Extras / TV: How Gamification Becomes a Part of TV Entertainment

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by Aveline MacQuoid on April 12, 2023

in Extras,TV

Movies have always been the mirror echoing real life. In the meantime, directors and writers try to find the topics that interest big audiences, and which can talk to them. Among movie genres, drama is the second favorite for the US audience, after comedy, today which means the biggest source of TV entertainment, streaming services, produce a myriad of drama and comedy movies and series.

One of the loved scenarios featuring in drama movies has been those picturing the glamorous life in Vegas. Those are movies about different types of casino games, from poker to blackjack and from craps to roulette. Remember “The Cincinnati Kid”, “Molly’s Game”, “Harlem Nights”, and of course, the classic – “Casablanca” from the 1940s.

Times are changed and so are the games. There are many online platforms now in addition to physical casinos, and fewer people gather together to play family games, but they prefer video games from the comfort of their sofa. Streaming services do not lose the momentum to write viral scenarios and gain more subscribers who don’t want to watch just movies, but movies about games or, let’s say, gamified movies. Here we listed a few very successful recent examples.

The Queen’s Gambit

The mini-series was released in 2020 when the world was in a Covid lockdown. Netflix phenomenon quickly became one of the most watched shows on the platform. Beth Harmon, the main character, is a professional chess player who has not had an easy life. The scenario and the charm of Anya Taylor-Joy showed the audience that chess can interest everyone. The result? Hundreds of thousands of people started playing online chess. The famous Chess.com gained 100.000 new subscribers in a month.

This was one of those cases when it is hard to say which one was more popular at that time-the series or chess itself.

Free Guy

Both visually and emotionally beautiful movies from Disney/20th Century Studios. This is something different than you would expect. This is not a movie about a video game, this is a movie in a video game, where Guy, the main character, finds out that he is not just a bank teller, but a non-player character in an open-world video game. Subsequently, he realizes that his world has never been a good one and that it is ironic and ruthless. He decides to save that world, which meant a battle against those who had programmed the video game.

Ryan Reynolds makes everything perfect, mixing human nature with a video game character. The movie has grossed $302.4M worldwide at the international box office. In 2022, it has been nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category.

Squid Game

Green Light. RED LIGHT. BOOM. Agree, it’s difficult to imagine a children’s game with deadly consequences. In this Netflix series, it is possible. Released in 2021, Squid Game Korean drama became the most-watched movie in many countries, including the USA. As of now, it has a rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In fact, viewers like this movie because it’s about a game but in the meantime, it’s too bloody to be considered funny. As in the example of The Queens Gambit, here also people got inspired by the game and started playing it in public places, during events, on Halloween, etc. Luckily, without serious consequences.

Netflix has already announced the upcoming second season, which will likely be available somewhere in 2024 or even by the end of this year.


Apple TV+ knows what it does. This is a biographical thriller about one of the most famous games of all time – Tetris, and Henk Rogers who discovered it by traveling to the Soviet Union in 1988. Portrayed by Taron Egerton, Rogers was mesmerized after playing the game: “I played it for five minutes and I still see it in my dreams!”, he says in the movie. This makes him try to make negotiations and try to take the game out of the Soviet Iron Curtain. The rest is history.

Some Tetris mobile games now even offer a prize-one month subscription to Apple TV+, as a reward. And this is an interesting relationship that we witness between a movie and a game, and how they affect each other in terms of marketing and reaching out to new audiences.

There Are More

There are more than 3 billion video players in the world, and streaming services take advantage of this, developing the idea of movies about games and gamified realities. If you are a gamer and also like movies, then you will definitely find out more options that streaming services offer today to ensure your quality entertainment time no matter where you aretraveling, enjoying the weekend or just trying to follow the current trends of the TV industry.

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