Players Wanted: Are you ready to play? A brief summary of The Game (1997 movie)


The Game (movie)

It all started with a business card labelled Consumer Recreation Services being passed across a dinner table.

Conrad is worried about his brother Nicholas Van Orton (played by Michael Douglas) who is about to celebrate his 48th birthday – the same age their father died of suicide. The brothers are having dinner one night when Conrad passes a business card over the table and asks Nicholas to ring the phone number. He tells Nicholas that he purchased a game voucher from a company called Consumer Recreation Services and before he leaves he mentions it will change his life.the_game2

Curiosity is a powerful feeling and eventually Nicholas visits the offices of Consumer Recreation Services to find out more. Arriving at the office he’s greeted with various exams he must undertake including medical checkups and psychological testing.
Unfortunately Nicholas finds out afterwards that his application to play the game has been denied.

Wondering what happened to cause his application to be rejected – Nicholas then meets Christine, who tells him that her safety was at risk while playing one of Consumer Recreation Services’ games. Soon after Conrad appears to Nicholas and tells him the company is after him too and endangering his life. However both characters are really working with CRS and Nicholas is actually playing the game in real-time within reality without realising it at first.

“The game is tailored specifically to each participant. Think of it as a great vacation, except you don’t go to it, it comes to you.” – IMDB

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie but some other memorable moments include – hundreds and thousands of golden keys pouring out of mail boxes and a vandalised house with a creepy doll clown waiting inside with a message.

Leave a comment if you have watched or have heard about The Game (1997 movie) starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn before.

Essa 🙂


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4 thoughts on “Players Wanted: Are you ready to play? A brief summary of The Game (1997 movie)

  1. Chris M. Dickson February 23, 2015 at 1:08 am Reply

    Yeah, I remember that! It left me feeling very uncomfortable, which is not a feeling that I look for from my movies; perhaps it should have been something I enjoyed, but it wasn’t in practice. A few years later I got into a discussion with some guys at a puzzle event about it, and they reckoned that they could emulate pretty much everything in the film in real life with sufficient budget. They didn’t think they would be able to do it for five million dollars but that they would be able to do it for ten.

    Bigger question: would you want to play a game like that yourself? I wouldn’t at that level of intensity, but I would love to play one, in a team, with 20% of that intensity, and maybe more puzzles.

    • Essa February 23, 2015 at 2:45 am Reply

      It would seem a fun game to play at first until something terrible happens e.g. thinking bank accounts were drained of funds.

      In terms of lowering the intensity of The Game – I remember reading about an alternate reality game in a book where the character went about their daily life but the game interacted with the character every now and then (shadowy figures following when protagonist is walking somewhere etc.)

      Essa 🙂

  2. Mark G February 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm Reply

    I think you’ve already included quite a major spoiler there! I really like the movie; can’t really go wrong with David Fincher (though Zodiac was a bit of a snoozer).

  3. Essa March 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm Reply

    It’s quite a major spoiler but one of the most memorable moments of the movie (the clown scene). David Fincher has been behind some really interesting movies too – just checking out his IMDb page too –

    Essa 🙂

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