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 411mania » Games » Columns

The Silicon Valley 2.03.10: Top 10 Television Shows That Should Be Video Games!
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 02.03.2010

Hello and welcome back to The Silicon Valley 10 & 1!. My name is Steve Gustafson and you're here for some list action, right? Well, this is the spot for a mix of all things game and pop culture. A place to complain, debate, and throw in your suggestions. Let's jump right into the action this week!

But before we do, make sure you're not missing any Steve at 411mania! Check me out:
Monday: Big Screen Bulletin. The best way to start the week!
Wednesday: The Silicon Valley 10 & 1. Hey, that's this one!
Friday: The TV/Movies Top 5. Funny enough I wasn't able to participate this week. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it anyway! Great stuff!
Saturday & Sunday: The Hollywood 5 & 1. Celebrity gossip and hot women. Of course if you want to read about half naked guys and soap opera storylines, head over to the wrestling section.

A big hug and thank you for the comments and emails (stevethegoose@gmail.com). You all brought up some really interesting suggestions and I think you'd make fine studio execs. I can't list them all but some of the suggestions for games that could be TV shows included:

"SMASH TV. The ultimate game show. 1999 has come and gone, and I still haven't seen a show like that." By I'd Buy That For A Dollar!

"I think a weekly survival horror like resident evil would work nicely." By Anthony

"ICO/Shadow of the Colossus. You'd have to flesh out quite a bit and create new characters, but that never stopped anyone." By Cactus

"Mario Party. Think of a Double Dare like show with Mario themed minigames." By King Boo!

"Target Terror would make a great TV show. Well, not really, but I like bringing that game up everywhere!" By The Salms

Also, several of you brought up animated series of some of the picks. I should have been more clear that I was talking live-action. Animation is an entirely other list. I have to spread these out somehow! Sorry about the confusion. So what's on tap this week?

I wasn't planning on doing this one yet but a comment from The Dutch: "You should do, Top 10: TV Shows/Movies That Should Be Games.". I'm a man of the people so this week I'll be doing...

Top 10 Television Shows That Should Be Video Games!

To clarify, I tried to stay in the realm of current TV programs. And with properties that would have a reasonable chance of being made. One day I'll come back and we can go over classic TV and you can read my thoughts on how an I Love Lucy shooter would do gangbusters, but for now, let's stick with more recent offerings.

10. The Golden Girls
Think: Leisure Suit Larry meets Silent Hill

Admit it. You've thought about a game with four older women are sharing a fashionable house in Miami, Florida. Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund, Dorothy Zbornak, and Sophia Petrillo were made for the Wii! The goal: Save the retirement home, Shady Pines, from burning down!


And now, the REAL Top 10...

10. Extreme Makeover
Think: Sims meets something in the Tycoon series

Let's ease into this list. Let's start with a game for the very casual gamer. Something you might give to mom or the cousin who may be hiding a secret. In case you don't know, the series has a purpose. Ty Pennington and his crack team of expert designers provide home renovations for deserving families. Each episode features a family that has faced some sort of hardship, like a natural disaster or a family member facing a life-threatening illness. While the family goes on a all-paid vacation, Ty and the team go into action, giving the family's home a total makeover. That includes interior, exterior and landscaping, which is performed in seven days.

"Steve, how in the world would this be a good game?"

Easy. You keep the purpose of the show and do it in the game. The family needs a new house. You get a profile of the family, a breakdown of the house, and 10 goals you need to do in a certain amount of game time. 5 of them you will get from the family, like, "Grandma Ethel needs to be on the ground floor." The other 5 you won't know. You have to pay attention to things in the family profile and use a little creativity. You have freedom to whatever you want, but keep in mind...the clock is ticking. Paint the walls, add fixtures, put in the furniture. The "family" will let you know how happy they are by how many goals you were able to accomplish. Have thousands of designs so the replay factor is high and a nation of wannabe designers will be lining up to buy this one.

Think: Grand Theft Auto and True Crime but not as serious. And plenty of trailer parks.

"COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

While you can make an argument that this game exists, I think you can still get a niche in that area. You have your choice of police office, constable, or sheriff's deputy out on patrol...with a camera crew. Not only are you catching bad guys but you have to protect the people filming you. Too much damage from a woman with curlers in her hair and you're done for. You can set up prostitution stings, pull over suspicious cars (NO PROFILING YA'LL!), and stop at a local gas station to keep the people doing drugs on the curbs in check. Just make sure you look good for the camera.

8. Flight of the Conchords
Think: Guitar Hero with a pinch of PaRappa the Rapper.

Yes, I know they have an 8-bit game out there. I know. I know. I'm talking BIG folks. The show follows the adventures of the Flight of the Conchords, a two-man band from New Zealand, as its members seek fame and success in New York City. In the game you get to play all their songs but with a plot! The song part of the game is easy to imagine. A Kiss is Not a Contract, Inner City Pressure, Dreams...You have a lengthy list of tunes to pick from. Add in a funky little little story where their band manager, Murray Hewitt accidentally gives away their big contract with a major studio to Mel (their biggest fan) and they have to search the city for her, playing songs along the way to unlock clues to her destination. Add in weird videos, talking/rapping animals, and maybe some cool cameo appearances and you have yourself a game worthy of flight. And yes, I know the show didn't have talking/rapping animals. The game can build and enhance the mythos of the show.

7. MTV Reality Shows
Think: Smash TV meets Doom.

I know this is cheating but I think you'll like the results. Put the game in and you have a screen with a plethora of MTV reality shows to choose. Then you get to hunt down the realty personality of your choice in a myriad of locales. Think about it. Jersey Shore. Real World. The Hills. Andy Milanakis. You name the show...it's there. Except My Super Sweet 16. It wouldn't look good with the age thing. But I would have it be more cartoonish violence; with a silly assembly of weapons to choose from. A giant chop-shop, a box filled with flying man-eating turtles, a huge set of cymbals that you can crush your target with. You get where I'm going. It wouldn't be brain surgery but I can just imagine the thrill of hunting down Spencer Pratt while driving a steamroller...I get chills!

6. The Tudors
Think: Stronghold, Godfather, and Assassin's Creed.

The series is based on the reign of English monarch Henry VIII, and is named after the Tudor dynasty. It's got all sorts of twists and plenty of layered characterization. For the game I'd have two levels of play. You would play one of Henry's trusted assistants. Tread wisely. You can rise the ranks or just be another peasant groveling for scraps. You serve Henry in a couple of ways. The first is his immediate surroundings; with his woman and those around him that would seek to overthrow him. The second would focus on expansion and defending the land that he already has. The choices you make set your path I could see this being like a "choose your own adventure" type game. The focus would be strategy. But don't lose your head while playing, because by making the wrong decision, Henry will make sure your character loses his.

5. Dollhouse
Think: Alias, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, and Metal Gear Solid.

The little show that could...then couldn't. Maybe we can get a decent game out of it. Dollhouse revolves around a corporation running numerous underground establishments (known as...you guessed it...Dollhouses) across the globe which program individuals referred to as Actives (or Dolls) with temporary personalities and skills. Wealthy clients hire Actives from Dollhouses at great expense for various purposes. The series primarily follows the Active known as Echo (Eliza Dushku) on her journey towards self-awareness.

Man, this game writes itself. You play as one of the Dolls who is starting to get self-awareness. Working to find out the truth about what's going on and fulfill missions to advance. You go on various assignments where you use hand-to-hand combat to steal information, modern weaponry to take out enemy compounds, and your wits to stay alive! Be careful who you trust or you might have everything erased and start all over from the beginning.

4. Carnivàle
Think: This is a tough one. I know what I want and it doesn't fall in with anything. How about Silent Hill and Gun? Toss in some for the "choose with side" aspect. But with religious overtones throughout.

Is anyone else upset we never got closure for this show? Anyone? It was supposed to run for 6 seasons but high costs brought this one down. Hard to explain what it's about. Set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It follows the lives of two disparate groups of people. A traveling carnival and a religious group. But not all is what it seems and therein lies the brilliance of Carnivàle. It would be hard to translate the character structure into a game, but I would love to see someone try. It has story arches that depict the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destiny; the storyline mixes Christian theology with gnosticism, and Masonic lore, particularly that of the Knights Templar.

For the game you can choose between the two groups. Do you follow Ben Hawkins and the rogue misfits or the charismatic and evil Brother Justin Crowe? Now a game about a circus and church group doesn't exactly scream excitement so we'd have to flesh it out a bit. To give it some action, you can choose to be a protector of the traveling folks, battling hostile "possessed" town folks, legions who follow Brother Crowe, and various "otherworldly" baddies. Or become a disciple of Brother Justin. Destroying, scheming, and wrecking havoc. The goal: To find others to join your cause in time for the final battle between good and evil. Now we're talking!

3. Fringe
Think: Wow. X-Files stirred in with Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. But not quite.

Are you watching Fringe? Because you should be. It follows a Federal Bureau of Investigation "Fringe Division" team under the supervision of Homeland Security. Not exactly the best, but it works. The team uses unorthodox "fringe" science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate "the Pattern", a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences that are happening all over the world. Thing of this show as a hybrid of The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, and Dark Angel.

In the game, as a member of the "Fringe Division" you have to set a lot of wrongs right. Using small amounts of time travel, ghost fighting, and strange (but true) conspiracy theories, you have to save the day and gain clues to learn about "the Pattern". Watch your back. In this game, things change and not everything is as it seems.


2. Supernatural
Think: Oh boy. Where to begin? Mix Wolfenstein, F.E.A.R., System Shock, BioShock, Left for Dead, and some Resident Evil And a little Ghost and Goblins for kicks.

This one is too easy. Brothers who hunt demons and other figures of the paranormal. You know how much that covers? You know how many games you can make on the premise? The first company that puts some money into this franchise is going to sit back and watch their investment boom! You can take the game in so many different directions, include so many cool bad guys and things to fight. Outside my number one, this game is a no-brainer.

Funny enough, there is a HUGE outcry to get this game made. I found a number of online petitions in support of this game. One of them had this to say:

To: Whoever it may concern
Do you love the show Supernatural? How about video games? By signing below, you're agreeing to support the production of a Supernatural based video game. Not only is it time for fans of Supernatural to be able to interact with the show on a more in-depth level, but its time to reinvent the survival/horror video game genre. The Resident Evil franchise is fantastic, but let's face it, repetitive zombie killing gets old. Wouldn't you like more depth in your video games including actual folklore, mythology, and urban legends? Imagine playing as Dean Winchester and driving his signature black '67 Chevy Impala down a mysterious, haunted back road. How about playing as his younger brother Sam Winchester: performing an exorcism while trying to figure out what to make of your newly found psychic abilities. Armed with their knowledge of the supernatural, their father's journal, and a trunk-arsenal full of weapons such as holy water and guns full of rock salt, two brothers travel around the U.S. hunting all that is evil and unnatural. Please sign and show your support for the production of a Supernatural video game. With enough signatures, I'm hoping to persuade the CW Television Network, video game companies, and whomever else it may concern, that the production of a Supernatural video game would be very successful. Thank you.
The Undersigned

Sounds good to me!

1. Dr. Who
Think: Chrono Trigger, Prince of Persia, and Final Fantasy. TIMES 10,000!

For a franchise as large as this one, I'm shocked and perplexed why a major game hasn't been done for the good doctor. I know he's had a couple of PC games that came and went. And I always hear rumors, but what's the hold up?

Dr. Who is experiencing something of a resurgence. At least in terms of "mainstream" attention. Now is the time to get things rolling. To get you caught up; the series depicts the adventures of the mysterious, "Doctor" who travels through time and space in his spacecraft, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and rights wrongs. Why mess with that? And this is one property that you can launch several games from. You can do straight action, strategy, multi-player...anything really. How about a petition for the good doctor?

What about you? What television show should have a video game?

Gaming has come a long way. From the dark basements it has come up and been embraced by young and old. Man and woman. And super hot chicks! Let's take a look at Jo Garcia!

You may recognize Jo as the 2008 Playboy Cyber Girl of the Year. Don't act like you didn't know that. Garcia launched a video game blog that appears on Playboy.com, called The Gamer Next Door. In her blog, she reviews games and interviews industry professionals and celebrities about video games. For Halloween 2008, she counted down her favorite scary games while touring the haunted house at the Playboy Mansion Halloween party. In an interview with Kotaku she stated that she is an avid gamer; listing favorites such as the Radiata Stories, Xenosaga trilogy and up to "100 hours into FFXII". Nice! Plus, she's spoken highly of Madden 09. If you need a criteria for a girlfriend, here's the blueprint.

Makes you want and break out the Wii, don't it?

Before I head out, make sure you are using your Twitter account wisely and us at:

Finally, if you have some down time and are looking for a great place for great fun, check out Tiger Flash Games!

Thanks for reading and see you next time!


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