We have been blessed with some excellent adaptations to video games in recent years, and the future looks incredibly bright in this regard as well. But 2023 can be seen as the year when adaptations to video games took the world by storm, as we saw a few that redefined how we perceive this part of the industry. Here are our favorite adaptations of 2023.
5. Five nights at Freddy’s
We’re not going to tell you that the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is a cinematic masterpiece, because it’s not. Then again, the games themselves are hardly works of art, so it was never an expectation. What this horror film seemed to do was take advantage of the fame of this series, and it did so without questioning or compromising. If you’re looking for a fun film, one that leaves you with a grin on your face for the way it handled its source material, you won’t find much better than what Blumhouse has made here.
4. Captain Laserhawk: a remix of a blood dragon
Somehow this show is working, and very well too. Netflix and Ubisoft have teamed up to tap into the treasure trove of the French game company’s IP to create an animated series set in a dystopian, cyberpunk future in which your favorite characters and brands are twisted in ways that few ever expected. Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix is perhaps the most surprising new project of this year, as its pure premise probably made many wonder how on earth it would succeed. But it does and did, and it is therefore one of our favorite adaptations of the year.
3. Castlevania: Nocturne
Adi Shankar essentially redefined the video game adaptation space with his anime Castlevania, so needless to say, there was tremendous pressure on this successor to live up to its predecessor. To be fair. Castlevania: Nocturne is an immersive and exciting continuation of Konami’s series, and is the perfect proof and example of why we need a big budget and modern game set in this gothic fantasy world.
2. The last of us
For fans of video games and for those who have played Naughty Dog’s adventure series, HBO’s The Last of Us probably does not impress as much as the games, but there is no denying that the fidelity of this live-action take and the quality of the production is of a remarkable level. This is a show that proves that the stories in video games apply to the masses and all they need is the proper care and attention to detail to be translated effortlessly and brilliantly into a new medium.
1. The Super Mario Bros. movie
The Last of Us may be considered the most acclaimed adaptation of the year, but when you consider that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the 16th most profitable film of all time, it’s very hard to suggest that this animated effort shouldn’t take first place. Illumination gave us a beautiful and colorful look at Nintendo’s most famous series and characters, and presented it in a way that appealed to youngsters and adults alike. It is the perfect family film and one that is ideal for longtime fans of the series to boot.
It may wobble here and there in narrative terms, and some of the choices for casting voices can be considered questionable at best, but the raw attention to detail, the brilliant animation style and color palette, and the immense number of Easter eggs and nods to gaming culture and Nintendo history make this a must-see for any fan of video games. Nintendo has, simply put, redefined what we have come to expect from a blockbuster in video games.