originals\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

TV Shows That Need to be Turned Into Games


There haven't been that many decent games based on TV shows, but it's not for want of trying. Recent or upcoming TV adaptations include Glee, Beyblade, Family Feud, (another) CSI, and Deadliest Catch. And that's before we even get into December.

Games based on shows are often quick and dirty shovelware, with the emphasis firmly on letting the license sell the game. That doesn't mean that the concept itself is inherently flawed. In fact, there are dozens of shows practically crying out to be made interactive; here are a few of my favorite candidates.

The Walking Dead If there's one thing we've learned from Resident Evil, House of The Dead, Half-Life, Plants vs. Zombies and Left 4 Dead it's that gamers always have room for more zombies in their life.

The show may have only just started on AMC, but this gruelling zombie thriller - itself based on a series of comic books - has proved an instant hit. It's also a good pretext to give gamers the post-apocalyptic zombie survival game they've always wanted - banishing Resident Evil's implausible mansions or Left 4 Dead's bite-sized snippets of story for something gritty, satisfying and deep.

The A-Team Despite having missed the window created by the recent movie - the only tie in was an iPhone app - this is a great license. The A-Team setup - escaped commandos in explosive hi-jinks - has all the hallmarks of a top videogame adaptation. Also: 4-player co-op.

Torchwood Doctor Who's got its own episodic games, but it's the adult spin-off that really merits a full-blown game. As an agent of Cardiff's Torchwood Institute, your aim is to protect Earth from assorted alien menaces under the leadership of Captain Jack. With an appropriately creepy atmosphere, this could easily be played as a survival-horror game.

Mad Men Have I gone mad? How do you transform an intricately plotted drama about the 1960s advertising world into a videogame? Simple: keep the aesthetic and the soundtrack, banish the central characters to supporting roles and turn it into a management sim where the player is tasked with building up a marketing empire in the Golden Age of Advertising. Do you put all your resources into creative talent or splash out on swanky premises to wow clients? If you're feeling stuck, Don Draper is always on hand with some pointers, but you might have to buy him a few cocktails first.

Twilight Zone These self-contained mind-bending stories became an iconic TV brand and received two revivals since its 1959 inception. It also saw one game - a 1988 adventure. In an ideal world, I'd be downloading a new, twisty-turny Twilight Zone each month from the episodic specialists at Telltale. At least we've got Back to the Future to look forward to.

Firefly Browncoats, AKA the fans of beloved - and prematurely cancelled - space-western Firefly - were whipped into frenzy when an MMO based on the series was announced in 2006.

That project long seems to have evaporated, but Firefly still has the makings of an exceptional videogame. Rather than an MMO, however, Firefly would be better as a Mass Effect style RPG. There's a detailed world, a crew of loveable characters with varied skillsets, and Captain Mal Reynolds out-talks his opponents more often than not.

When things do turn nasty, however, the developers have a whole universe of space and planet-side combat to draw upon. As long as they don't make any glaring mistakes - including aliens, for example - a Firefly RPG could be gaming nirvana.

Masterchef: The Professionals Cooking Mama not hardcore enough for you? This game isn't just a mini-game collection, it's a mini-game collection with exacting standards, based on the British culinary challenge. Undercook a puy lentil or forget to season your steak tartare in this kitchen and it's Michel Roux himself who won't be happy, never mind an angry Mama.

Angel Buffy the Vampire Slayer received several tie-in games, which mostly - pardon the pun - sucked. But it's spin-off series Angel that's begging for a game, with the darker atmosphere and brooding LA setting perfect for a bloody brawler.

The Avengers No - not the Marvel superhero team up - although with the forthcoming movie I'm sure we'll see a game based on those Avengers. I'm talking about the 1960s British spy series. Knowingly campy, the show delivered regular mysteries for Super-spy duo John Steed and Emma Peel. With Steed's cane and bowler and Peel's kinky catsuit, they're an iconic pairing who put an end to all kinds of dastardly going-ons in the original TV run. Basically superheroes without the capes, The Avengers would be a good fit for an outlandish spy title in the No-One Lives Forever mould.

TV shows becoming games is so common that, while researching this article, I found a few of my choices made redundant by already existing. Miami Vice? A PSP game of the movie. The Shield? Yep, a lousy PS2 shooter. Battlestar Galactica? Several, including an upcoming MMORPG. With so many TV-based games coming out, some of them have got to be good, right?

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