Gamer Koala

10 Movies with Gamer Main Characters

In so many movies, the star is some beefcake gym rat or a martial arts expert. But as gamers, nothing pleases us more than seeing a movie with another gamer as the lead character. We may not have the same muscle mass or military training, but that doesn’t make gamers any less clever, stubborn, or heroic.

These are our ten favorite movies that feature gamers as the main characters. We don’t particularly care if it’s a realistic depiction of being a gamer… as long as it’s cool and we save the day at the end!

10. Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Warner Bros. Pictures

Ready Player One is a 2018 science fiction action film based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. Set in the year 2045 in a dystopian future where most people use OASIS, a virtual reality simulation, to escape reality. When its creator dies, he leaves a challenge for users to find his Easter egg, whereby they’ll gain his fortune and control of the world.

Ready Player One follows protagonist Parzival, the avatar of teenage orphan Wade Watts, on his quest to win the challenge. The film is filled with Easter eggs and gaming action throughout. This highly-rated Academy Award-nominated film was directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg.

9. Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

Spy Kids 3D
Dimension Films

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is a 2003 action/adventure/comedy and the third film in the Spy Kids franchise. The kids encounter a new nemesis, the Toymaker, a former OSS informant, who was imprisoned in cyberspace. He created a virtual reality game called Game Over which he plans to use to take control of the minds of the world’s youth. It’s up to Carmen and Juni to save the world.

8. Free Guy

Free Guy
20th Century Studios

Free Guy is a 2021 action/adventure/comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. The protagonist is Guy, a bank teller, who becomes self-aware and learns he is an NPC (non-player character) in a bloodthirsty, open-world video game. His interactions with other NPCs cause them to develop self-awareness. Ultimately, Guy takes on the responsibility of saving the world and becomes the story’s hero. This movie is jam-packed with Easter eggs! It’s an easy and fun watch for fans of video games.

7. The Wizard

The Wizard
Universal Pictures

The Wizard is a 1989 adventure/comedy/drama starring Fred Savage (of The Wonder Years fame). The movie is centered around “Video Armageddon,” a gaming tournament with a $50,000 grand prize being held at Universal Studios Hollywood. The starring trio travel across the country, using younger Jimmy’s skills to win bets and pick up money along the way. The climax of the film featured a sneak peek of Super Mario Bros. 3 for the U.S. audience. Yes, the game is effectively a Nintendo commercial, but it’s still a fun watch!

6. Ender’s Game

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game is a 2013 science fiction/action/adventure film based on the 1985 sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card. While only marginally successful at the box office, and despite mixed reviews, the film has since become a cult classic.

In Ender’s Game, the Formics, an insectoid alien race, had invaded Earth before and killed millions. Gifted children have been trained to become commanders of a new International Fleet. Young Ender Wiggin is recruited and trained to lead the fight against the enemy. But things don’t go smoothly, with internal team strife and tough decisions. Ultimately, Ender develops a brilliant strategy.

5. Gamer


Gamer is a 2009 sci-fi/thriller/action film starring Gerard Butler as convict Kable. Set in 2034, new technology makes it possible for humans to control other humans as if they were game avatars and see through their eyes. The fear is that one day people will be controlled against their will.

In Gamer, a programmer creates a new FPS game called Slayers, where players control death row prisoners. They face off in an arena where they battle in a “DOOM-type” environment. Kable is everyone’s favorite, surviving a record 27 matches and must survive 30 to be set free. Unknown to anyone, a new uncontrolled inmate, Hacker (Terry Crews), is incarcerated to kill Kable.

4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level
Sony Pictures Releasing

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), are films 3 and 4 in the film series. They’re based on the 1981 children’s book Jumanji, about an enchanted board game that unleashes dangerous jungle elements and wild animals as the game is played in real life. Both films star Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle follows four teenagers who get sucked into the Jumanji video game. Their only escape is working together to finish the game. Jumanji: The Next Level continues the previous tale, but the game has changed. Now, they’ll have to brave various environments, from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the game.

3. Cloak & Dagger

Cloak & Dagger
Universal Pictures

Cloak & Dagger is a 1984 action/adventure/crime film about a boy and his imaginary friend from a video game. The world of the game and reality get blurred. Henry Thomas (E.T.) was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Actor. 

In Cloak & Dagger, 11-year-old Davey loses himself in an RPG called Cloak & Dagger. A game shop owner sends Davey on an errand, and he witnesses a murder. The victim gives Davey a Cloak & Dagger video game cartridge containing military secrets. He’s told to give it to the FBI. Davey tells authorities who don’t believe him. Jack, Cloak & Dagger’s main character and Davey’s imaginary friend, helps Davey go on the run from spies.

2. Pixels

Sony Pictures Releasing

Pixels is the 2015 action/fantasy/comedy film starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Michelle Monaghan. The film’s premise is hilarious and creative. Aliens misinterpret the feeds of classic arcade games, thinking they are declarations of war. Instead of responding with lasers and bombs, the aliens attack using technology inspired by the same games. Hilarity ensues.

Pixels is aptly named. Mirroring classic games, the aliens attack Hyde Park in the form of Centipede. In one attack, a giant, pixilated Pac-Man chomps its way down the streets of New York City. In the showdown, the alien leader takes the form of Donkey Kong. To win, America summons its best Donkey Kong player. Pixels is classic gaming nostalgia at its best.

Read More: The 10 Highest Grossing Video Game Movies

1. Wargames

War Games
United Artists

Wargames is a 1983 science fiction/action/drama film that’s decades ahead of its time in foreseeing today’s computer threats. The film popularized the concepts of hacking, cybersecurity, and information technology to the American public at large. It stars Matthew Broderick as David and Ally Sheedy as Jennifer.

In Wargames, David, an unmotivated but bright high school student, hacks his way into the school district’s computer system and changes his and Jennifer’s grades. Then looking for games, he unknowingly finds a backdoor into a military central computer. Confusing reality with a war game, playing along, he’s unwittingly about to launch World War III.

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