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5 best video game movies and where to stream them

Video game films haven't always been as successful or well made as The Super Mario Bros Movie. But there have been a few we've loved over the years. Here are our favourites.

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Ever since the late 80s, movie moguls have attempted to get video games into films – sometimes as a plot tool, sometimes as an aside. And then there’s the game adaptation, a folly that has more often than not delivered a steaming pile of dog’s business.

But, there have been some rather good examples of video game big screen entertainment too, especially in more recent times. One or two can even be called “excellent”.

That’s why we’re putting together this list of our five favourite gaming flicks for you to check out if you haven’t already, plus ideas of where to stream or buy them. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

WarGames

  • Released: 1983
  • Stars: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy
  • Available (streaming): The MGM channel on Amazon Prime Video

WarGames is a classic movie about a young hacker who accidentally comes across a secret, artificially intelligent super-computer with which he starts to play what he thinks is an online game, but almost triggers World War III. It’s actually pretty relevant to today in that it illustrates the dangers of unchecked AI amid the nuclear tension between Russia and the US.


WarGames (Blu-ray)

As well as through streaming services, WarGames is available on Blu-ray and DVD for less than a tenner.


https://youtu.be/87E6N7ToCxs

Wreck-It Ralph

  • Released: 2012
  • Stars: John C Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman
  • Available (streaming): Disney+

Disney’s own animated movies have improved enormously since Pixar was incorporated into the company. Its 2D masterpieces have always thrilled, but its 3D films never quite hit the same heights as rivals. For us, Wreck-It Ralph represented the turning point. Not only is it jam-packed with gaming Easter eggs and references, it’s a fun and funny film in its own right.


Wreck-It Ralph (Blu-ray)

If you don’t want to subscribe to Disney+, Wreck-It Ralph is also available on Blu-ray, DVD and even, if you own a capable TV, in 3D.


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

  • Released: 2007
  • Stars: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell
  • Available (streaming): Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy)

Arguably the best film about video games full stop, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters tells the controversial true story of two rivals striving to set the world record score on Donkey Kong. That might sound a little dull but is far from it in reality. Challenger Steve Wiebe is a likeable underdog, while reigning record holder Billy Mitchell plays the villain perfectly. Of course, the story doesn’t end when the credits roll, with the scandal growing in the last decade especially, but make sure you watch this amazing documentary before hitting Wikipedia.

Sonic The Hedgehog

  • Released: 2020
  • Stars: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey
  • Available (streaming): Paramount+

Some prefer the sequel but we’re big fans of the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie – not least because its production was beset with issues. If you saw the original trailer featuring a Sonic with human teeth, yo’ll have the image burned into your memory like us. However, after admitting his mistake and re-doing all of the blue hedgehog’s effects, director Jeff Fowler and his team ended up delivering a superb family film.


Sonic The Hedgehog (4K Blu-ray)

As a recent movie, Sonic The Hedgehog is available on 4K Blu-ray, as well as normal Blu-ray and DVD.


Mortal Kombat

  • Released: 1995
  • Stars: Christopher Lambert, Robin Shou, Talisa Soto
  • Available (streaming): Amazon Prime Video

Yeah alright – it’s not exactly better than Pokémon Detective Pikachu nor The Angry Birds Movie. It’s not even in the same ballpark, really. However, the original Mortal Kombat movie has always been one of our guilty pleasures and this is our list, so it’s going in. We’ve also found Paul WS Anderson to be an underrated action movie director and he does love a video games movie (his Resident Evil is another that could so easily have been included, but just missed out).


Mortal Kombat (1995) Blu-ray

If you don’t want to stream it as part of a Prime Video subscription, the Blu-ray and DVD versions are reasonably priced.


Hold on, where’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie?

Well… although The Super Mario Bros. Movie is undoubtedly the most successful video game adaptation of all time, and it gave us a giggle or two when we saw it at the cinema earlier in 2023, we don’t quite feel it’s as good as any of the five above. And yes, we do include the mid-nineties Mortal Kombat in that.

However, we also think it’s worth checking out the animated adventures of Mario when you get the chance – if only for Jack Black’s excellent turn as Bowser.

It’s available to rent and buy in up to 4K and with Dolby Atmos sound from all good digital stores, including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Sky Store, Rakuten, and Google Play.

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Rik Henderson
Rik Hendersonhttp://gameslifer.com
Rik is a professional journalist with more than 35 years experience across online, magazines and television broadcasting. As well as the creator of GamesLifer, he is the News Editor of T3.com, while his previous work includes stints as editor and group editor on several monthlies and weeklies covering video games and technology. He has also been a series producer on daily and weekly TV shows, and has presented and guested on multiple TV series too, including GamesMaster, Games World, Game Over, Virtual World of Sport, Live TV, Greatest Christmas TV Ads, and The Apprentice.
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