In the last couple of years there has been an emerging trend in online filmmakers producing gritty, real world video game short films based on iconic characters.
In the last couple of days this trend continued with the release of “Four Players”, a set of four short films each focusing on one of the main characters from Super Mario Bros. So with that in mind here is a handy collection of all the Cultoid favourites for your viewing pleasure.
Let’s start with those four latest Mario films:
By far my favourite is the Luigi film (The Addict) but I love the design and voice of Toad in The Soldier and the Chain Chompers in The Star. It’s just generally great to see such high production values in independent films like these.
Next up we have another short whose production values are high; so high that it may as well be playing alongside Hollywood blockbusters. Based on the Portal franchise, this film has an immersive story, taking great inspiration from Oldboy. It then deftly moves into a Sci Fi wonderland with incredible effects work and a nice twist at the end.
Are you still here? Still thirsty for more? Well good, because now we move on to a film that looks like Tron on steroids! This is a vision of Pac-Man like you’ve never seen before. The first scenes are a bit shaky in terms of hammy acting and unconvincing backgrounds, but stick with it. Once the hungry yellow ball gets to work it is seriously good fun; some great POV shots and excellent creature designs really make this work.
A couple of beat-em-up homages next. I love how both of these shorts are filmed. The first is a take on Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter with some great choreography and nice use of slow motion. The next is something you’ve most probably seen before; Kevin Tancharoen’s Mortal Kombat Rebirth, which went on to be commissioned as two complete web series. Even if you have seen it already, it’s great to revisit, and I’m still hopeful for a brilliant Mortal Kombat movie one day (I do stick up for the 1995 movie whenever I can but I always feel I’m fighting a losing battle).
So we finish with easily the longest film on the list, but it’s well worth setting aside the 18 minutes required to see the whole thing. This is a take on Sonic the Hedgehog that brilliantly mixes elements of real world trappings with all the things that make the video game so much fun. Again the production values are high, and like the Portal film above, the music is particularly impressive.
I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. If there are any other Video Game short films you feel I am missing then drop a comment underneath and I’ll add them in.