When it comes to adapting popular TV and movies into video games, developers have a poor track record of producing quality results. Nonetheless, it’s far safer (meaning easier) for developers to get budget based on a license than try to introduce an original IP, so the gaming industry continues to march forward turning great movie and TV franchises into must-avoid, lifeless interactive experiences.
That doesn’t mean all TV based games are bad. Occasionally a game developer defies the odds and produces something that doesn’t reek of uninspired, phone-it-in game design. In part 1, we’ll look at 3 games based on popular TV shows (at one point or another) worth playing.
Bart vs. The Space Mutants – 1991
Although not the debut game with THE SIMPSONS characters, an honor that belongs to the classically awesome four person arcade brawler, Bart vs. The Space Mutants was the first Simpson’s game playable on home consoles. Although available on a smorgasbord of early gaming devices (ZX Spectrum, anyone?), the version I fondly remember playing was Acclaim’s release on the original Nintendo.
While later entries in the Bart vs. games played a little better (Bart vs. the World was particularly good), it was Bart’s showdown with the Space Mutants that was the most fun to play. Sure, it was insanely difficult, but did a much better job of creatively tying in with the source material.
CSI: Dark Motives – 2004
CBS‘ mega-hit series CSI: needs no introduction, capturing huge ratings and a serious fan following over the shows history… and several variations of the show based in different cities with different crews. In video game form, all published by Ubisoft thus far (with few exceptions for handheld ports), it hasn’t had anywhere near the same level of success as the TV shows.
The CSI: games put you in the role of crime scene investigator as you work with various members of the Vegas crew to track down the truth. Each game typically features five individual cases that usually tie together at the end.
I’ll be honest that I haven’t played every entry in the series (there are 9 games so far), but of the four or five I’ve played through, CSI: Dark Motives (the 2nd in the franchise) has been the only one I’d really recommend playing. The cases were relatively interesting, the actual voices of all the series’ talent on board, and with far less hand-holding than the first one. You’ll need to be a CSI: fan to really enjoy it, but if you are, you’ll have fun.
DUCK TALES – 1989
Even if you were never a fan of Scrooge and his nephews, you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy DUCK TALES as a video game. Developed and published by Capcom in 1989, the first DUCK TALES video game is actually widely regarded as one of the top video games released for the NES. It’s offers incredibly tight control, innovative game mechanics (thanks to Scrooge’s cane), and a soundtrack from a now legendary video game music composer.
DUCK TALES is hardly relevant as a franchise these days, but even today the game still plays well. It’s incredibly easy (don’t expect it to take more than a few hours to get through it), but like many of the early Disney games for the NES, it’s crammed full of creative platforming and fun gameplay.
To be continued in Part 2. Stay tuned!
Satisfy your inner geek while fueling your TV addiction… TV Tech Fix is a column by Matt Whitlock, editor of the TechLore.com Consumer Electronics Community (plus several other gadget-focused community websites), and lover of both technology and TV. In this column, he’ll cover a wide variety of tech topics aimed squarely at the TV addicts of the world – from tips and tricks to help you better your TV experience, to gear recommendations, to the impact technology is having on the TV shows we love.