For instance, The Simpsons has invented quite a few video games on the series. You may remember Bart skipping his karate lessons to play Touch of Death, or other classics like Larry the Looter and Escape from Grandma's House. Of course, those would be funny for like, five minutes... so that's probably not a great idea.
But then there's also the movie The Last Starfighter. In case you missed it back in 1984, the movie is about a kid named Alex who is obsessed with an arcade game called Starfighter. What he doesn't know is that the game is actually a test created by aliens to recruit new talent to fly starships and battle the Kodan Armada. What you probably don't know is that Atari was working on an arcade game to coincide with the movie release (like Disney & Bally Midway did with TRON). The game was scrapped before going into production, but the cabinet in the movie was based on the prototype Atari had built. It seems like a pretty unique idea, and the Starfighter cabinet does have a really cool logo on it. Here's some more info about the doomed arcade game (with pics).
But speaking of TRON, you know, that's one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite classic arcade games. We all remember that he plot of the movie revolves around Kevin Flynn trying to recover evidence that his video game software was stolen by Ed Dillinger. The fictional games in the movie were mentioned as Space Paranoids, Matrix Blaster, and Vice Squad. In fact, when you first meet Flynn in the film, he's busy beating the high score on Space Paranoids (and it's the only game mentioned that you actually see in action). So, how cool would it be to build a Space Paranoids style cabinet?
Unfortunately, the movie never shows the graphics on the cabinet. You really only get a glimpse of the control panel and monitor bezel, which look exactly like the TRON cabinet that I knew and loved. So, I'd almost be starting from scratch on the design. However, in the movie we do see the "Home of Space Paranoids" billboard over Flynn's arcade, which could give my design a bit of direction.
It's a little obscure, yes, but it seems a lot more interesting than just putting MAME on the cabinet (as so many others have done). Any opinions?