Classic movies that inspired even better games 

Back in the 80s and 90s it was almost a requirement that any movie would have a game created as part of the merchandising. The end results were not always gaming classics (ET The Extra Terrestrial, anyone?), but just occasionally, the developers hit on a seam of inspiration that even improved on the original.  

Here are five examples of developers taking a great movie and turning it into an even better game.  


James Bond-based games are like a microcosm of movie based games. There are some great ones and some stinkers out there. By rights GoldenEye from 1997 had stinker written all over it. Released two years after the movie at a time when movie-based games were mostly an exercise in going through the motions, you’d have expected it to be headed straight for the discount shelf. 


And yet, against all odds, even 25 years later, this game stands up as a great first person shooter, and time has certainly not made it look any more clunky to a 2022 audience that the movie that inspired it! In fact, it is still highly playable and it stands head and shoulders above the several games that were designed to replace it. 


Movie-based slot games are almost a topic in their own right. Jumanji is one of the best-loved slots from NetEnt and is more than just a slot game with animal symbols. Here, of course, just to keep things really simple, we have a game that is based on a movie that is based on a game. You often hear people talk about games “drawing you in” and of course that’s what the Jumanji board game does quite literally. NetEnt’s Jumanji slot achieves the same thing. 

From the moment you start playing, you’ll notice the graphics and sounds are second to none – NetEnt really takes production values seriously. Gameplay itself has a whole host of special features lifted directly from the movie, including sticky vines and monkey mayhem plus others. Best of all, if you match the bonuses, you get to play the Jumanji board game itself. The Jumanji slot game takes all the promise of the movie and delivers – we love it.  

Spider-Man 2 

It’s an ambitious aim, trying to design a game with physics that make you feel like a superhero. For example, Matt Casamassina famously described the late 90s Superman for the N64 as “like trying to coax a leotard-clad tractor around a maze of invisible walls.” The original Spider-Man was much better by comparison, but it was Spider-Man 2 that really nailed it.  

This 2004 release for the PS2 has fabulously intuitive controls that make you feel you can go anywhere and do anything. This was helped further by the game’s Grand Theft Auto-style open world nature. To be fair, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is even better, but it was Spider-Man 2 that paved the way for it.  


GhostBusters keeps inspiring new games right up to today. But we’re going way back to the beginning. OK so the C64 graphics and the cliptune sounds will make 2022 audiences giggle, but in 1984 this was gaming at its delirious best. The game itself closely mirrors the events of the movie, right up to a climactic encounter with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 

Even setting aside the rose-tinted glasses and the child-of-the-80s nostalgia, this game has to be acknowledged as an achievement when you learn it was put together from end to end in just six weeks. Better than the movie? Well maybe that’s a stretch, but it certainly seemed that way in 1984.   

Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay   

Finally, a title that encapsulates just what gaming can achieve with an interesting idea that was developed into an ok movie. With Escape from Butcher Bay it is all about the attention to detail. With no HUD or pointers, you have to rely on these little details to find your way around the claustrophobic corridors of the prison, and it makes for an incredibly atmospheric experience.  

By all means watch the movie, it’s reasonable entertainment for a couple of hours. But it is the game that will keep calling you back time and again. An absolute classic that has inspired a dozen imitations.