The Best Series and Movies Based on Videogame Universes

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Several games get through the barriers of the genre and invade the streaming and cinema world. Some and widely criticized by their presentation, while other, more recently, became acclaimed by fans. Check out, in this list, the best movies and series of recent times which were based on games!

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It’s a fact that there is a pattern inside the geek demographic, many movie fans are also players, so it was just a matter of time before companies combined these two universes to further captivate the community, reframing the stories and universes from big games into the screen of a movie or series.

For years, a lot of these were not successful, being heavily criticized by the specialized media and fans of their respective games. Lately, though, the adaptations of games into movies and series have gotten appreciation and praise from the audience, becoming iconic inside and out of their audience circles.


Check out, in this article, some of the main movies and series based on games which have found huge success!

Super Mario Bros: The Movie

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Mario Bros is a gaming classic and a worldwide phenomenon ever since the Super Nintendo and up to the current times, and in 2023 finally received its cinema-worthy adaptation, unlike the first movie released in 1993.

With fantastic animation, the plot revolves around the lives of Mario and Luigi, two plumbers who live in Brooklyn and are starting up a new business.

One day, they find themselves in the Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by Princess Peach. The kingdom is under threat from Bowser, the Koopa King, who intends to rule the nearby regions and plans to marry Peach. The princess logically disagrees with Bowser’s actions and denies allying herself with him, so Mario and Luigi embark on this adventure to save the kingdom.

Full of easter eggs and having extraordinary audiovisual features, Super Mario Bros: The Movie was very well rated both by the public and by specialists.

Sonic: The Movie

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Another classic video game personality, Sonic made his debut on the big screen in February 2020, after getting heavily criticized because of the hedgehog’s visual design. This fact initially pushed many fans away from watching the movie, but the production team got this issue sorted in time and turned the design of the character not only more friendly, but also closer to his official in-game design.

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In the movie, Sonic gets out of his home world and, through magical rings, travels to Earth. At a certain point, his supersonic powers caught the attention of the authorities and of a scientist, Dr. Eggman, an otherworldly being with unique abilities. He has help from a friend he met to hide himself and ultimately defeat the villain.

The acting is amazing, with a highlight on Jim Carrey as Dr. Eggman, on top of a fun and concise script. The changes in Sonic’s visuals were fundamental to the positive repercussion of the movie, perfect for a family night, and was one of the best rated by critics and audiences.

Two years later, it got a sequel, which managed to reach even greater acceptance compared to the previous title.

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Five Nights at Freddy's

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Released in October 2023, the much expected Five Nights at Freddy's movie had great audience reception.

The story follows Mike, a young man who has deeply realistic dreams involving unresolved situations from his past, and is fired from his job due to that. With no way to make money, the protagonist is about to be without a roof over his head and lose custody of his only company: Abby, his younger sister. To avoid this tragic end, Mike takes a job which is suspicious to say the least, as a night guard in an out-of-business pizzeria.


There is a noticeable absence of horror and some technical flaws, such as the script having a few plot holes, which got negative reviews from the media. However, the movie aimed to please its more enthusiastic and engaged audience, with several easter eggs related to the games and books in the franchise, and reached this goal masterfully.

It might not be the best option for the media and spectators in general, due also to its low budget ($ 20 millions). But the movie was charming and enthralling to the fans who are more knowledgeable about the franchise.

See the difference between the critics and public score in Rotten Tomatoes:

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Based on the League of Legends universe, Arcane arrived at Netflix in 2021 and instantly became a phenomenon. It won awards in every single category it was nominated for in the 2022 Annie Awards, an event known as the “animation Oscar”.

In the animated series, we are presented to the difficult relationship between the sisters Vi and Powder (Jinx), giving context which precedes their stories in League, where they take entirely different paths due to circumstances explained in the episodes. Another important factor is the rising tensions between the neighboring cities Piltover and Zaun, where the Zaunites are marginalized by political and social aspects coming from Piltover, bringing about the threat of a civil war.

Arcane managed to please not only the diehard fans, but also the critics. We can claim excellency not only in technical aspects such as animation, dubbing and script, but also in the obvious care that was put into telling and respecting the story and particularities of each character coming from the game.

The success and acceptance was so great that Netflix has already confirmed the second season, coming November 2024.

The Last of Us

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Another acclaimed title to get a series of its own was The Last of Us, which at the start of 2023 was made available to the public on the streaming platform Max (former HBO Max).

It is set in a pandemic, dystopian future where humans can be infected by a fungus that turns them into cannibals, nearly wiping out our species. The survivors live in areas heavily controlled by the government, but everything changes when our main character Joel is hired to help a young girl, Ellie, escape this area. Allying themselves to a rebel group, they believe in the possibility of finding, inside the girl, immunity to the infection.

With great technical quality and fidelity to the base material, the series was incredibly well rated by both the media and public.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

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The piece from 2019 tells us about the disappearance of a detective called Harry Goodman, Pikachu’s partner. His son then teams up with Pikachu, who has amnesia, and together they try to find clues in Ryme City to solve the mystery.


The pocket monsters have a realistic appearance which gets our attention, and the way the plot unravels is another aspect which pleased critics and, more importantly, fans.


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Fallout was the most recent adaptation of a game to become a successful series on streaming. Launched by Amazon Prime in April 2024, it was widely acclaimed by fans and critics for the number of references to previous games, in addition to bringing a story that enriches the universe of the franchise and brings an engaging story for both long-time fans and for those who have never had contact with games.

With a dozen parodies and criticisms of the American imagination, Fallout follows a resident of one of the “vaults” built as nuclear shelters, Lucy MacLean, who is forced to leave the comfort of the shelter to find her father in the outside world, full of dangers and consequences of a nuclear catastrophe.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

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To bring this list to a perfect end, the production here with the highest approval, according to Rotten Tomatoes, was the anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, released in September 2022. It’s worth noticing it holds the title of “Anime of The Year” in 2022, granted by the Anime Awards.

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The success was so big it brought back the hype around the game, helping in Cyberpunk 2077’s big turnaroundlink outside website.

Even though the animation doesn’t retell the main Cyberpunk 2077 story, it’s set in the game universe, with the same corporations, ambience and futuristic society problems, but introducing us to new characters and villains.

Here, we have David Martinez as a protagonist, a young man with low income who lives with his mom. After a sudden event, explained in the very first episode, David finds himself with no means to pay his rent, among other issues. So, he decides to use a powerful military cyberware and meets Lucy, who invites him to join her gang of mercenaries.

The soundtrack is spectacular and all the twists and turns, betrayals and the unexpected ending bring a lot of emotion to the spectator.


I hope you liked this content, and I invite you to comment on some other movies or series which caught your attention, and which other IPs you’d like to see adaptations to other types of media!

See you next time!