When it comes to old video game movies, you've probably seen, or at least heard of, stuff like The Last Starfighter. Or Joysticks. Or adaptations like Street Fighter, Double Dragon and Mortal Kombat.

You don't often hear people talking about The Bishop of Battle. Which is a shame. Because it's amazing.


The Bishop of Battle was one of four short films collected as an anthology in the feature length Nightmares, directed by Joseph Sargent and released in 1983. Each one ran for around 25 minutes, which didn't leave much time for screwing around, and most of them were pretty great, especially The Benediction, which stars Lance Henriksen as a priest who must face the devil on a desert highway.

The Bishop did not star Lance Henriksen. It starred a young, wide-eyed Emilio Estevez. Before Young Guns, before Mighty Ducks, Estevez - who let's not forget is Martin Sheen's son and Charlie Sheen's brother - played the role of J.J. Cooney, who gets so good at a video game in his local arcade that the game comes to life like a reverse Tron, its enemies spilling into the real world.

Cue loads of shooting and, for the time and budget, pretty damn impressive special effects, at least as far as the recreation of the fake Bishop game goes.


So what's so cool about The Bishop? That punk rock soundtrack. The fact that at 25 minutes it doesn't screw around with fluff, it's just about a guy trying to beat a game. The fact Estevez had to spend two weeks with New York cops learning how to roll around and shoot a gun properly so the combat scenes looked passable. And the fact that it's got a brutal ending.

Which you can check out above, actually, since the whole thing's available online.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.