For Some Reason We Almost Got A 'Taxi Driver' Video Game

“You talkin’ to me, Donkey Kong?”
For Some Reason We Almost Got A 'Taxi Driver' Video Game

Great movies don't always make for great video games, hence the time Darth Vader magically transformed into a giant scorpion ... and a shark ... and some kind of dinosaur thingy. But while the idea of a Star Wars video game at least makes sense, occasionally we get some truly baffling sources of inspiration for new games. Case in point, amazingly, it turns out that there was almost a first-person shooter based on Martin Scorsese's famously cynical tale of urban bloodlust: Taxi Driver.

Which ... seems like an odd choice, no? Famously Taxi Driver culminates in an orgy of violence that leads to its protagonist, Travis Bickle, ironically being hailed as a hero. According to Scorsese, it wasn't his "intent" to make Bickle's rampage seem "exhilarating." But for some reason, in 2005, developer Papaya studio created a Taxi Driver game in which you control a pixelated Bickle as he runs around town murdering people in cold blood -- like if Grand Theft Auto was based on a Palme d'Or-winner. 

Even weirder, the game was essentially a sequel to the movie, in which the subject of Travis' awkward advances, Betsy, is murdered by the mob, leading him to vow he'll get revenge. The game even let you pick up fairs in your cab, for those gamers who bought an Xbox to simulate the reality-blurring despondency of urban isolation.  

Apparently, both Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader tried to kill the "total entertainment experience" but discovered that their original contracts gave away the rights to "all media, known and unknown." Fortunately for them, though a trailer was shown at E3, the publisher eventually "ran out of money," canceling the game. Maybe one day we'll get a Mario Kart-style game featuring the cast of Goodfellas instead.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability

Top Image: Columbia Pictures

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?