By Ben Grandis
It wasn’t long ago that terrible game adaptations were often released alongside the premiere of most major Hollywood blockbuster movies. Often treated by studio executives as a way to cash-in on media hype and merchandising opportunities, these games typically had poor critical reception and sales that tapered off shortly after a film left the theaters. Thankfully, we now live in a gaming era where these cheap tie-in games are less common. Many of the adaptations we do see can be truly fantastic. From Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead series to Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series, franchise tie-in games have changed the way we see the growing relationship between video games and cinema. For this list, we take a look at our top picks for the Top 10 franchises that have yet to receive a game adaptation as of this article, yet so sorely deserve one. Please note that free mobile games or board games don’t qualify for this list. We’re talking about pay-for, high-quality, console or PC games that these cinematic gems need an interactive treatment for. With that being said, here are our Top 10 Movies and TV Shows That Deserve a Video Game Adaptation.
#10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
When author Stieg Larsson died in 2004, fans of his beloved Millennium book trilogy were devastated at the thought that they would never get to experience the dark and thrilling adventures of Swedish journalist Mikael Blomquist and punk-hacker genius Lisbeth Salander ever again. With a lackluster performance at the box office by its American film adaptation, the series was feared to be lost to international audiences. But with David Lagencratz’s recent novels continuing the series and confirmation of a new film to rejuvenate the franchise, fans have found newfound hope in this otherwise bleak saga. Employing a mix of detective work, hacking, stealth, subterfuge, and violent combat, Mikael and Lisbeth would make excellent heroes for a gritty and engaging video game.
#9. House of Cards
In light of Kevin Spacey’s sexual assaults coming to national attention, Netflix and the showrunners of House of Cards made the right call to remove him from the show entirely for its final season. Despite his absence and the specter his actions may cast on the show, there’s no denying that House of Cards is a captivating political drama that has enthralled audiences with its modern-day Shakespearean narrative. Imagine what fun it would be to have a Telltale Games’ style adventure game set in this sinister depiction of Washington politics. The game could be set several years after the events of the show and the player could take on the various roles of a senator, lobbyist, journalist, and other important figures in the web of intrigue that comprises this twisted universe. The tense plotting, scheming, and deception the player could engage in would be oh so very delectable. It certainly has our vote.
#8. True Blood
HBO’s sexy, Southern-gothic vampire series redefined the supernatural romance genre at a time when more tame entries like Twilight and The Vampire Diaries were hot cultural items. True Blood was unabashedly campy, gory, and willing to push the envelope in mature ways that its teen-oriented peers wouldn’t dare tread upon. In a present-day world where vampires have “come out of the coffin” and made their existence publicly known to humans, True Blood presents a fascinating premise for a video game adaptation. By being able to draw on material from both the show and The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels that it is based on, the game could allow players to experience the world as any number of supernatural characters such as vampires, werewolves, witches, and faeries. We’d relish the opportunity to sink our teeth into this one.
While this Broadway musical hit’s film adaptation may be over a year away, we’d still love to return to the Land of Oz through gaming. After NBC’s disappointing TV show Emerald City was cancelled, fans of L. Frank Baum’s classic world are in desperate need of an adult-oriented return to this century-old series. What better way to immerse players back into this world than with this iconic origin story for the Witches of Oz? Flying around as Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, on her broomstick would be a gravity-defying delight. The potential for spell-based combat would be unlimited as she casts her incredible mastery of magic against the Wizard’s army and any adversary who stands in her way. The ability for co-operative play could easily be made available too as a second player could jump in as Glinda and join Elphaba in her fight against the forces of Oz. We’re enchanted by what this game could achieve.
#6. American Horror Story
FX’s horror anthology has been a source of terror, fun, camp, intrigue, and controversy for over 7 seasons now. While later seasons have suffered in terms of quality, there’s no denying show runner Ryan Murphy has crafted a fascinating world of murder and mayhem. There are so many great stories and so many ways that a game adaptation could play out in this universe. We think that the game adaptation could easily mirror Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th’s “hide and go seek” style online multiplayer gameplay. The “hide” characters could play as various heroes from the different seasons and work together to escape a confined environment, such as the Murder House, Asylum, Circus, or Hotel before time runs out. The “seeker” would be tasked with hunting down and killing the other players and could embody any of the monsters from the series including The Gimp, The Axeman, The Minotaur, Twisty the Clown, The Countess, and many more. The possibilities for macabre fun are endless.
As HBO’s smash hit Game of Thrones approaches its final season in 2019, Westworld positions itself to become the next blockbuster series for the acclaimed network. As Game of Thrones has already had an excellent game adaptation by Telltale games (and a subpar one by Cyanide Studios), it unfortunately is not a contender for this list. However, as of this writing, Westworld has not had the same game adaptation treatment. A Red Dead Redemption meets Assassin’s Creed style gameplay would be perfect for this sci-fi Western saga. There is great potential for a challenging single player campaign following the mind-bending events of the engrossing series. We’d also see plenty of fun multiplayer modes where players could partake as both Human Guests and Robotic Hosts of this twisted amusement park in heists, shoot outs, horseback races, and other hallmarks of this wild and futuristic frontier. Saddle on up for this philosophical rodeo!
#4. Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal
Alright, this one is technically cheating since they are two separate films. But given that they both represent the darker side of Jim Henson’s universe in the 80’s and inhabit stylistically not kid-friendly fantasy worlds, its not unreasonable that a crossover between these two flicks would make for a fantastic video game adaptation. Players could square off against the wicked Skeksis or the fabulous Goblin King in a series of puzzles, combat, platforming, and action sequences throughout this colorful and dangerous puppet-populated planet. With a killer David Bowie-inspired soundtrack, the world would truly be alive with nostalgic supernatural wonders.
#3. Sin City
With comic book adaptations in film, television, and gaming being so common these days, it’s a travesty that Frank Miller’s Sin City has not yet gotten the same treatment. Though rumors of an unfinished game mill about on the Internet, it seems that this game has yet to see the light of day. That’s a shame, because this black-and-white with splashes of color pulp series would make for an excellent video game. The over-the-top violence and defined style would be a natural fit for an outstanding action game. With so many individual stories, characters, and overlapping narrative arcs, there is so much potential in this hard-broiled gritty noir world that has not yet been tapped into.
#2 . The Miyazaki Universe
Studio Ghibli has been an indisputably revolutionary force in the world of Japanese anime. With Spirited Away being the first and only Japanese film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Miyazaki’s masterpiece helped make the genre more accessible to wider audiences of all ages. While Spirited Away may be his most famous film, there are plenty of other heartfelt and beautiful entries in his filmography that would make for excellent game adaptations. We’d love to see a Kingdom Hearts-style adventure game that allows players to explore all of his gorgeous stories and environments, while offering excellent opportunities for crossovers between his wide array of wonderful characters. With the acclaimed success of Studio Ghibli’s Ni No Kuni video game series, we already have proof that this kind of game would easily be a delight that any gamer could enjoy.
#1 – Ready Player One
What better source material for a video game than a bestselling book, based on video games, that now has a Spielberg-backed blockbuster film adaptation? Set in the not so distant future, Ready Player One imagines a world where most of humanity spends its days in the Oasis; a virtual reality game world where you can be anything and anyone. When the Oasis’s eccentric creator, James Halladay, dies without any heirs to his multi-trillion dollar estate, his pre-recorded Video Will states that whoever finds the hidden “Easter Egg” in the Oasis will inherit his entire fortune and ownership rights to the Oasis itself. The resulting race to find the egg is a nice mix between The Hunger Games meets Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory with plenty of dashes of ‘80s nostalgia to spice it up. Players would embark on a main story campaign to find the Easter Egg, as well as have the potential for endless multiplayer modes in the Oasis itself afterwards. Game on!
Do you agree with our list? What movies and TV shows would you like to have the chance to play a game of? Sound off in the comments!