott Pilgrim and brings the comic book action to life on the big screen. Both the film and comic take a lot from video game culture, with the opening seconds of the film notably featuring a very famous 8-bit tune (see if you can recognise it!). Overall, this is a gaming-adjacent film for the whole family (with a little parental guidance perhaps). 


11. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle


After four students find themselves trapped within a nineties video game, they’re forced to put their differences aside, make do with the avatars they chose and stumble their way through in the hopes of escaping the world of Jumanji! With Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan as the students in-game avatars, you can be sure of two hours of laughs, unnecessary awkwardness and tons of fun. 

A sequel to a beloved children's classic some twenty years after release sounds like the type of awful idea that only modern Hollywood could come up with, but this one’s actually pretty good. Updating the board game of the original into a SNES-style video game console which sends the players into the jungle world of Jumanji was an inspired choice and allows for plenty of video game related banter throughout. I can happily say that both gamers and fans of the original will love this film!


12. Tetris 


Taron Egerton stars as Henk Rogers, a Dutch games designer and entrepreneur who brought the worldwide hit Tetris across the globe. The film follows his globe-trotting story as he fights tooth and nail for the rights behind the soon-to-be smash hit, facing off against powerful businessmen and KGB agents alike. 

A soviet-thriller/video-game-biopic based on the story behind the most popular video game ever released? Apple TV somehow manages to juggle all this and stellar performances from Taron Egerton as the man who brought Tetris across the Iron Wall and Nikita Efremov as the original coder whose livelihood is under threat by the KGB. While not entirely accurate (there were no car chases or fistfights), Apple TV threw everything it had up its sleeves at the screen for a fun Russian romp through one of the greatest games of all time. 


13. Free Guy


NPCs. The building blocks of almost every game out there. They exist, they walk around, maybe sometimes they have a line of dialogue. But what if an NPC woke up one day and realised they were in a video game? Guy can answer that question. The friendly bank teller in Free City, Guy discovers that his home is a GTA-style game and that everything he knows is a lie. But with a sequel coming out soon that threatens to wipe his reality out of existence, Guy is going to need friends on the inside and outside to save Free City. 

Somewhere between GTA, The Truman Show and Deadpool, Free Guy is an action-packed adventure through the digital world that gamers and non-gamers should enjoy alike. With a star-studded cast including Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum and others, Free Guy throws gag after gag at the audience and is a great watch for all. 


14. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch


A choose-your-own-adventure style story, Black Mirror’s first quest into the world of interactive media follows a young and struggling computer programmer who loses himself in his work adapting a dark fantasy book into a dungeon crawler. Paralleling the descent of the original author, Stefan falls into a dark tunnel that challenges his beliefs on choice and his own free will as well as the audiences you must choose his actions. 

A psychological thriller that puts you in the place of the protagonist, Bandersnatch follows the behind-the-scenes action behind creating a game in the eighties and turns it on its head. As an example of the burgeoning interactive film genre – which ties into its video-game based story and its themes of free will – it should provide any gamer with hours of fun with its many storylines and endings. 


15. Pixels


Thirty years after losing a championship tournament of Donkey Kong, Sam Brenner’s best days are behind him. But that’s about to change as literal space invaders start attacking major global landmarks and Brenner is called to action! A time capsule sent into space and featuring footage from that very tournament has been interpreted not in peace but as a call to arms – and now Brenner among other championship arcade players are forced back into action to save the world from its own creation!

Any fan of Adam Sandler comedies should check this one out: a trip through memory lane as Sandler and friends must fight off classic arcade games and nostalgic villains. While not received well critically at the time, it’s hard to deny its sense of fun and adventure. Gamers should find a lot to dig into with this one! 


16. Wreck It Ralph


Set in a struggling arcade, Ralph isn’t very popular at work. In his defence, it’s very hard to be likeable when you’re the villain in a video game. After taking too many punches and simply wanting to be recognised like his enemy/work-colleague Fix-It-Felix, Ralph ‘goes turbo’ and leaves his arcade game in search of a better life. While his game collapses without him, Ralph finds himself on an adventure that’ll help him discover himself and how his role doesn’t define him!

A modern classic, Wreck It Ralph takes the classic Disney formula and blends it with the nostalgia of the childhood arcade – a once glorious establishment now on the decline. With more references than you can shake a joystick at (Mario, Sonic, Street Fighter, etc. etc.) and a story and characters that’ll have you belly-laughing one minute and bent over in tears the next, Wreck-It-Ralph has a little something for everyone. 


17. WarGames


High school student, amateur hacker and slacker David Lightman spends his days hanging out with his friends and hacking into his school computer system to fix his grades. Then one day, he gets too big for his boots and tries finding a computer game system to play games for free. He comes across one with all the classics: chess, tic tac toe, Global Thermonuclear War? After playing the war simulation, David accidentally kickstarts a nationwide panic as the military supercomputer sees the games as real and responds in real time. Now David will need all the help he can get to stop the supercomputer from starting an actual nuclear war. 

Probably the most aggressively eighties film you can find, WarGames is somewhere between a techno-thriller and a teen drama – and somehow pulls both off. Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy are in the prime of their careers here as two high schoolers in over their heads and on the run from the government. With three Oscar nominations, WarGames is maybe the only video game movie that can be enjoyed by the average gamer and their grandad. 


18. Knights of Badassdom


After being dumped by his girlfriend Gwen, slacker and rockstar-to-be Joe Revitt is taken to a LARPing event by his friends Eric and Hung to take his mind off the breakup. However one miscast spell and a gang of angry paintballers later, the group – including cute LARPer Gwen, her naïve cousin Gunther and jealous gamemaster Ronnie – have to use all their LARPing skills to take on and defeat an actual demon!

If there’s one reason to watch this film, it’s to see Peter Dinklage as a LARPer. If there’s another reason to watch this film? It’s also pretty good. A brutal comedy horror flick set within the realms of Nevermore, it’s really just a more adult Stranger Things – and I mean that as the highest compliment. 


19. Tomb Raider


Alicia Vikander stars as the world-famous adventurer and tomb raider Lara Croft on her first adventure. On a quest to find her missing father, Lara becomes involved in a globe-trotting adventure from England to Hong Kong to Yamatai to find the ancient powerful empress Himiko – famed for having the power over life and death. She’ll find a lot more than she bargained for as she goes on the journey that turns her into the famed Tomb Raider. 

The second attempt of a live action remake of the franchise, this 2018 reboot is a vast improvement over the original Angelina Jolie films, with Alicia Vikander taking centre stage as the gun brandishing, platform jumping heroine herself. If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones, you’ll love this modern take on the classic adventure formula. 



20. Street Fighter 


An adaptation of the classic fighting game Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter begins with the outbreak of civil war in the nation of Shadaloo between Allied Nations Colonel William F Guille and crime kingpin M Bison. After capturing numerous AN members, Bison demands a $20 billion ransom within three days, leaving Guille with little choice. With the country’s fate at stake – as well as the lives of those taken hostage – Guille recruits the street fighters Ryu and Ken to help him stop M Bison’s tyranny before it is too late. 

While not received as well critically as other entries in this list, I’ve mentioned it for one reason and one reason only: Raul Julia’s performance as M Bison. Seriously, for a video game movie in the nineties, the well-esteemed actor gives the role his all and makes the movie endlessly rewatchable. Plus, the rest of the film is fun in a camp, so-bad-it's-good way. Enjoy this one with a couple of beers and on a rainy day. 


Writer, Musician, Vault Dweller, Zombie Hunter, the list is honestly endless. If you defeat me in battle, I drop my Switch, half a sandwich and about £8 in pennies.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Tears Of The Kingdom
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Portal 2, DOOM

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