As one of the most popular leisure-time activities, games – in their many forms – are a core part of modern entertainment, as well as an essential element of contemporary pop culture.
The same is also true of the movie industry. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how gaming has worked its way into TV and cinema.
The Game of Kings
With the unquestionably influential power they possess, movies and TV shows have proved on numerous occasions that they can shape audiences’ minds. There is no shortage of memorable big-screen moments that started a fashion trend, a dance craze or affected people in some other way.
Older viewers surely remember how to perform the Time Warp dance from The Rocky Horror Picture Show or how cool it was to show up at a party wearing Ray-Ban glasses after Tom Cruise led the way in not one, but two of his films (Top Gun and Risky Business).
Similarly, a more recent production from Netflix has also made some waves in the minds of consumers. The well-received 2020 miniseries The Queen’s Gambit has played a big role in making chess a hot gaming trend. Multiple sources reported a spike in chess-related Google searches, a skyrocketing viewership of chess games on Twitch, and even a substantial increase in the sales of chess equipment.
Whether filmmakers themselves tend to be inspired by games like poker and blackjack, or, rather, the games gained more recognition because of motion pictures, it remains true that card games have long inspired both movies and television shows.
From The Cincinnati Kid and Maverick to Rounders and 21, numerous high-profile productions have kept us entertained with exciting stories about high-stakes competitions and putting everything in a line.
Despite numerous depictions of card gaming featuring in the movies, a typical storyline centers around the journey of extraordinarily-gifted individuals. Being more than familiar with texas holdem rules or blackjack winning strategies, these characters know exactly how to establish dominance, using both their superior mathematical skills and analytical thinking skills.
Never has there been a game with more dramatic consequences as those depicted in the 1995 fantasy adventure film Jumanji. The plot focuses on a magical and mysterious board game that, when played, discharges all sorts of hazards onto the world.
When two unsuspecting siblings find the game, they release a peculiar character, Alan – portrayed by Robin Williams – who has been trapped in a dangerous jungle for decades. He was dragged in by the game when he played it as a boy in 1969.
The game releases all sorts of dangers as it’s played, including giant mosquitos, swarms of monkeys, and a man-eating lion, but the only way to stop it is to finish the game at all costs. There’s just one caveat, all the original players from 1969 have to play too.
The movie, loosely based on the book written by Chris Van Allsburg, even had its own spin-offs in the form of an animated television series and a film, Zathura: A Space Adventure directed by Jon Favreau.
Two direct sequels, starring Dwayne Johnson, were also made in 2017 and 2019.