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A gallery of litigations that could have been
October 10, 2012 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Imagine you're a game producer in the late 1980s, a week before the deadline and you still haven't got a cover for your game. Exhausted from crunchtime, you tell your illustrator to just rip off some Schwarzenegger action movie to get the job done. Careful, your subordinate might take the order all too literally!
Hardcore Gaming 101 present Tracing the Influence - Stolen Images in Games: Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Illustrators and Painters, Other Boxart and Ads, Ingame Graphics pt. I, Ingame Graphics pt. II.
posted by griphus (24 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on October 10, 2012


I'm struck by how many of the Arnie/Sly poses I could have identified even if re-enacted by someone else.

The "Raw Deal vertical shotgun, over-the-shoulder" and "Rambo back-double-biceps bandanna-tying" are iconic.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:20 AM on October 10, 2012


That was the most concentrated video game nostaligia I've had in a while.
Fantastic. Thanks!
posted by herbplarfegan at 8:28 AM on October 10, 2012


The Contra cover was always kind of obvious to me, but I had no idea it ran so deep.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:28 AM on October 10, 2012


I dunno if I buy it. At least not all of them. There are only so many badass poses, and I'm pretty sure Arnold covered them all. So what's left for the bad dudes of video game covers?
posted by cmoj at 8:35 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what's left for the bad dudes of video game covers?

Madonna has been kidnapped by ninjas skinheads.

Are you a bad enough dude to... VOGUE!
posted by griphus at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know it has little to do with this post (and the Arnold & Sly ripoff video game art page is really funny), but since Rambo got sort-of brought up I'd like to mention how much I really enjoyed 2008's Rambo. The next sequel sounds kind of not interesting, though, no matter how awesome Stallone says it'll be. What I really wish would happen - and since at this point there's no way in hell Stallone would let anyone other than himself write the script so there's no point in my actually putting any effort into coming up with something - is Rambo V picking up right where the last one left off. The film is 100% a drama, with John Rambo in his new blue jeans trying to adjust to an American society he hasn't been a part of since the 60's. Rambo gets a job, Rambo makes a friend or two, Rambo awkwardly tries to pick up a girl (or - get this - a guy). It'd be done in a melancholic style reminiscent of great 70's & 80's dramas, complete with deliberately slow pacing and long, steady shots of landscape as contemplative music plays. As for the director's chair, no Stallone. Lasse Hallström or Ang Lee? Maybe this could be the film to revive Wim Wender's career, or perhaps Herzog could have a go at it.

No action scenes, though, save for maybe one brief barfight. There is just so much fun to be had playing with the John Rambo character's warped emotions, and Stallone is just going to make another fucking shoot-em-up. Rambo 4 was the ultimate bang-ba-ba-bang-bang-bang-ba-ba-bang-bang-kaBOOM picture, what with all the CGI wounds and bodies cut in half with the aid of computer graphics. The scene on the river embankment was the Rambo scene to end all Rambo scenes. We don't need more of that, and neither does John Rambo. Bring on the drama, motherfuckers.

Sorry. This has been on my mind for like three years now. End derail.
posted by item at 8:44 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some of them are pretty blatant, others I think are a bit of a stretch. As cmoj observes, with regards to generic muscle guys standing in dramatic poses, there really isn't a lot of variation.

You want a dude holding a sword aloft triumphantly while a woman is placed at his feet to demonstrate that in your game women have no place but as prizes and victims? Well, Boris Vallejo has pretty much covered every variant on that theme that is possible already.

Other stuff was pretty obviously a copy/paste though.
posted by sotonohito at 8:48 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This post reminded me of how much I love 80s action movies. Was Commando put here by ancient aliens? I'm not saying it was, but could humans really have made something so perfect?
posted by Sangermaine at 8:49 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really neat project, although I'm not convinced by all of them. How many different ways can you hold a machine gun?
posted by DU at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2012


Lasse Hallström or Ang Lee? Maybe this could be the film to revive Wim Wender's career, or perhaps Herzog could have a go at it.

Merchant-Ivory Productions presents:

Helen Mirren

Geoffrey Rush

Dame Judy Dench

and Sir Anthony Hopkins as John Rambo in...

Expendable
posted by griphus at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at the first link... there are some definite obvious referencings/tracings, but it quickly devolves into paredolia IMHO.

"The box for Crime Wave also definitely shows Arnie's face. The pose is somewhat similar to the poster for True Lies, but it isn't the same shot - especially since the game was released four years earlier."

So the artist for that one apperently HAS A TIME MACHINE.

I mean, yeah, there are lots of images in there that are pretty close, but including stuff like that, or claiming that a guy aiming a bow is CLEARLY ripped off from a frame of Rambo with a bow in a rather different pose? Weakening the thesis, and making the article longer than it needs to be.

I've never watched most of these movies and if I wanted to draw some badass muscle dude posing with his weapons or using them, I'd wind up going similar places. There are just certain formulae to make exciting images.
posted by egypturnash at 8:54 AM on October 10, 2012


Well, Boris Vallejo has pretty much covered every variant on that theme that is possible already.
sotonohito

You bring up a good point. Part 2 discusses ripping off illustrators and painters and of course mentions Frank Frazetta, but not Boris Vallejo.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:54 AM on October 10, 2012


"The box for Crime Wave also definitely shows Arnie's face. The pose is somewhat similar to the poster for True Lies, but it isn't the same shot - especially since the game was released four years earlier."


Especially since that's not Arnold, it's clearly Charlie Sheen. At first I was joking, but Navy Seals did come out four years before True Lies.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:02 AM on October 10, 2012


I consider myself a pretty big fan of both Terminator and old school Nintendo, and my mind is completely and utterly blown that the cover of the original Metal Gear was a still from the first Terminator.

COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:21 AM on October 10, 2012


Speaking of utterly blown...

The Silent hill and Kindergarten Cop connection was quite a surprise.
posted by Hicksu at 9:32 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was Commando put here by ancient aliens? I'm not saying it was, but could humans really have made something so perfect?

Rae Dawn Chong alone would put it ahead of every other Schwarzenegger movie ever made.

But by any metric - body count, villian, one-liners - it's a clear first.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:00 AM on October 10, 2012


As anyone who has spent too much time at the Pacific Pinball Museum can tell you, pinball does it too.
posted by poe at 10:05 AM on October 10, 2012


Rae Dawn Chong alone would put it ahead of every other Schwarzenegger movie ever made.

I've said this here before, but you really, really need to get the Commando DVD with the cast interviews from 20-odd years later. They're short, but Rae Dawn Chong (who apparently stopped aging around 1989), has some very amusing anecdotes about filming the movie.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:16 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rambo gets a job, Rambo makes a friend or two, Rambo awkwardly tries to pick up a girl (or - get this - a guy). It'd be done in a melancholic style reminiscent of great 70's & 80's dramas, complete with deliberately slow pacing and long, steady shots of landscape as contemplative music plays. As for the director's chair, no Stallone. Lasse Hallström or Ang Lee?

Touchstone Pictures Present:

Wes Anderson's Rambo

Owen Wilson as Mitch Rambo

"John, you just need a hobby to get you through. Now you're a strong guy, how about something like rock climbing, or boxing, or even arm wrestling?"

Bill Murray as Steve Filley

"We're the biggest supplier of home improvement and hardware products in the Southwest region. Don't think about it as unloading pallets in a warehouse. Think about it as being back in the Shit, knowing that you're in charge of millions of dollars worth of equipment."
posted by FJT at 10:16 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aha! I found it!

"He would be really upset with me saying that."
posted by Rangeboy at 10:19 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Despite being a policeman, Mel Gibson never wears a police uniform in the Lethal Weapon series, how can that be?"

That's not true: Lethal Weapon 3 Jay walking scene.
posted by FJT at 10:23 AM on October 10, 2012


On the topic of Arnold emulation, they missed the Power Blade series for the NES. It combines deadly boomerangs and Arnold clones with classic Mega Man action and special power suits.
posted by Nomyte at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2012


Schwarzenegger in his Terminator 2 persona is teaming up with a young Christopher Lambert (Highlander)...

I'd totally play a game about the Highlander dealing with the terminator and the terminator keeps going further and further back in time to try to assassinate ever less experienced Connors who paradoxically gain better skills from each iteration resulting in a super Highlander at the beginning of the game which is why the terminators had to start sending terminators back.
posted by porpoise at 7:35 PM on October 10, 2012


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