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Video game adaptations expand the lore for new audiences

Film adaptations add a layer of depth that most games do not offer. Since watching the Mario film, I now have a pocket full of extra information about most of the playable characters and their role/purpose. 

Video game adaptations have been on the rise, and from the perspective of a non-gamer, I am enjoying this trend. I have played Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. inconsistently for years. As much as the characters feel familiar, I never knew the story behind each of them. I could only assume each characters connections to one another.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was just released this month and it was filled with jokes that landed, a simple timeless story and many Easter eggs from the video games that any fan can find. It is versatile, as any person could watch and enjoy the fun characters, the bright atmosphere, and the unique worlds. You don’t need to play the bundles of Mario games to sit, watch and escape into the movie. 

I think that TV adaptations add a layer of depth that most games do not offer. Since watching the Mario film, I now have a pocket full of extra information about most of the playable characters and their role/purpose. 

Many gamers do not like film or television adaptations of their favorite games, despite the high viewership and success. There is always a risk when bringing one thing into a new form of media – books and games are often adapted into movies or shows to bring them to a wider audience. 

A common goal companies aim to achieve is to reboot something to earn a profit. Warner Brothers announced that they are creating a new Harry Potter series, and Lionsgate announced they are creating a new Twilight series, both adaptations more faithful to the books. And while movie-to-TV series adaptations give audiences more screen time to focus on smaller, more detailed moments, I believe that the Mario movie has done the same for all of the games. The movie makes the world bigger, and gives audiences unforgettable moments that were not included in the game. 

Passion is what makes or breaks these adaptations. The companies creating these movies and shows want to please the fans. They want to create a sense of nostalgia for the things that came before, while creating something new that can grip a new generation of fans. 

In 2020, after delays, Sega released “Sonic the Hedgehog.” It was a live-action, “realistic” reimagining of the classic Sonic games. When the first teaser came out, fans were very vocal about their disappointment with the character design. Sonic ultimately did not look right. His features looked too human. Sega decided that it would be for the best to redesign Sonic and redo the movie to make the viewing experience better for fans. With a design that was more pleasing to the eye, it became the highest-grossing video game movie of all time, beat out in 2022 by its sequel. 

From a different perspective, I can understand the hesitancy in accepting something you love reimagined into something new. When I was younger, I hated when the books I loved were made into movies. I loved book series like “The Hunger Games,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and “Divergent, and was disappointed when parts of the books were left out. But when it comes to games, there is a lot of context-filling that happens when creating movies or shows. Even in storybased games like “The Last of Us– HBO released its adaptation of the game this winter, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. The show has been praised for staying true to the original game while making small changes that make the story work for the screen. It leaves more room for suspense and character development.

Sometimes these adaptations work, and sometimes they fail. As with everything that has ever been released, there is always a risk. But for the chance to start a franchise, to connect with fans and give them a notable experience, it is most definitely worth it. The Super Mario Bros. franchise now has the ability to create new content that focuses on more characters and storylines. Ultimately, adaptations can be scary for loyal fans, but they introduce the stories we love to new fans.

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