Most official movie tie-in video games are terrible, which has lead to a quarter-century drought of desirable licensed movie games. Aside from Blade Runner, Disney’s Aladdin and Goldeneye on the N64, you can pretty much cast them all into the fires of hell.
8 Bit Cinema takes movies and turns them into short, animated retro-inspired video game sequences. The show runs on the movie-obsessed CineFix YouTube channel, and fuses elements from both classic games and notable films into a few short minutes of pop culture genius.
For the record, 8 Bit Cinema is just a name – many of these remakes would undoubtedly have required 16-bit hardware (Genesis and SNES era) were they to exist in the real world.
Pulp Fiction makes perfect sense as a side-scrolling mid-90s shooter, particularly when the movie’s disorderly series of events is put into chronological order. This version combines shoot-outs, a rhythm game “dance simulator” and button-bashing bonus round that rewards you for cleaning all of Marvin’s skull and brains off the back seat.
If you’re sick of Frozen, you probably haven’t seen it in its true glory: as a top-down Chrono Trigger clone. It’s surprising how well the plot of this all-singing, all-dancing Disney production works as a SNES-era RPG, complete with Olaf the lockpicking snowman.
Were it not for the comic book, the Sin City movie could have easily been based on some obscure 1980s arcade platformer. As is expected, the Streets of Rage-esque scrolling beat ’em up formula applies perfectly, with the movie’s gloomy locations and monstrous baddies setting the perfect, pixel-dense scene.
An unlikely addition to the list, Mean Girls doesn’t exactly spring to mind as a particularly good 8-bit cover – except when it’s a retro Japanese dating simulator. Watch the 2004 Linsday Lohan comedy re-imagined, complete with an 8-bit soundtrack and craftable revenge items.
Had The Matrix been released ten years earlier, there’s a real chance something resembling this 2D side-scrolling adventure game would have made it into arcades. With a hero in a trenchcoat, a suited antagonist who can replicated himself and suitably impressive special moves list in the form of bullet time, I’m starting to think this is the lick of (retro) paint the franchise needs in 2015.
I’m pretty sure Stanley Kubrick’s Stephen King adaptation inspired many haunted house simulators, most of which probably looked something like this. In fact, I distinctly remember playing a 1991 DOS haunted house simulator called Last Half of Darkness (now abandonware) that took a hearty helping of inspiration from The Shining.
Obvious comparisons with Ecco The Dolphin aside, Finding Nemo’s retro makeover probably ends up more closely resembling fondly remembered Amiga platformer James Pond. Oddly enough the official Game Boy Advance Finding Nemo game somewhat resembled this, except it was probably rubbish (like every other officially licensed movie tie-in).
Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
The body count, the bosses, the swords, that motorbike – just a few of the things that make this arguably one of the best films to undergo the 8 Bit Cinema treatment so far. Just like The Matrix cover above, a well-produced 2D side-scrolling platformer based on the Kill Bill IP would probably make a lot of movie fans and gamers very pleased.
An obvious choice for an 8 Bit Cinema cover, this remix manages to blend several genres of classic games – including top down and side-scrolling space shooters – into a retro-inspired romp that will bring a smile to your Trekkie face. If you do actually want to experience a real, retro-styled Star Trek game then check out Trexels.
Behind The Scenes of 8 Bit Cinema
So just how do you turn some of your favourite movies into pretend retro video games? This video should give you the insight you need to attempt a similar project of your own. The key with pixel art is to hold back on detail till you have just enough that people will obviously recognise your character. It also helps if you have someone to make chiptune for you!
Watch Them All!
There are currently 40 separate retro remakes of movies, with a new episode uploaded each week (with many potential movies left for future episodes). You can watch all of the completed 8 Bit Cinema episodes right here:
What would you like to see on 8 Bit Cinema next?