Top 10 Cinematic Video Game Studios

November 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

Top 10 Cinematic Game Studios

People go to the movies for a cinematic experience.  Video games can provide a similar experience with an added level of immersion and interactivity.  Over the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with video games that play out like movies.

We’ve been given countless movie like experiences in video games but today I’d like to focus on the studios behind them.  The top 10 cinematic game studios.


I’m currently wrapped up in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  It’s been dominating most of my free time for a while.  Giant RPGs are tricky because they don’t really present a single narrative but that’s also an advantage.  The ‘movie’ is different for every single player depending on the choices they make.

The big draw in games like Skyrim is the world itself.  Bethesda Softworks creates incredibly detailed and wonderful worlds to explore.

10. BLIZZARD – World of Warcraft

You hear stories about divorces being blamed on Azeroth.  While I never got into World of Warcraft, I was completely obsessed with the Warcraft real time strategy games.  It was worth it for the cut scenes alone.  Blizzard has always created amazing animated cut scenes that weave their plots together between the action.  These scenes have always been beautiful and compelling.

Is there a movie?

Sam Raimi has long been attached to a World of Warcraft adaptation but nothing concrete has come along in a while.  If you want to follow the film (or the rumors) check out this site.

9. ROCKSTEADY – Batman: Arkham Asylum

In my humble opinion, the geniuses at Rocksteady created the best superhero video game of all time when they unleashed Batman: Arkham Asylum.  At least until they topped it with an equally brilliant and fun sequel, Arkham City.  These games are love letters to superhero fans with tons of hidden references and cameos.   People want to be Batman and these games are the closest thing to it.

The real stand out here are the voice actor’s amazing performances.  Especially Mark Hamill as The Joker.

Is there a movie?

You really can’t plan a Batman movie until Christopher Nolan wraps up his legendary trilogy when The Dark Knight Rises is released.  Still, I’m sure Warner Brothers is already planning some kind of sequel/reboot/remake/re imagining…  Thing.  It’s not a stretch to think they have considered these games at some point.  Though I’m thinking Nolan will return as a producer and the series will continue the amazing style and tone he developed and mastered.

8. SQUARE ENIX – Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is one of the most recognizable video game franchises on the planet.  It’s a world that has already inspired numerous film adaptations.

Is there a movie?

Yes.  Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released in 2011 with Advent Children following in 2005.


Hideo Kojima is a legend. Of all the franchises listed here without a movie, Metal Gear is by far the most surprising. No movie yet? Come on Hollywood!

Is there a movie?

It’s listed on IMDB but right now it’s safe to say no movie will be coming any time soon.

6. BIOWARE – Mass Effect

I’m obsessed with the Mass Effect series.  This is literally an infinite universe that Bioware has created full of amazing characters and massive battles.  Not only is the series a blast to play but it allows you to carry your character over to the sequels.  Nice!  I can’t wait for my character’s third adventure aboard The Normandy.

Is there a movie?

Legendary Pictures are currently developing a Mass Effect movie.


Grand Theft Auto 3 changed the way we looked at games forever. It paved the way for so many incredibly deep sandbox games. Grand Theft Auto 4 raised the bar and with the anticipated 5th installment on the way, you would think Hollywood would capitalize on the franchise’s popularity right? Everyone loves a good heist movie and these games are packed with cinematic heist sequences. Not too mention cars, crime, violence and more.  Somebody make a Grand Theft Auto summer action movie please?

Is there a movie?

A little digging revealed some rights issues behind the scenes but there hasn’t been a ton of talk out there about getting a production started.


I would love to see the world of Rapture on the big screen.  The original Bioshock had one of the best stories I’ve ever played through.  I was totally captivated by the world, the art style, the Big Daddy/Little Sister relationships, the twists and so much more.  (Jean Dujardin as Andrew Ryan?  I don’t mean to type cast the guy but it could definitely work.)

Is there a movie?

A while back, Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) was on board and Bioshock was in the early stages of pre-production.

However, budget issues forced the project to the sidelines.  This movie has to happen and it HAS to be R rated.  I’m happy waiting as long as they don’t sacrifice the elements that made the game so memorable.

XTRA | Wouldn’t it be Awesome if the Bioshock movie happened?

3. BUNGIE – Halo

Halo redefined the first person shooter when it was released in 2001. It introduced us to an action hero made for the big screen. Master Chief. The game is full of imaginative and exciting set pieces that MUST be filmed eventually… Right?

Is there a movie?

Peter Jackson led a team that included director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) in a phenomenal pairing that every geek loved…

Unfortunately budget issues at Microsoft put a stop to it and they moved on. To date, no official word has surfaced on the Halo movie.


The Modern Warfare franchise pretty much functions as a movie already.  Each level is full of amazing heart stopping moments.  I still go back and play the sniper level from the first Modern Warfare.  Crawling on that grass hoping to avoid capture gets me every time.  Great franchise.

Is there a movie?

Nope.  Still no word in any official capacity.  You have to assume that somewhere there is a studio agonizing over who would play Soap if they ever made a movie…  All I found was a couple old articles on MTV and /Film.  However, you can’t ignore the original games or the recent Black Ops either…


THE cinematic video game experience.  The Uncharted series has successfully blurred the line between video games and movies.  When you play Uncharted, you ARE Nathan Drake and you are most definitely IN a movie.

Is there a movie?

David O. Russell was gearing up to direct Uncharted with Mark Walberg attached to star.  The casting alone caused some controversy as many fans out there wanted Nathan Fillion to win the role.  Just when people got used to the idea of David O. Russell’s approach to the material the project fell apart.  What intrigued me were the rumors that Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci would potentially be involved.

This movie WILL happen especially after the huge success of Uncharted 3.  It’s just a matter of when and who the artists behind the project will be.

Branding A Movie Blog: The Athletic Nerd

April 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

Branding A Movie Blog: The Athletic Nerd | Movies, Screenwriting & Independent Film


The Athletic Nerd is now close to 3 years old and has evolved a ton over the years.  Slowly, I’ve carved out an identity for this blog and the graphic look has been gradually improved along the way.  Regular readers probably hopefully noticed a couple new banners, ads and post headers popping up over the last few months.

Branding is definitely key when it comes to first impressions.  Long ago, my blog was hideous…  It’s okay you can say it.  With so many fantastic looking blogs out there, you have to be able to compete when it comes to design.  So today, I’m unveiling the one thing I felt The Athletic Nerd was lacking.  An official logo!

Graphic design is a tricky thing for someone with no training and no ‘official’ experience.  For years, I’ve relied on tutorials online and my obsession with Photoshop to get by.  I’m sure design professionals will spot flaws I’m unaware of but I like it.  I wanted something simple that could be implemented in a variety of ways.  For now, I’m sticking with the header image above and the odd advertisement but you’ll see it all over the place in time.  In the end, I wanted something that could stand up next to the blog’s tagline:

Movies, Screenwriting & Independent Film

Hope you like the new logo.  Stay tuned for a more updates including a brand new series which should be unveiled towards the end of next month!

Click here to check out my about page and email me at with any comments, questions or suggestions.

Thanks for visiting!


10 Flicks: Box Office Favorites

January 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

10 Flicks Movie Lists

I’m a proud movie nerd.

We’ve covered that so it shouldn’t surprise anyone who reads this blog that I follow box office numbers closely.  The only place I go for box office information online is Box Office Mojo.

Recently, I was checking the all time domestic numbers and decided to see if I could narrow the top 100 down to 10.  Can you?

Click here to see the Top 100

So here are my 10 favorite box office moneymakers.

Honourable Mention: Avatar, 300, The Sixth Sense, Saving Private Ryan

Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 4

#4 – $460,998,007

I adore the original trilogy and enjoyed the prequels but A New Hope will always be my favorite. (Followed closely by Empire Strikes Back.)

XTRA | If I Could Only Recommend ONE Science Fiction Film



#9 – $403,706,375

It may not be my favorite superhero movie of all time but it certainly paved the way for some of the most entertaining movies in history.

“Go web go!”

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King

Lord Of The Rings

#12 – $377,027,325

It’s tough to pick one movie when all three are in the top 100.  I look at the series and see one giant incredible movie but I had to pick one so ROTK was the winner.

XTRA | Movies That Changed Everything: The Lord of the Rings


Transformers Optimus Prime

#22 – $319,246,193

Even though I absolutely hated the sequel, the original is one of the most entertaining popcorn movies I’ve ever seen on the big screen.  It had giant fighting robots and some of the best and most complex visual effects ever created.

XTRA | Transformers 3?  Apology accepted Michael Bay

Independence Day

Independence Day Area 51 Attack

#30 – $306,169,268

Will Smith is my favorite actor.  I’m one of the reasons his movies always make 100 million+ in theaters.  Independence Day will always be one of the greats.  ID4 is a perfect example of a huge box office blockbuster.  Big stars, big FX and big thrills.

XTRA | Wouldn’t it be awesome if Independence Day 2 was about…



#70 – $227,966,634

I talk about Signs a lot on this site. I even thought about leaving it off this list to avoid ‘Signs fatigue’.  However, I simply couldn’t bring myself to leave my all time favorite movie off the list.

The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded Trinity

#41 – $281,576,461

It’s ambitious, it’s explosive, it’s cool and it’s confusing.  It was once the record holder for most anticipated movie until it was toppled by The Dark Knight years later.

XTRA | What THE MATRIX screenplay taught me


Twister Helen Hunt Tornado

#61 – $241,721,524

Twister may surprise some people but I’ve always loved this movie.  When I was a kid, I used to be terrified of tornado warnings.  This eventually ignited an interest in weather and this movie came along right in the middle of that childhood obsession.  Twister is a fun movie. Plain and Simple.

Jurassic Park


#15 – $357,067,947

To this day, I’m still fascinated by how well the effects stand up compared to today’s standards.  Such a fun movie.

The Dark Knight


#3 – $533,345,358

My second favorite movie ever.  I’ve never been so excited to see a movie in my entire life and to have the film deliver on all the hype was amazing.

Try narrowing down your own list of 10 box office favorites.  It’s not that easy.

All Time Best: Movie Argument

January 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

All Time Best: Movie Argument | You Can't Handle The Truth


Best movie arguments…  I thought about it for a while and came up with my favorite and it’s no surprise it also happens to be one of my favorite movies as well.  A Few Good Men.

All Time Best: Movie Argument | You Can't Handle The Truth A Few Good Men

Cruise vs Nicholson

Watching Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee ‘thunder away’ at Colonel Nathan Jessup was by far the best on screen arguments I’ve ever seen.  It’s certainly among the top from a screenwriting perspective and how can you not find the phenomenal performances compelling.  Every second of A Few Good Men leads to this epic confrontation and it delivers.

Kaffee vs Jessup.  The all time best movie argument…

“Are we clear!”

XTRA | All Time Best: Angry Movie Rant

How To Survive The Boo Box

January 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

How To Escape From The Boo Box | Hook 1991


I often think about The Boo Box from Steven Spielberg’s Hook.  It’s been haunting me for decades now.  So let’s talk about it…

XTRA | Rainy Sunday: Hook

First of all, what kind of an idiot admits to doubting his Captain that quickly! Especially when your Captain is Hook!  You have to lie if you doubt your captain.  Honesty means nothing to the steel handed stingray.  Also, why bother showing your face on that ship in the first place? You know he’s going to find out by asking you a simple question.  People who get the Boo Box sentence make me sad…

So here are some tips on how to survive The Boo Box.

  1. Don’t doubt your Captain!
  2. Once in the boo box, calm down and locate the scorpions. Try not to make too many sudden movements. However, it’s important to keep yelling slightly so they don’t think you’ve read this post and have a foolproof survival method.
  3. Once you’ve located the scorpions KILL THEM! They are just scorpions! Work quickly because you only have a limited amount of time before people get suspicious.
  4. Once they are dead, kick the screaming into high gear. You should be in pain. Really sell it.
  5. Make sure to pinch yourself really hard so there are bite marks.
  6. Once they open the box you’re on your own.  These tips only help you escape death by scorpions. Which is why #7 is the most important tip…
  7. Don’t doubt your Captain!

This poor pirate didn’t have a chance but he didn’t even put up a fight.  He just broke down and cried.  It’s unfortunate…  I’m still terrified of the boo box.

…  Do you think The Boo Box is meant to kill someone or simply punish them?