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Video games on both flat and silver screens?

For decades, it seemed films and series based on video games were almost universally terrible, but something has shifted in the last few years. The technology and intellectual property behind video games has seemingly proliferated nearly all aspects of our media.

A woman holding up a phone with the Super Mario Brothers movie poster displayed on its screen, inspired by the video game.

Pandemic and semiconductor shortages made video game hardware more scarce during much of the pandemic and PC sales are at historic lows, yet media based on video games has become surprisingly popular on both flat and silver screens.

The poster for the Super Mario Brothers Movie, with Bowser's lava castle in one corner, the bright Mushroom Kingdom castle in the other corner, and characters from the movie posing in the center.

Universal’s The Super Marios Bros. Movie surpassed Frozen 2 at the box office with $375 million in ticket sales in the opening week. This is a clear improvement over the 1993 release featuring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper.

A scene from The Last of Us featuring Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) looking out over an ivy-grown wall.

HBO’s The Last of Us is a series based on a video game originally released on Sony’s PlayStation 3 in 2013. Unfortunately, the recent PC port has received “Mixed” reviews on Steam and features stunningly rendered details on PC and PlayStation 5, yet is it notably buggy, according to reviews.

Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog 1 and 2 were both quite popular with the sequel breaking records for movies based on video games as a whole. It turns out Sega’s blue hedgehog character is more famous than many of us realized. Kudos to whomever fixed Sonic’s weird eyes before the film was released. The follow-up video game, Sonic Frontiers, also did quite well, at around 3 million copies for a game that sells at 39 or $59, depending on when you buy.

A screenshot of Hogwarts Legacy showing off the main hall and several wizarding students walking around.

And don’t forget WB Entertainment’s Hogwarts Legacy, a game which generated around $850 million, several times more than the films. It has been well-received despite its initial bugs and lack of Quidditch.

A picture of Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVidia, posing with hands crossed and looking off screen thoughtfully next to a logo of NVidia.

Jensen Huang, the famously leather-jacketed NVidia founder and CEO, also bets big on video games. He has repeatedly stated that in the future, “everyone will be a gamer.” NVidia’s new GeForce RTX 4070 launched April 13 hoping to prove his point. This new graphics card features 5,888 CUDA cores, the same tech that trains AI systems including ChatGPT. NVidia’s product page claims the card will consume 186 watts during an average gaming session.

Considering PC shipments declined 30% in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2022, it could be a rather tough sell. It’s also worth noting the popularity of the RTX 3060 in the March 2023 Steam Hardware & Software Survey shows the mid-range XX60 graphics cards are potentially far more popular for gaming, representing greater than a quarter of systems in the survey.

What does the future hold for video games? Given the recent tensions between Beijing and Taipei, the current state of PC demand, the recovery of Bitcoin values, and the emergence of recursive AI assistants like Hugging Face, perhaps graphics cards will become scarce again for reasons unrelated to gaming.

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Devin Crutcher is a technology writer at The American Genius who writes about gadgets and software that could soon change your life. Devin has worked for companies including, Apple, Bottle Rocket, and Citi. He regularly tests new technology and configurations to enhance productivity and joy in the (home) office. He also writes at


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