Movies & TV / Columns

Top 10 NES Games That Should Be Made Into Movies (#5 – 1)

February 1, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Legend of Zelda

The Top 10 NES Games That Should Be Made Into Movies: #5-#1


Last week I did the first part of this list, with spots #10-#6 and one honorable mention. In case you missed it, here is the link to that list. I’m thinking of doing another one of these “NES games that would make…” lists but for TV shows. Would you like to see one of those lists in the future? And, just like the movies list, these would be for live-action TV shows.

And now, without any further what have you, here are the next five NES Games That Should Be Made Into Movies (spots #5-#1):

Honorable Mentions:

Rush ‘N Attack: I loved playing this game although I could never get beyond the third board. A game about an American Special Forces operator who needs to infiltrate a bad guy military installation in order to rescue various prisoners, and the only weapon you have (most of the time) is a knife. There were other weapons you could pick up, but you mostly used a knife. A bit ridiculous? A little. But think of the movie possibilities and the amount of badass onscreen knife play. It could be like William Friedkin’s The Hunted but less depressing.


5. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!: This arcade boxing game would make for a great sort of comedy boxing movie, mostly because the characters that Little Mac has to fight in order to advance to the “dream fight” with Mike Tyson are so ridiculous. Think of the all-star cast you could assemble to portray all of them (who would play King Hippo?). And you could also get the real Mike Tyson to play himself because, hell, why not? I bet he would do it and kick ass at it. Although I don’t know if I would actually have Little Mac fight Tyson at the end. Maybe the movie would end with the big fight about to happen, with Little Mac getting into the ring to fight Tyson and it ends, Rocky III style, with both Little Mac and Tyson in mid punch. I’m actually surprised that, after the mega success of the first The Hangover that no one tried to make this happen.


4. Strider: This was another one of those games that pissed me off because I could only get so far in it but still loved playing it because of the game’s futuristic setting and you got to play as a killer futuristic ninja of some sort. There was also that mega cool opening cinematic thing that sort of explains what the whole game is about and what the hell a strider is (your character’s name in the game isn’t “strider” but Hiryu). And when you start the game you drop out of that dragon satellite spaceship thing, which was mind blowing to me back in the day. The whole story would probably have to be streamlined a bit for a movie, but the visuals in the game just scream big budget tent pole sci-fi action flick. And think of the potential swordplay! This movie would rock and rock hard.


3. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos: You could probably use any of the NES Ninja Gaiden games for a potential movie as they’re all cool, but I’ll just pick the first one because that was the only one I somehow made it to about halfway. These games were so goddamn hard, especially the whole “jumping between objects” thing, which took me forever to master. And the enemy swarms were a pain in the fucking ass (and how many times did I fuck up jumping over the gaps?). But the world could use more cool as hell ninja movies in it, and Ninja Gaiden could be the property that makes it happen. The impossible fights would make for some great action and fight choreography and I would keep the whole “some of the enemies are monsters of some sort” motif because you need something to build to (start with human enemies and escalate to monsters).


2. The Legend of Zelda: Out of all of the old NES games I’m shocked that Zelda wasn’t the first to be made into a movie (this game always made more sense as a potential movie than Super Mario Bros.). And with the mega success of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, I’m shocked that someone hasn’t tried to get Nintendo on board with making a big The Legend of Zelda movie. The game has everything. A young warrior on a quest (Link), weird monsters for the hero to fight, objects for the hero to track down and obtain, and a princess to ultimately rescue. You could probably make a trilogy out of the original game. All of the other games in the series could be fodder for future sequels and whatever else, but the original game, one of the greatest video games ever made, is the one that would translate the best to a potential movie. And it would no doubt be popular all over the world because everyone who knows video games knows Zelda, and, as I said, all of the elements that make the game the game are recognizable even to people who have no idea what it is. There is serious money to be made here.


1. Contra: In order to make Contra into a full movie you would likely have to do one of two things: you would have to make a two hour movie and have the first half hour focus on the set up involving the aliens, the weird island the aliens have on Earth, and how the world can only send in two badass soldiers to take down the alien base and save the world. Then you could do ninety minutes of full on insane action, with the soldiers (I would keep the names Bill and Lance) advancing through various environments, destroying aliens and monsters and whatever else. And the sort of first person boards, where you’re running forward? Of course they would be in the movie. You probably couldn’t do all eight environments, but you could do most of them/merge some of them, and it would work. You could even do the “Konami code” where Bill and Lance can only receive 30 wounds before they’re vulnerable from the aliens and their weapons. The game’s music would also kick ass, reworked into movie music.


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