Cloak and Dagger was Atari’s first attempt at turning one of their popular video games into a big screen movie. It was a simple 8-bit game but the movie turned out to be a fun complex story about espionage and a kid wrapped up in it.
Jump forward nearly thirty years and video game movies have mostly gone in the opposite direction – complex games have been turned into simple movies (example: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time). Not content to ruin adapt modern games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Atari has turned its sights on '80s video games Asteroids and now Missile Command.
Atari has announced it will partner up with Fox and Chernin Entertainment to adapt Missile Command for the big screen with scribes Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama set to write the script. Joining the fun as producers will be Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark. Sharpless and Sazama worked together on the scripts for the Flash Gordon reboot and the upcoming Dracula Year Zero, while Chernin is working on Rise of the Apes and a Moses movie mentioned last year.
Missile Command, like most 80s arcade games, has a pretty straight-forward premises – shoot missiles from three missile bases to intercept an incoming barrage of enemy missiles before they can destroy your six cities. How Sharpless and Sazama are expected to write a complete and intelligent story around that is going to be interesting to see, but I’m sure James Cameron will voice his displeasure with this film as well (should they opt to go the 3D route, at least).
Most modern video games, like Uncharted and BioShock have richly developed background stories already in place and are easier to adapt than most of the game movies now in development. Battleship, Ouija, Risk, Monopoly – while all of those games are recognizable brands to general audiences, none of them have a set canon from which writers can produce a familiar story.
Studios and game developers are going to continue to receive eye-rolling and heavy sighing from the gaming and movie community (who else would they be targeting with a movie like this), so long as they continue to adapt games people haven’t played in decades. We even took a tongue-in-cheek stab at them in our 1001 Ridiculous but Possible Upcoming Video Game Movies article.
No is no release date set for Missile Command.
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