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List Soup: 20 TV shows would translate well to video games

The history of TV shows being turned into video games is pretty piss poor. Other than a couple cartoons such as The Simpsons and South Park, there hasn’t been really any decent TV show video games that I can think of right off hand.

In the original discussion from earlier this year, the question was asking about movies, TV shows or comic books that should get the video game treatment, but I thought that was too broad, so I narrowed it down to just TV shows. And for the record, several shows that have had or are getting games not on the list are Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead.

Babylon 5

There was a Babylon 5 game in development for the PC back in 1998 called Babylon 5: Into the Fire, but it was never released. Most game companies might think that the time has long passed for a Babylon 5 video game, but with a strong fan base and a wealth of material to draw from, is there ever really a bad time for a Babylon 5 video game? 

Boardwalk Empire

There’s so much material for a game from this award-winning HBO series. Gambling, gangsters, Prohibition, Steve Buscemi. Has there ever been a video game starring Steve Buscemi? There should be. Like all of them.

Danger Mouse

Not sure how many Americans remember this British cartoon. It ran from 1981 to 1992 in the UK, but for a significantly shorter period of time in the US on Nickelodeon. However Danger Mouse, with his trusty sidekick Penfold remain one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time. Not only would Danger Mouse be a fucking awesome game, but so would its spin-off series, Count Duckula.

Dexter

Most video games either put you on the side of the bad guy, someone who’s doing the killing and trying to get away from the crime or the good guy who’s trying to investigate, but what if you were both at the same time? The show’s pretty thoroughly explored this concept, but there’s still so much to be mined from a video game version. Sure, there’s a shitty iOS Dexter game, but I’m talking about a real video game.

Family Matters

It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to add this one to the list if it weren’t for the Carl of Duty: Black Cops photoshop spoofs that appeared right after the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. If you were extremely stupid and gullible, it was a hoax, if you had normal intelligence, it was just a clever pun. If there ever were designs for a Family Matters game, it probably would have been an unplayable Hungarian-made NES platformer starring Steve Urkel, but the real way to do it would be to make a hard-boiled, bloody cop game starring TV’s Carl Winslow.

Firefly

Sadly, Joss Whedon’s Firefly wasn’t on the air for very long, but even its short lifespan was enough to amass a huge fan following. And it’s both sci-fi and a western, something that really hasn’t been explored in video games. 

Gunsmoke

There was a Japanese sidescroller in 1985 called Gun.Smoke, but it had nothing to do with the TV series. When Gunsmoke came out in 1955, it was the first hour long drama and soon became TV’s first major hit and continued to be popular for the 20 seasons it was on the air. Certainly, had video games existed in the 50s and 60s, there would have been a Gunsmoke video game, and it would have been fucking awesome. Think Red Dead Redemption with incredible writing and acting. Someone should have done this before James Arness died earlier this year.

Hoarders

In some of the items on this list, I’ve cheated a bit by selectively disqualifying crappy, low budget games, such as the Dexter iOS game. But Hoarders is just made for a multitouch screen. You’ve got a house full of 20 year old pizza boxes, mountains of dirty clothes, human feces and cat skulls and you have so scoop out every square inch before the city inspector shows up. GO!

House MD

This one is sort of cheating, because there already is a House MD video game for the Nintendo DS— that’s where the above picture comes from. But it’s more like a game of Operation with fancy hand-painted graphics, but House isn’t about medicine, it’s about House. A real House game would be only about 10% medicine and 90% popping pills and being a total asshole to everyone around you. Maybe done in a style of the multiple-choice dialogue of Monkey Island.

The IT Crowd

I’m not entirely sure what an IT Crowd game would do, but there absolutely has to be one. I’d be happy with just a series of geeky office mini games, none of which would involve turning it off and then back on again. Maybe hacking electric sex pants or diffusing a bomb running Windows XP. Someone clever get on this one.

Lance Link Secret Chimp

This show only existed for seventeen episodes from 1970 to 1972, but the video game possibilities are endless. You like spy games, you like shoot-em-up action games… now imagine something like GoldenEye. With talking chimpanzees. Video game gold. 

MacGyver

This one is just so painfully obvious, it’s a surprise that it hasn’t been done yet. You could turn just a single episode of MacGyver— any of them— and turn it into hours of video game excitement. Creating homemade gyrocopters, rescuing prisoners by mixing a couple chemicals into a powerful explosive, taking down an entire jungle Marxist government with wits and a Swiss army knife alone.

Paula Deen’s Home Cooking

Imagine it… a game for the DS and Wii, similar to Cooking Mama, only with Paula Deen. MORE BUTTER ADD MORE BUTTER. EXCELLENT! NOW DEEP FRY IT!

Quantum Leap

This show is pretty much perfectly made for a video game adaptation. You jump into a body, there’s a set mission or goal required to leap to another body, with an end game goal of getting back home (or at least trying to). Lots of characters, a wide variety of missions, atmospheres and time periods would make this really damn fun.

The Sopranos

There’s been plenty of Mafia video games (and I’m not counting Mafia Wars among them), but they’ve mainly been pretty Godfather-ish. What about a Mafia game that had all the fun and excitement of mobster life with the wit and humor of The Sopranos? It’s fuckin’ beautiful. Fuckin’ beautiful, but you’re sister’s still a whore.

Stargate SG-1

There are several Stargate series to choose from, and you can have nerd flamewars until you’re blue in the face as to which one would make the best video game, but personally, I think starting at SG-1 would be the best move, if for no other reason than it was the first series and Richard Dean Anderson.

Toddlers in Tiaras

I’m not talking about some stupid girl’s video game where you just put make-up on little kids. That would be creepy enough, but there’s room to turn this already awful TV show into a game so horrifying, it would make Silent Hill look like Elmo’s Alphabet Island. Lots of soulless little pageant princesses running around eating an entire village so they can eventually summon Satan from the pits of Hell, something like that.

Torchwood

There have been several Doctor Who games, but in many ways, Torchwood is better suited to be translated into a video game. More action, a darker and more grown-up stories… and the fact that Captain Jack Harkness can’t die would play well into the fact that almost all games these days give you unlimited continues anyway. Might as well have fun with it.

Venture Brothers

Simply: How has this not happened yet? Someone make this and it will sell a zillion copies. A ZILLION. That’s more than a million.

The Wire

If the HBO series made you never ever want to set foot in Baltimore, imagine having that translated to a video game. Shooting crackheads has never been so much fun, not even in NARC.


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