Movies get their source material from a lot of places. Take this year’s Best Picture nominees, for example. Hacksaw Ridge was based on a true story, Arrival on a true story, and Fences on a play. Even video games, with their fantastical worlds and stories, have inspired a lot of movies. Here are some, however, that never saw the light of day.
Asteroids was an arcade hit early on in the history of video games. As such, it wasn’t very complicated or elaborately rendered—the player controlled a “spaceship” (a white triangle) that shot lasers (white lines) to break up asteroids (white outlined shapes). In 2009, Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich announced plans to turn Asteroids into a big-budget sci-fi CGI extravaganza, about refugees from Earth who settle in an asteroid belt and have to fight not asteroids, but aliens. It’s been nearly a decade, and Asteroids still hasn’t broken forth.
This spooky, haunted-castle based game (it’s about Dracula, and some vampire slayers) was a big hit on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the late ’80s. In 2005, a company called Crystal Sky Pictures announced that it was going to make a horror-thriller based on the game, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who had directed other video game-derived movies, such as Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil. The 2007 Hollywood writers strike killed the movie, although Saw franchise creator James Wan tried to revive it in 2009, to no avail.
The whole point of this series of interactive games is that the player gets to create their own characters and worlds, so the appeal of a passive movie based on the game is hard to see. Nevertheless, in 2007, 20th Century Fox announced a movie version of The Sims, written by Scary Movie 3 writer Brian Lynch in which the inhabitants of a Sims game discover that they are stuck in a video game and being controlled by video game players. Neither this live-action movie, along with an animated Sims series, never happened.
Another simulation game, this one lets users build and operate their own theme park, designing as many death-defying thrill rides as they like. In 2010, studios were interested in making this into a Toy Story or A Night at the Museum-style movie about an amusement park that springs to life at night when no humans are around. Rollercoaster Tycoon never got built up past the script stage.