When Video Games Come to Life, Emilio Estevez Must Die

Illustration for article titled When Video Games Come to Life, Emilio Estevez Must Die

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.



I know I'm likely going to catch some flak for this comment, but there's something here that just confuses me and is leaving me scratching my head. Hear me out:

Yesterday (1/4/2012) at 4 PM EST, Kotaku re-published an article by Charlie Maib regarding the closing of Bandai Entertainment's American branch and how it was a sign of sad times. His article covered the evolution of "Fansubs" to what we now know as full blown pirating, and how the advent of the internet has led to proposed laws like SOPA and Protect IP to wriggle their way through Congress.


The responses from the commentators seemed like a mix of nostalgia for the old days of anime in the 80's and 90's, to people claiming the article was BS and then being refuted by other people who were trying to get them to understand how wrong they are... and hijinks to follow.

Now I understand that the real problem people have with anything that even remotely defends SOPA or Protect IP isn't because they want everything in life for free...

...but because they know that the SOPA and Protect IP laws are so broad, vague, and disproportionate in their punishment that it would heavily censor the internet and violate existing constitutional rights.

I know this because Luke Plunkett pointed it out here in his article from EARLY on in the day at 1 AM EST on 1/4/2012:


Now stay with me here, because this is the part that confuses me:

In tonight's article from Luke, we look back at a relatively unknown 80's sci-fi / horror movie anthology that many of us have never heard of or knew existed. It's awesome in its retro-ness, gives plenty of material for commentators to talk about when it comes to retro gaming (which personally I feel is the most important aspect of "Total Recall" articles), and will lead to numerous Emilio Estevez jokes and photoshops; particularly from the title alone!

But we aren't just being given clips and stills from the movie. Luke posted the entire "episode" of the anthology, broken up into 3 parts, for us to watch here on Kotaku. I'd be fine and dandy with it except for a few things:

1) The clips were uploaded by a YouTube member who seemingly has no ties to the movie itself , and seems to have no connection with the movie whatsoever. Even though these clips were loaded 4 years ago, and have yet to be taken down by the rights holder, isn't posting the "Bishop of Battle" episode online still a violation of copyright? Sure, this is a very obscure 80's movie, but research at imdb indicates that it was made by Universal Pictures and released by Universal Studios (even if it did have mostly TV show production quality).


Shouldn't the clips used here be from the current rights, copyright, or license holders? If it's going to be shown here for us all to see, shouldn't some money go to Emilio Estevez? I mean he's the reason we're here! I doubt we'd care half as much about this clip if it was anyone else.

2) Luke's chimed in about how he feels about piracy before, and in yesterday's article from him, he said:

"After all, the issue at hand is one of illegally obtaining a product (or service, depending on how you view games these days), something I'd hope most people still believe is the wrong thing to do."

And then he posts an article to what I presume could be considered a pirated copy of the "episode" from the movie?

If you're still with me here, then I think you can see how I'm confused. If not, I can't blame yah because my response here is just about as long, if not longer, than the average Kotaku article. But in short my confusion stems from Luke writing about how piracy is wrong in a previous article, and then seemingly sharing a pirated movie "episode" with us here the next day.

Dislaimer: I am NOT blaming Luke or accusing him of pirating a movie. I'm not a law student that specializes in copyright law, so I don't know whether sharing these clips that make up the "episode" is legal or not. I am NOT going to start blowing whistles and sounding alarms and causing a stink that could get Luke in trouble. As far as I know, he likely hasn't done anything wrong. What I AM saying is that I am confused because I can't tell whether this is considered pirating or not, and it makes me wonder what Kotaku's official stance on pirating is.

I would imagine the default answer would be "NO: PIRATING BAD! NO MATTER HOW GOOD TIM CURRY MAKES IT LOOK!" But I could be wrong? I could be misinformed? I don't know.

My guess right now is that maybe there is no definite answer as to whether these clips are legal or not, and as long as no one who knows for sure is certain, then the clips can stay and we can all continue with our Emilio Estevez jokes. But I write this here because I've been itching to write something all day, and I want to see if I can encourage people to think about the morality and legality of these clips here.

Also, if this comment results in Luke or some other Kotaku editor removing the clips, then yes, you can all come after me with your torches and pitchforks; found wherever torches and pitchforks are sold.

Thank you! If you read all the way through this and are reading this now, then seriously: THANK YOU! It means I actually held your attention long enough without repulsing or offending you to the point where you stopped reading and began typing your angry reply.