Video games have been increasing in popularity since its origins back in the late 1960's and 70's. Then in the 1980's Nintendo came out with Mario and it soon became a global phenomenon. Eventually the popularity became so huge that a live action Mario Movie was in the works. The movie was an international release and with it, set a standard for all other later video game movies. They suck.
This movie set a standard and unfortunately a good number of international video game movies and an even larger number of direct to video releases of video game movies are generally bad and un-watchable. Other examples include DOOM, BloodRayne, Hitman, Street Fighter, Lara Croft, and Final Fantasy. These movies have had a generally bad reception and didn't do very well in the box office.
On the other side though we have good or at least decent video game movies. Mortal Kombat is a good example of a decent video game movie. This movie came out during a time when the understanding and appreciation for video games was growing and as a result has been given positive reviews and a decent box office. It may not have had all the gruesome R-rated material that hard core gamer's wanted but it seemed to capture the essence of the movie. Another example would be Resident Evil Franchise. The movies have the spirit of Resident Evil but with different and new characters. The Resident Evil Franchise stars Milla Jovovich as Alice the main character. The earlier movies of the franchise are different from the games but over time the the later movies include more characters from the game series and more of a connection back to the games.
Despite the negative history for these films, this type of genre still has great potential. Video games have grown in its complexity and story telling. Technology has also progressed to the point that some of the cinematic cut scenes looks as good as a Pixar Film. Finally we are now in a time when there has been at least one generation that has been exposed to video games on such a level that its become second nature to them and some of the characters have become household names.
With this generation comes a generation of directors who are also possibly gamers. For example we have Duncan Jones, who is directing the up and coming Warcraft movie coming out this year. Jones has stated in many interviews that he loves games as he has grown up with them. He also knows that video game movies have been given the short end of the stick and with Warcraft he would like to right the wrongs of Game Movie past.
At the same time, with this great potential, there are levels of uncertainty like with the new Assassins Creed movie. The movie has Michael Fassbender playing the lead, and while he is a good actor, the man has stated that he has never played the video game series before he was signed on to the project.
The director of Assassins Creed the movie hasn't mentioned that he has played the game series but has mentioned how important the game series is to many people and that the game series has many layers of thought and history.
My final thought is this, if we want good video game movies, then we need directors who have an understanding and a connection to video games like Duncan Jones. You need to to know the material inside an out before starting a massive project like a video game movie. Also on a side note, what video games would you like to be adapted into movies? My list includes Halo, Dead Space, Mass Effect, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid, Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Splinter Cell, The Witcher, Deus Ex, and possibly Borderlands.