Since the rise of arcade games in the 1970s, video games have taken the world by storm, and show no sign of declining in popularity. Consoles like the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X and S, gaming computers like the Infinity X97 Elite, and handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch make billions of dollars in revenue each year. As such, it’s no surprise that video game narratives and tropes have begun to appear in other forms of media, from films and TV series to online casino games.
Television series based on video games like Street Fighter and The Super Mario Bros to popular Netflix originals such as The Witcher and Devil May Cry. One of the most popular and original television programs to employ a video game narrative was the 2018 Bandersnatch episode of the utopian drama, Black Mirror. Throughout the interactive episode, watchers make all of the decisions for Stefan Butler, the lead character, using their television remote, and thus determine the manner in which the episode unfolds. Highly immersive and incredibly novel, Bandersnatch was among the first TV shows to blur the line between passive viewing and active gaming.
Movies both based on and inspired by video games have been some of the most successful blockbusters ever made. Action-packed films like Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, and Resident Evil began life as video games before making it to the big screen, while 2010’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World used video game and comic book imagery and visual effects to tell the story of a musician striving to win a record deal. Rereleased in the UK in 2020, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World illustrates the enduring popularity of movies inspired by video games.
Online slot games are not only frequently based on video games such as Tomb Raider and Hitman, but they are increasingly drawing in players with characters and storylines of their own. Under a subgenre called Story Slots and ranked by Rob McLaughlan of BonusFinder, titles like Book of The Dead and Dragon’s Fire draw in players with their immersive storylines. Similar to what video games have done for years, slots combine story-telling with the added bonus of cash prizes and free spins. This combination has helped make slot games a high-stakes, exhilarating alternative to classic video games for many.
Here to Stay
Above all, gamers continue to buy video games at an overwhelming rate because of the immersive experience they provide. Developed storylines, masterfully crafted characters, and unique visual effects see us returning time and again to our game consoles, and even to movies, television series, and online slots that are jumping on the video game bandwagon. Genre-defying movies and slots that give the viewer – or player – agency over the storyline as it unfolds appeal to a wide audience and makes consuming entertainment more active. It’s no wonder, then, that media inspired by video games continue to be well-loved.