Two Classic Atari Video Games Are Getting Their Own Movies

2016 seems to be the year that Hollywood puts some serious muscle behind trying to turn video games into movies. While Ratchet and Clank was not the property that legitimized the medium, we still have Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed to look forward to. While the jury is still out on whether either of them will become a bonafide hit, that’s not stopping the studios from continuing to option video game titles for feature films. However, in a very different move, this time, the plan is go back to gaming’s classic era. A studio has partnered with Atari to turn Missile Command and Centipede into movies.

Deadline is reporting that Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, a production company previously responsible for 2 Guns and Mark Wahlberg’s Lone Survivor, has made a deal with Atari to turn the popular games into films. Both released in 1980, as coin-operated arcade games, Centipede was a rapid fire shooter where the player tried to blast away attacking pests, including spiders, fleas, and, yes, centipedes. Missile Command was a defense game in which the player protected six cities from incoming missiles, by blasting them with projectiles of their own. This isn’t the first time somebody has tried to turn Missile Command into a movie, but that attempt fizzled out.

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While both games are surely fondly remembered by anybody who spent the 1980s in video arcades losing quarters, or who grew with an Atari 2600, they might not be a gamer's first two choices for movie adaptations. Needless to say, video games from that era were light on any sort of story and were driven entirely by mechanics. While this gives any future screenwriter carte blanche to create their script, it also means that any future movie based on Missile Command would have a hard time actually feeling like the classic game. Sure, you can make a movie about heroes defending a city from an incoming missile attack, but how much will it really have to do with the video game?

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This isn’t the only place where E/F/O/ Films is trying to turn a vague concept into a film. They are also the company behind the attempt to make a Monopoly movie, based on the classic board game. As those of us who suffered through Battleship may remember, that’s not an easy task.

What do you think of movies based on Missile Command and Centipede? Which classic 1980s video games would you like to see turned into films?

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.