Top Five… Games

billandteddeathAs Freddie Mercury once sang, Play The Game. But which game do you like your movie stars to play? Reading this post requires one or more players.

Nothing heats a movie up like a little competition and below are some of my favourite scenes involving gameplay. I’ve tried to pick instances where the game at hand plays a small but integral role, as opposed to being a continuous thread throughout the movie. This is why Rollerball and The Running Man didn’t quite make the cut. However, that doesn’t mean films like that can’t make yours. Let us know your favourite ‘game’ scenes in the comments section below. Insert coins now…

5. Super Mario Bros 3 – The Wizard


Ah, The Wizard – everybody remembers it but nobody remembers watching it. Having caught it again last Christmas, it hit me that not only does it feature the wonder-years-ful Fred Savage, but also Beau Bridges, Christian Slater, Tobey Maguire and the girl who went on to be in Rilo Kiley. Impressive stuff. But not as impressive as seeing Super Mario Bros 3 for the first time. Effectively one big advert for Nintendo, The Wizard somehow manages to retain a sense of fun – way better than watching Vince Vaughn play Guitar Hero, anyway. Oh, and the Power Glove was pretty sweet too. Utterly pointless, but pretty sweet.

Watch the super Super Mario Bros 3 finale scene HERE. Those of you who had a Sega Master System II can skip down to the next entry.

4. Russian roulette – The Deer Hunter


From one of the funnest games of all time to one that is about as much fun as shooting yourself in the head. Russian roulette is a brutally effective plot device in Michael Cimino’s film, despite criticism that the deadly game was not played during the Vietnam War. The Russian roulette scene in the prisoner of war camp is harrowing enough, but the later game between Michael (Robert De Niro) and Nick (Christopher Walken) packs a bigger emotional punch. Great performances, great scene and an unforgettably horrible game.

Click HERE to watch the Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter.

3. Dejarik – Star Wars


Who didn’t want to play this when they first saw Star Wars? Forget lightsabers, the coolest thing in the galaxy far, far away is dejarik, sometimes known as vrax, the holographic chess-like game. Like chess, it’s played on a board. Unlike chess, it isn’t boring. The biggest problem with the Star Wars saga (yes, bigger than Luke’s whining, Hayden Christensen and ‘From my point of view, the Jedi are evil’) is that we never find out who won the game – Chewbacca or R2D2? Let’s hope the limbless R2 didn’t let the Wookie win after Han Solo’s stupid assertion that he could lose an arm. Idiot.

Click HERE and go to 5m20 for some dejarik and read the rules of the game HERE.

2. Battleships, Cluedo, Electric Football and Twister – Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey


Death, as it turns out, is a bad loser. At everything. The great thing about this sequence is that the games on show are all complete tosh. Cluedo (or Clue, as it’s called on the other side of the Atlantic) is fun for about 13 seconds, although in its defence it did spawn a great movie. Battleships is kind of like Deal Or No Deal, in that you call out numbers using no skill whatsoever. I’ve not played that American football game but it looks lame and Twister is, well, Twister. This is proof that the game on screen need not be great for the battle to be a good one. And proof that you can beat Death without cheating it. Don’t fear the reaper.

Watch Bill and Ted take on Death from 4m20 by clicking HERE.

1. The Echo Game – House Of Flying Daggers


This is just breathtaking. This type of movie rarely does anything for me – people fighting in trees is just a bit silly, isn’t it? While House Of Flying Daggers is not without its faults (its peppered with slushy melodrama), you cannot help but admire the inventiveness and bravado that went into its set-pieces. And the best is at the start, when blind dancer Mei (Zhang Ziyi) displays her skill during the Echo Game by uh, beating lots of drums with her clothes after they have been hit by a flying nut. It’s all as ridiculous as it sounds and beautiful to watch. Not one of those games you can play at home though.

Watch the fantastic Echo Game scene HERE.



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11 Responses to “Top Five… Games”

  1. Haven’t seen House of Flying Daggers, but I would have to give the #1 slot to Bill and Ted. Dude, best scene of that movie, absolutely hilarious. Make me want to give myself a melvin. Station!

  2. Kai Wayne Says:

    can’t believe you didn’t use the gretsky scene from swingers…

  3. Paul the Ball Says:

    i like the throwing game Paddy Considine plays at the funfair in In America, mainly because of the stakes involved
    spending all his family’s rent money on trying to win an ET doll just to prove hes a winner to his kids – its really gutwrenching stuff. great film too.

  4. sorry ‘Kai’, but listening to Vince Vaughn swear and spout the most annoying catchphrase ever (theres an idea for another list) just didnt quite cut it for me. but here it is for you anyway –

  5. Kai Wayne Says:

    Aww thanks ross. you’re swell, despite your misguided opinions of swingers…

  6. Hmmm I cant help be a bit suspicious wen a top five list has the Star Wars chess scene and not the Seventh Seal chess game.

  7. Jeff Goldblum playing chess against his old man in Independence Day, that was definitely very average.

    One from the archives, Terry Thomas showing his rival how to cheat at tennis in School for Scoundrels was magnificent.
    Surprisingly it did not involve crystal meth.

  8. Marvellous, thank you Ross.

    Man, I could watch that right now…

  9. […] by the famous games-playing sequence in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Death and Father Merrin have some chess action on the beach. Bergman… what a […]

  10. […] by the famous games-playing sequence in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Death and Father Merrin have some chess action on the beach. Bergman… what a […]

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