Ten Other Video Games That Deserve Cartoon Shows

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 6:00 am


Well, with the recent news that Sonic the Hedgehog would be getting a new animated series in the form of Sonic Boom, a CG cartoon set to air on Cartoon Network in 2014 (with the only promo pic so far being the above image, consisting of cast silhouettes; more details in the link as well), we should now realize that between Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney XD, we're going to have three major cartoons based on video games on the airwaves, with the latter two having Rabbids Invasion (from Rayman Raving Rabbids) and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, respectively (not to mention long runner Pokémon and the little Angry Birds cartoon shorts).

I must admit that as a child of the '90s, I'm a tad excited for Sonic Boom (albeit slightly cautious). But the other two...well, I admit to not having seen them yet myself (though I've heard mostly "meh" reviews), but come on, were the Rabbids and Pac-Man really the best we could do for gaming-related cartoon fodder? Given how much this generation of gaming has tried to focus on story and creativity (though not always succeeding), you think we'd be able to come up with some games that are at least a little deeper that would make for some truly great animated shows. So on that note, you can pretty much guess what's coming next: A smattering of ideas for other video games that deserve to have cartoons alongside Sonic and the rest as well. Given that one time I obsessed over creating a Captain N reboot (which I have to retool now, thanks, new console generation) and that lesser-known and less well-received time I came up with an '80s-style adaptation of Spec Ops: The Line (complete with Orko-style sidekick in the form of Spunkles, the wacky bumbling white phosphorous cloud!), I figured I was qualified for the job of picking the best. So let's just get right to it...

Oh, although before we start, I should mention that in a perfect world, all of these hypothetical cartoons would be in 2D animation. Because a man can dream...

10. Ratchet & Clank

I might as well start off by mentioning to no surprise that the entire Sony Platformer Trinity wound up on this list, starting with Ratchet & Clank. Mind you, the only reason they wound up on the bottom is because with a CG movie planned for 2015, the odds of them getting their own animated series feel slightly better than the others here (hence why I also didn't include Skylanders, you just know that already, somebody somewhere is planning a cartoon for it). The games themselves are already built upon loads and loads of action and humor, complete with mounds and mounds of appropriately cartoonish weapons, and the sheer volume of games and comics released in previous years have shown that there's no shortage of stories to tell for our space-hopping duo. So what better way to tell those stories (besides, um, more games) than in animated format? Come on, you know you want to see the RYNO V blow away entire animated armies...

9. Dillon's Rolling Western

If there's one thing I've criticized Nintendo for over the years, it's their tendency to ignore any new IPs they end up making. Such is the case of Dillon's Rolling Western, a series of downloadable 3DS games released recently. Not exactly up to the standards of Nintendo's greatest, but it has a ton of potential in the premise and characters and the Big N should be giving it more love. And what better way to do so than by making a few cartoons for it? After all, when you have an Eastwood-style armadillo defending a town of anthropomorphic critters from unruly rock monsters, the Bravestarr-style badassery practically writes itself (or Rango, I suppose, if you want to stay current). It might seem like a bit of a dark horse, I know, but you can't deny that the potential's there. All it needs is one shot to catch on with the young'uns in a big way and we could have Nintendo'd next big franchise, and an animated series would be one mighty fine way to deliver it, dammit.

8. Jak and Daxter

And moving on to the next member of the Sony Platformer Trinity, Jak and Daxter deserves a revival after Naughty Dog spent their recent days working on Uncharted and The Last of Us. But since odds are they're going to spend their days on the PS4 working on another new IP (as is seemingly the tradition), maybe it's time to move this classic duo to the cable box to let them shine somewhere else and bring them back in style. And hey, if The Last Frontier proved that there's still room for plenty more stories in the Jak universe, why not take advantage of it? Why not let the adventures of a maturing hero and his wisecracking ottsel buddy shine on Saturday morning? Hell, Sony already released a film for the series consisting entirely of scenes from the game, so we know it could work. It's just one of those perfect mixes of action, adventure, fantasy and sci-fi that would make for a perfect companion with a Ratchet and Clank cartoon. Or any cartoon, for that matter. Or just on its own. You get the idea. So let's just make it happen, okay?

7. Rayman Origins

First off, yes, I am aware we already had a Rayman cartoon before. But one, it was based on the series' older games; two, only four episodes were made; three, it never aired on this side of the pond anyway; and four, shut up, it's my list. Besides, it's hard to deny that given that given the vibrant, cartoony and fun style of the Origins games, it's arguably a better fit for an animated show (more so than the damn Rabbids, at least). Oh yeah, did I mention how gorgeous and really damn cute it is? Come on, look at the above and tell me these games wouldn't at least make for some great three-minute filler toons in between programming (a la the previously mentioned Angry Birds). But given the huge following the Rayman games have and the large amount of potential the Origins universe has, I say go for the big time. Much like the games themselves, it'd be a welcome burst of sheer joy that can only be achieved by seeing a limbless man beat the shit out of countless poachers.

6. The Mario RPGs

So why exactly have we not tried giving Mario a new animated series in the past twenty years? Well, the fact that the titular lead has been drained of all personality in those past twenty years doesn't help, but there's also fact that recent games haven't felt all that creative. The exception, of course, is in the various Mario RPGs, where we get epic journeys to lands filled with pro wrestling tournaments, cloud people weddings, and pixilated, 8-bit nerdy chameleons, amongst other things - and a cast of amazing and colorful characters (except for Sticker Star, that was quite a letdown). And while one wonders why the hell the main platformers never tend to feature this kind of creativity, it sounds like a wide variety of worlds and adventures perfect for another Saturday morning cartoon, giving Mario a chance to make like the current Mickey Mouse shorts and allow to go back from mascot to character. Or we could always just make Luigi the main character instead. Actually, that's not a bad idea...

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