Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong, and today they’re being adapted into full-fledged television shows.
After the successful debut of HBO's The Last of Us, a popular survivor horror game, which currently has a 99 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's clear there is an audience for this genre.
So, whether it's a video game set in a post-apocalyptic world or one in which someone is trapped in space with aliens, here's a look at six other games that would make for great television.
Jesse Faden is the female protagonist of Control, a 2019 video game that takes place inside a supernatural, bureaucratic Brutalist setting with spirits and aberrations flying around. She shows up at the Federal Bureau of Control one day and has to solve the many mysteries inside the building.
Control has supernatural themes and peculiar characters, sometimes reminiscent of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series. Throw in guns that shapeshift and puzzles inside of a motel, and there are the ingredients for a thrilling television show.
While a film adaptation has now been made, it is a prequel to the events in the game. For Control, we’re thinking of an eight-episode season that more closely follows the events in the game.
Taking its inspiration from beloved Hong Kong action films of the 1980s and '90s, Sleeping Dogs tells the story of Wei Shen, an undercover police officer who moves to the city from the US. He befriends members of warring triad gangs and gets drawn into their conflicts, all the while needing to focus on the mission at hand.
This game would make a great movie but there have already been countless martial arts films in this very setting. Another one won’t be an addition to the massive Hong Kong cinema oeuvre. However, what it can be is a very well-fleshed-out television series that explores the difficult task of going undercover in one of Asia’s toughest cities. To see it acted out in a 20-episode season would be a ton of fun.
A famous tagline from Alien is that "in space, no one can hear you scream" which would mean this is also true as well when it comes to fighting back.
Dead Space, a 2008 video game, follows Isaac Clarke, a crew member aboard a spaceship that gets taken over by scary alien beings. Luckily for Isaac, there’s a trove of mining equipment on the ship that can be used to fend off and even deal effective attacks on them.
What makes Dead Space standout is the protagonist is behind protective gear the whole time, making Isaac a great avatar for viewers to feel like they’re right in danger with him, if filmed correctly.
Fans of this idea might not have to wait too long, as it is reported that horror film director M Night Shyamalan is to helm an adaptation.
Horizon Zero Dawn
What happens to the world after an apocalypse? Could humanity rebuild if it survives? And what technology could be the cause of it?
These are the types of questions 2017's Horizon Zero Dawn asks and tries to answer throughout the game. In it, we are introduced to Aloy, an adventurer who stumbles on a piece of technology that opens her eyes to the truth of her reality and the world around her.
She has to navigate land and fight large-scale dinosaur machines that pose a threat to her quest for the truth. Although we might not have to wait too long because a Horizon television show is also a near prospect, with reports Netflix is said to have picked up the project.
Tales of espionage are always popular. This is why the Syphon Filter series of games won over so many fans upon its release in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Grouping all three games together for a possible television show adaptation would be what works best. The strength of a gaming series as a television show is in its own name, which people of a certain age would be drawn to.
An adaptation would not need to be extremely faithful to the events of the games, but has to be able to represent their thrill and aesthetic. The Syphon Filter television show could work as a five-episode anthology series, with each episode following a different agent.
Super Smash Bros
The concept of picking your favourite characters from within a gaming franchise and pitting them against each other in battle was certainly a revolutionary idea that spawned many copycats.
Super Smash Bros as a game does not have a straightforward narrative, it simply asks “what would happen if Mario had to fight Pikachu?”
On the face of it, there’s not much that would seemingly make this a good show. It definitely has to be animated, as many of these characters would look ridiculous in a live-action setting.
But an animated series focused on bouts between some of Nintendo's most popular characters is exactly why it could work. Now, the reasons don’t have to be compelling or reasonable, character A has to have a reason to want to fight and beat character B, with a smaller storyline in between.
Of course, the success of such an adaptation hinges almost completely on the quality of the animation itself, and that will have to be done to the highest standards that Nintendo expects these days.