ByTim Gruver, writer at
Freelance writer and self-professed geek. As seen on GamesRadar, CG Magazine, and We Got This Covered. Need a writer? Let's talk.

Video games are nothing new, but you wouldn’t always know that thanks to Hollywood. If we all had a nickel for every time we saw a movie not know what a game was, we would have Kickstarted the Super Mario Bros. movie we still (probably) deserve. Well-meaning or just plain weird, even Hollywood’s finest don’t seem to know a pixel from a voxel – literally.

So let’s find out just how many video game goofs we can spy with our little eye…

The Time Traveler’s Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker may have had the pleasure of having Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie on the same screen six years before The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but there was still one goof in shooter fans’ scopes. One scene shows us a young soldier blasting away on the original Gears of War while stationed in Iraq, but there’s something off with this scene in particular. The movie's events take place sometime in 2003. But the Xbox 360 didn’t store shelves until late 2005 and Gears didn’t make landfall until early 2006. Hence, Gears of War is just three years ahead of the curb.

This scene in the The Hurt Locker may have given us our first cameo by a cover shooter in an Oscar-winning film, but Gears Of War seems to be the first game to ever leap back through time with Marty McFly. Drop and give us twenty, Hurt Locker.

The Coin-op of Doom

Almost any first-person shooter fanatic over twenty can remember Doom II – and their moms probably did too. Doom II was more than just a top-notch FPS, it was the first to allow user modifications (or mods) on PC. To date, it never did get a coin-op machine. It did get a strange appearance in 1997's black comedy Grosse Pointe Blank, however. Thus, we can only assume the cab was built strictly for the movie for the purpose of a pretty decent gag. In one scene, it proves engrossing enough for a convenience store owner oblivious to the shoot out right behind him.

It's a shame that coin-ops are a thing of the past, but I bet people would be spending at least $60 playing Doom II as much the folks in Grosse Pointe Blank.

Final Fantasy VIII Gets Co-Op

The internet will tell you that the couch co-op is either dead or dying in the gaming sphere, but that didn't stop Charlie's Angels from giving it a nod. On the heels of the new millennium, it wouldn't have odd at all to see original Playstation hardware still being used prior to the Playstation 2. It would've been very unusual to see two kids playing co-op in Final Fantasy VII, mind you. As a single-player, turn-based role-playing game, it's doubtful you'd have had a friend quietly watching you play it for hours, much less with a controller of their own.

The scene appears to include one of its later levels, Balamb Garden, with neither child appearing very actively involved. Nothing's more boring than watching someone else play an RPG, so we can only imagine what the second kid must be thinking to just sit there and idly press buttons. That is, until a nearly naked Drew Barrymore stumbles out of their backyard pool.

50 Shades of Voxels

There was probably a period in history when people didn’t hate Adam Sandler movies – whenever that was. Pixels isn’t too likely to help us revisit that elusive point in time. For the uninitiated, Pixels sees Sandler and company fight off an alien invasion by creatures that just so happen to be based on retro video game characters, ones that contradict the movie’s very namesake.

The first problem? The title. Though the movie may be called “Pixels,” the attacking aliens are really composed of voxels. Pixels are 2D – not 3D. Oops.

The second problem comes up when a little kid "loses" the Donkey Kong finale. The onscreen message reads “game over." But this is only after the Mario character onscreen pulls all the pegs out of Donkey Kong's metal pedestal and throwing him to the ground. In reality, that would be game-over for the ape in question. Sandler, you owe that kid his money back.

The Power Glove is So Bad...And Imprecise

Todd Holland's Wizard may just be the best video game movie of all time, if not the most charming hour and-a-half long video game commercial ever. It's Wizard's hot-headed bully, Lucas, who provides one of the movie's smartest gaming nods. One scene see him playing Rad Racer with a Nintendo power glove, moving his hand like he's handling a real-life race car and making only the slightest turns.

Fans can pay in mind that at that time, the Nintendo Entertainment System only supported button prompts. In other words, it wouldn't be able to pick up the subtle movements of a power glove – even if you had the hands of a surgeon. Lucas would, in reality, never be able to make the godlike moves he makes onscreen. Instead, he'd be crashing instantly. Maybe that’s just how you play with power.

Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd Port Mortal Kombat to N64

By now, gamers are all the same in movies: they're the lazy man child, who would rather sit around jerking off to video games than going outside and making better friends. This stereotype can be found in Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin where the characters play yet to be released Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for the N64 in one weird scene.

The scene? Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen are jamming away at MK: Deadly Alliance with Rogen’s character apparently playing it with a third-party N64 controller. MK: Deadly Alliance never made it to the N64. Instead, it was made the Playstation 2, Xbox, and the GameCube. We can only imagine what Rogen and Rudd were really doing on set, if not zoning out in front of a blank screen.

Happiness is a warm gun...but not with RAGE

Unless you've lived under a rock, you've probably heard of Breaking Bad – you know, that super-popular TV show based around a chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin and his former student. It also paid something of a homage to id Software's RAGE. The seventh episode of the fourth season, "Problem Dog," lives up to its name as it shows our B-word loving man Jesse Pinkman playing the first-person shooter with a gun peripheral – not a controller.

As it turns out, the game lacks an onscreen gun, or even any movement at all. If it was a version made exclusively for the show, then that would explain why it's entirely on rails. If so, it’s the one time when an actor was actually playing a game right onscreen for once. Yeah Vince Gilligan, yeah science!

Rumble in the Bronx's Sega (Non) Game Gear

Jackie Chan is definitely the best at what he does – only what he does in Rumble in the Bronx is probably a big letdown to one little kid out there. In one funny and somewhat famous scene involving a game-less Sega Game Gear. Chan gives the handheld to a young, wheelchair-bound friend of his. We see little of the Game Gear from the front, but the back of the device, including its very empty game slot, is in plain view in a couple scenes.

What’s more, when the little guy is shown playing his “game,” the system is still empty. So why do we still hear something going on? Who knows? At least the little guy seems happy. It’s all about attitude, right?

What's the weirdest video game fail you've seen at the movies? Let us know in the comments below!


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