AsteroidsThe latest drop in an ever-flowing ocean of noodle-scratching decisions from Hollywood concerns yet another big budget adaptation of a popular video game. We’ve seen plenty of them already: Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Doom, Wing Commander, Max Payne, the list goes on. These games have one thing in common: they were all made relatively recently or have sequels that were made relatively recently (within the last 15 years, say) and used relatively sophisticated interfaces, meaning there was, at the very least – the very very least – more a handful of different colours.

Not so for tinsel town’s latest adaptation-acquisition, Asteroids, the Atari video game originally released in 1979 in which users controlled a floating triangle ‘space ship’ to ‘shoot’ and dodge what appeared to be crude looking kindergarten line drawings. Universal reportedly snagged the rights after a four studio bidding war, which strikes me as odd for a couple of reasons: a) Asteroids never had even the slimmest of storylines, so the screenwriters will have to make it up from scratch and b) brand recognition has been severely dinted over the decades, so it doesn’t come with much marketing clout. The title is so general-sounding anyway that many audiences simply won’t make the connection between the movie and the video game (and would you want them to?). This’d be in contrast to a Pacman movie or a Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? movie or – *gasp!* – a Pong movie. Knowing tinsel town’s propensity for raiding the closets of nostalgia and dragging cultural relics onto the big screen, injecting the creatively dead with a ghastly afterlife and then flogging them relentlessly, these titles may not actually be that far away. And – here I said it – if Pacman gets the green light, it’d be a true blue travesty if Bert Newton wasn’t at least screen tested for the main part.

Head over here to play Asteroids online – but only after you’ve done your homework – and just watch the hours whittle away.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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