Notoriously bad

Early film-to-video game adaptations (1982–1994) 1

Authored by: Riccardo Fassone

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:


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In October 2015 I spent three weeks in Rochester, New York, perusing the archives of The Strong National Museum of Play. I was granted access to an extensive library, a host of archival material, and several collections of design documents, letters, and contracts donated by toy manufacturers, game designers, collectors, and enthusiasts. I also visited the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, a series of neon-lit rooms that looked like a consumerist fantasy of my fourteen-year-old self: shelves full of consoles, old video games, arcane and rare controllers, remnants of both the grand history of video games and of short-lived, largely forgotten gaming fads. I quickly became the researcher playing bad games. Archivists would walk by my CRT TV 2 and inquire about a sub-par platformer starring a digital rendition of Macaulay Culkin, or a take on Terminator 2: Judgement Day ( James Cameron, 1991) that looked nothing like the film and relied on an ominous 16-bit version of a T-800 to convey a sense of aesthetic consistency. My research project, devoted to the reconstruction of a history of film-to-game adaptations, had tapped into a largely unexplored corpus of unaccomplished, dysfunctional, unbalanced, and often just plain bad video game design.

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