Has a video game ever been adapted into a good movie? You could probably rack your brain for hours and not come up with any examples where this is the case (not counting adaptations that turned out to be so bad they were funny such as Super Mario Bros. or Bloodrayne). I would assume that a good movie has never come from a video game because video game storylines are generally just there to take the player from one piece of gameplay to another and are very rarely deep or interesting enough to sustain a movie's 90 minute running time.
Now, there are a couple of schools of thought as to how you can make a good movie from a video game: option one is that you pick a game with a long and in-depth story that you can adapt without changing much (upcoming Bioshock and Mass Effect adaptations will presumably fall into this category). Your second option is to take a video game with minimal storyline, use the name to get video game fans to put down the controller and take a trip to the theatre but you make up your own storyline specifically tailored to the movie format. According to a recent interview with producer John Davis, this second strategy is the direction that will be taken with the upcoming 'Sims' movie.
Tom Rothman, the Chairman of Fox said to me, “How are you going to take this incredible piece of IP and make it into a movie?” Right? Because most games aren’t movies, so this is the way I did it: The Sims, as you know, you can control your imaginary world, right? And our movie, a young man, a 16 year old kid of a 14 year old kid and his friend get their hands on this thing called the Sims Infinity Pack, right, which kind of this very strange video game store which was there just for that moment, and seemingly wasn’t all that. But what they realize is that they can scan their world in, because this is the most life like, real Sims game ever. And as they are playing this they are all of a sudden realizing is what they are playing on the game is having an effect on the real world. So in effect, through the game, they are able to control their world. It’s wish fulfillment, and obviously it turns against them.
When I first heard about the 'Sims' movie adaptation I scoffed at the idea. Since the game has literally no story, I couldn't envision how they might translate it to the screen, I assumed they were just trying to cash in on the name of one of the most successful games of all time. However, having read the brief description, I have hope that they might be able to pull off an 80s style technology/adventure film in the vein of WarGames or Weird Science. I'm definitely now interested to see how this one turns out.