Many games have appeared in movies ever since Hollywood started pumping them out. Video games, real life games, gambling games: Almost every movie ever made had at least one type of game featured in them. Gaming has had a huge effect on both society and pop culture, setting trends and creating hypes when anything new is released.
However, it’s not just the new, latest games that have had an effect on pop culture, as old, famous and traditional games such as bingo still remain classics. There are many well-known games, all considered classics today, that many of us have in our homes and which have appeared in big money films. From board games (notorious for causing family rows), to activities like Bingo, they’ve all been featured in cinema hits (and a few misses, as well).
What’s interesting is the sheer variety of games to appear in Hollywood blockbusters, with some films even being named after the games that appear in them. Others rely on these games to deliver memorable scenes that stay with us long after the popcorn has been swept up from beneath the cinema seats. Here are four examples of films that have made games a key part of the film.
1. Clue (1985)
Known as Cluedo in the UK, Clue is a board game that many of us have enjoyed (or found utterly infuriating), as we have tried to prove that it was Colonel Mustard, in the Living Room, with the candlestick. But in 1985, an ambitious plan to turn this table-top classic into a film paid off wonderfully, and is still regarded as a classic to this day. Tim Curry’s character, Wadsworth, was hilarious and remains oft quoted, and the madcap caper, set in a spooky mansion still holds up against modern films as a classic.
2. Casino Royale (2006)
In Daniel Craig’s debut as 007, we witnessed him playing poker in a game with higher stakes than perhaps any other. Bond must pit his poker face against Le Chiffre (played by Mads Mikkelsen) who hardly plays a fair game. Bond steals, blinds and bullies his way to the final pairing, despite having to take five minutes out to deal with a poison-induced heart attack. We won’t give away who wins here, but it’s worth a watch. Poker has been around for centuries and is undeniably one of the world’s most popular card games. In this film, the tension and daring that comes with playing the game lends itself to creating an amazing atmosphere that will leave you shaken, not stirred.
3. Battleship (2012)
In a film that many in the cast and crew would probably like to forget, we see the valiant U.S. Navy taking on an extra-terrestrial threat that has taken to the world’s oceans, in a plotline that you wouldn’t imagine was possible to get from a children’s toy. In truth, ‘plotline’ might be too strong a word, but the likes of Liam Neeson and Rhianna almost certainly picked up a nice pay packet from what was a cinematic flop bankrolled by Hasbro, the game’s original creators. They did, of course, manage to work in several variations of the famous ‘you sunk my battleship’ line, but you’d have to be a really hardcore fan of this game to enjoy a movie that shares little more than a name with this toy box classic.
4. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Everyone loved the movie Hotel Transylvania. While mainly aimed at children, even older people enjoy this story about Count Dracula who’s so fed up with people that he creates a sort of sanctuary for all the creatures of the night. However, this sort of isolation causes the creatures to turn to bingo as a way to have fun. The bingo in the movie is fairly different than real life bingo. The balls aren’t exactly balls; they are tiny skulls that tell the number once you choose them. As always, the bingo stereotype is there and no one is reacting at all. At one point, an older women yells “Bingo!” but a monster next to her eats her winning card!
In most movies, games like these are used as light relief, but this list goes to show that they can either be the star of the film itself or a device for creating real suspense and drama.
What are your favorite appearances of games in films? And what games would you like to see receive the Hollywood treatment in the future? Sound off in the comments below!