Monday, June 1st, 2009...3:55 pm
10 Awesome TV Shows That Should Be Made Into Awesome Video Games
By Rassam Fakour-Zaker
Know Your Money Editor
After the astonishing (and entirely fictitious) success of my previous article, 10 Awesome Movies That Should Be Made Into Awesome Video Games – which became an overnight sensation, caused an internet breakdown, garnered several awards and proved instrumental in actually getting seven of the games mentioned greenlit by major developers, I thought I’d follow up with a selection of small screen classics that, similarly, would be in development in a just and perfect world.
Therefore, with many contemporary TV shows having already been half-heartedly adapted into half-hearted games (I’m looking at you Lost: Via Domus), I have trawled through the idiot box’s back catalogue to consider some gems that are truly worthy of a rose-tinted revival on the current generation of games machines. (Please note: I am aware that some of these have appeared as games a long time ago, so get off my back OK?)
10. Quantum Leap
Now I’m not 10 years old, Sam Beckett’s time-travelling antics seem a little too schmaltzy for my, ahem, mature tastes. But the show’s undeniable humanity, entertaining premise and potential for dramatic tension would lend itself well to an old-school adventure game.
Putting you in the shoes of the world’s most magnanimous quantum physicist as he steps into the shoes of other people would offer up a great range of narrative possibilities, and a sharp script and solid acting would provide players with a real emotional incentive to figure out how to put right what once went wrong. Imagine the satisfaction of completing a mission and being enveloped in that familiar incandescent special effect, followed by the disorienting leap into the next precarious situation and the accompanying, eternal utterance, “oh boy”.
9. Clone High
Out of the unadulterated dross that is MTV’s televisual output came this inspired cartoon comedy from the creators of Scrubs, centring on the teenage clones of various historical figures. As is often the case with superior programming (R.I.P. Firefly), it got canned after just one season. So why not resurrect the show via a new medium? Players could take control of their favourite character – nice-but-dim Abraham Lincoln, femme fatale Clepatra or party-boy Gandhi. Imagine Bully but a hell of a lot funnier.
The Reagan/Bush era spawned many a rightwing-friendly, military hardware-fetishising, cold-war-baiting TV show. But, dubious politics aside, Airwolf was bloody entertaining. And what with the various Airwolf mods out there for existing games, and the disappointing dearth of helicopter action games on the current generation of consoles, I expect that gamers would welcome a fully-fledged Airwolf game with open, Republican flag-waving arms.
7. Street Hawk
Street Hawk was a blatant cash-in on the Knight Rider/Airwolf formula:
vehicle + weapons + cool title (environment + animal) = 1980s TV hit
Lasting just 13 episodes, however, Street Hawk only enjoyed a fraction of the success. It was still pretty cool though, and, as with Airwolf, recent mods show that there is an audience for a Street Hawk title. Furthermore, when you take into account the fact that gamers haven’t grappled with the motorbike/weapons combo since the Road Rash series went to the big mechanics in the sky, a Street Hawk game seems like a winner.
Carnivàle was dark, mysterious, spellbindingly awesome and, once again, cut off in its prime. The eternal struggle of good and evil set amidst the gothically surreal world of a depression-era travelling circus would make for an immersive video game full of interesting characters and stunning visuals and since the creators said they had several more series’ worth of material this could be an excellent way of concluding the show’s narrative arcs.
5. Aaagh! It’s The Mr Hell Show
This short-lived and shamefully overlooked adult cartoon series remains, alongside the pitch-black Monkey Dust, the finest example of the animated sketch-show form.
Tied together by the exploits of the seditious Mr Hell (voiced to mischievous perfection by the late British comedian Bob Monkhouse), the show featured a roster of hilarious characters including Serge the “fashion industry seal of death” and Champion the Wonder Snail. It would make for a cracking and utterly hilarious third-person platform game in which players traverse the colourful Mr. Hell universe controlling various characters from the series. Probably collecting stuff. Like Super Mario, but more subversive.
4. Run the Gauntlet
I’m not sure if this was aired anywhere other than the UK, but the video above should provide the uninitiated with confirmation of awesomeness. The basic premise of the show was that four national teams (UK, USA, Netherlands etc) competed in high-octane off-road and water-based vehicular races (with some on-foot obstacle course sections thrown in for good measure) featuring an abundance of mud, jumps and wonderfully superfluous pyrotechnics. Imagine that played out in an online multiplayer format. One word: awesome.
3. The Centurions
After US regulations prohibiting children’s programmes based on action figures were lifted in 1983 the shows that have followed have ranged from cynical bollocks (Bratz) to globally-loved classics (Transformers).
The Centurions, which happily sits towards the latter end of the scale, featured three heroes who were not only equipped with bastard-hard names – Max Ray, Jake Rockwell and Ace McCloud – but also the thing which I wanted most in the world when I was 8 years old: Exo-Frames, which are suits with lego-like properties that facilitated the attachment of various pieces of military hardware, specifically tailored to each Centurions’ battle environment of choice: air, land and water.
It is this three-pronged approach which makes a video game adaptation so appetizing. A single-player campaign could have you controlling the Centurion of your choice in solo and team missions, but co-operative play would see the full team choosing their individual Exo-Frame attachments (all variations of which can be seen here), then co-ordinating attacks on three fronts (or if you included characters from the later series’, five fronts). Obviously, careful character balancing and careful mission construction would be vital in order to make each character a viable option. Therefore, like the TV series, most of the action would need to take place near bodies of water – i.e. lots of coastal battles. Or maybe some swimming pool assaults or something.
Many of us will have fond memories of watching Thundercats on a Saturday morning, and not without reason: it was pretty bloody good. Forget any forthcoming movie adaptation, I personally think the ultimate Thundercats experience – except for a one-on-one with Cheetara (I know you all agree) – would be to spend hours exploring Third Earth in the Thundertank, kicking the arses of various weird and wonderful creatures with the Sword of Omens, chilling at the Thunderdome and attempting to have Snarf put down.
If developers could do justice to the wonderful Thundercats universe and the cast of memorable characters this could just be the action-RPG that 20-something males didn’t realise they’d been waiting for. Ho!!!!
1. The A-Team
The A-Team was both ridiculously awesome and awesomely ridiculous. Which is why it’s my number one most wanted TV show video game adaptation.
Forget the ill-advised but inevitable “serious” movie version, now is the time for a game that pays homage to the original series: an open-world game in which you, as the A-Team, drive around in your van, picking up missions from 1980s US citizens in their hours of need, all whilst on the run from the police and Colonel Decker. A kind of GTA with added nostalgia, cheesy lines, awesome car chases, ludicrous action and iconic music.
As for the missions, they could be expansive, multi-faceted affairs which follow the storylines from actual A-Team episodes. The sheer variety would be astounding: you’d get to be BA as he steps into the ring in an undercover operation to oust a drug-trafficking boxing promoter, then you could be dishing out some vegetable-flavoured justice to an evil landowner’s goons with a homemade cabbage-cannon, next you might be requisitioning an old tank on a tropical island to turn the tide on a gang of vicious drug dealers. Each episode offers a huge range of possibilities and, what’s more, if the original cast came on board for some voicework success would be guaranteed. I pity the fool who disagrees.
As you can see, I haven’t watched much TV since the early 90s. So if you’ve got any better suggestions let us know.