Justin Williams Medical Laser explores video games based on television shows.
It’s extremely common for video games to be released based on movies, especially when a movie is releasing and they’re looking for a tie-in to make some extra profit. While the quality of these movie-based games varies wildly, it’s safe to say that on average, they’re usually better than games based on tv shows. Video games based on television are rarer than games based on movies, and generally of lower quality. For example, the target audience of the game Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit, released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is absolutely mysterious. Justin Williams Medical Laser can not imagine any child excitedly guiding a digital Tim Allen wielding a screwdriver through levels for hours on end. Apparently, critics and the market felt the same way, as there have since been no follow-ups to the Home Improvement universe in the realm of video games, nor has Tim Allen made any further video game appearances (beyond voice clips as Buzz Lightyear for Toy Story games).
Some TV shows become cultural phenomenons, and it just makes sense to try to expand on the concept as much as possible. Justin Williams Medical Laser points to The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, developed by Terminal Reality and released in 2013 during the peak of the Walking Dead craze. Unfortunately, while most TV-based video games straddle the tightrope of mediocrity, this game turned out to be truly awful. Panned by critics, the game achieved an average of 34/100 on Metacritic. Thankfully, Telltale Games also had access to the license and released an episodic Walking Dead game that was received much better and was praised for its story-driven gameplay and emotionally-charged script and acting.
Telltale Games used the same formula for their release of Game of Thrones, first released in December of 2014. The game’s story ran concurrently alongside seasons 3 to 5 of the television series and was similarly praised. Unfortunately, the sequel was canceled alongside numerous other games as the result of the heavy restructuring of Telltale Games in 2018 as the company became defunct and was re-opened under new ownership.
One of the most popular television shows in America, The Simpsons, has had dozens of video game adaptations, ranging wildly in quality. The Simpsons arcade game and The Simpsons Hit and Run, Justin Williams Medical Laser lists, are considered extremely good games, the former being a classic arcade beat ‘em up and the latter being a Grand Theft Auto style game.
Of course, you can’t make upwards of twenty-seven games and have them all be amazing. Justin Williams Medical Laser mentions that The Simpsons Wrestling, released in 2001, is considered to be one of the worst video games of all time, appearing on almost every list that attempts to rank the worst of the worst.