This is not the weirdest made for TV movie you’ve never seen. It’s the weirdest made for TV movie about videogames you’ve never seen.
There are movies out there, like Birdemic: Shock and Terror or The Room, which are both crazy and wonderful for reasons that we can never fully explain. They’re more like emotions that you can’t completely put into words, and that’s how I feel about a movie titled Game Over; a piece of made-for-TV cinema that stars, at least according to the movie’s DVD box art, Yasmine Bleeth (Baywatch) and Walter Koenig (Star Trek).
In reality, the movie actually stars Dominika Juillet (aka – Dominika Wolski) and Woody Jeffreys as a pair of computer geniuses that link a super smart but evil computer to what’s basically an Oculus Rift. Jeffreys must eventually strap on the Rift like device and enter a virtual reality world made of his fantasies to defeat the game addicted computer before it causes worldwide chaos… ok, so maybe plot isn’t the point of this film.
What really makes Game Over (a 2003 film originally titled Maximum Surge… by someone) worth watching is the fact that Insight Film, a British Columbia based movie studio, produced this film by creating 65 minutes of original footage and adding it to 25 minutes of videogame cut scenes ripped right out of the 5th console generation.
That’s right! We’re talking 32-bit era full motion video videogames, and clearly the people at Insight Film were not pulling any punches when they added footage of Dick Miller coaching you in 1993’s Prize Fighter for the Sega CD. Corpse Killer (Sega 32x), Supreme Warrior (Sega 32x), and Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka (Sega Saturn) were all bold choices, and I would honestly like to talk to someone from the film crew about why these titles made the final cut over the rest of the 32-bit era library. Maximum Surge (an unreleased 3DO title that actually starred Yasmine Bleeth and Walter Koenig) is the final game to donate scenes to this movie, and obviously the source of the film’s original title.
Now it’s not like they took scenes from that Deadpool game, or Saints Row IV; so the transitions between original and recycled videogame footage aren’t as crazy as humanly possible. That being said, even if the full motion game sequences were directed by Steven Spielberg, while Guillermo del Toro was running the camera, there is at least a decade’s worth of time and many video formats that happened between the creation of the recycled game footage and the film shot specifically for Game Over. Basically, you’ll always know when they’re showing a videogame cut scene because that’s the footage that looks like it was shot on an older Sony Camcorder that records directly to VHS tape.
Since these are all full motion videogames from the 32 bit era, an argument regarding the difference in acting skills could also be made; but I’m just a radio jock with almost a decade’s worth of experience critiquing videogames. I have no experience critiquing films, so I’ll leave discussions about acting choices to experts like Phil Brown from Comics & Gaming Magazine.
Instead, and as a film simpleton, I will simply say that there are some films (like Birdemic or The Room) that must be experienced for the spectacle, and spectacle is certainly a word you could attach to Game Over. That being said, in the end I am just trying to spread the word about this crazy videogame film that I saw on TV last night.