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Five awesome TV shows which should be five awesome games
by Joey Núñez

It’s a very rare occasion indeed when game developers take it upon themselves to craft engaging licensed games. Normally when a company lands the rights to develop a game based on a popular TV, movie or comic property, what you get is complete and utter rubbish. The game developers figure that the licensed property has an established fanbase who will buy the game regardless of its quality, and are left with pockets full of cash. Whilst that fanbase we talked about; well, they're left with a poor or mediocre product and an overwhelming sensation of frustration.

But there are some rare occasions when developers who are truly passionate about the property put in the time and the effort necessary to craft a quality game. It seems that everyone thinks of Batman: Arkham Asylum when making this argument, and hell; they’re right to do so. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the shining example of the licensed game done right. All any Batman fan ever wanted was to play a game that made him or her feel like Batman, and although that sounds easy enough, it seemed to be nigh impossible. Until, that is, Rocksteady came along. The company blew everyone away with Batman: Arkham Asylum, and gave me hope for the future of licensed games.

How far does this hope go? To the point where I believe that out there, somewhere, there is a game developer just waiting to make truly epic games out of some of my favorite TV shows. If the necessary time and effort are put in, these five awesome shows could be five awesome games of the future.

Editor's Note: Yes, yes, we know: both Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are set for videogame releases. Consider Joey's narrative on those two games as reasons why the development of those games is an excellent idea.

1: Nikita

Nikita is the badass superspy who just keeps on giving. Nikita first reared her gorgeous head and designer shoes back in 1990, in the French thriller Nikita, from Luc Besson. The movie is awesome, and a U.S. remake titled Point of No Return soon followed. A Canadian TV Series was developed in 1997 - La Femme Nikita - and, just recently, the CW network in the U.S. decided to revisit the Nikita universe with their new 2010 series, which ended its first season a few months ago. Moral: people can’t seem to get enough of the sexy assassin with the peculiar name.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, if you’ve never been exposed to any of the shows or movies listed above, I’m happy to fill you in, but seriously; get a decent cable company to visit your house. Our heroine’s story goes something like this: she was a girl at the end of her tether, a young junkie tried and convicted for murder, with nothing to look forward to. Desperate, Nikita accepts the offer of a mysterious organisation; they'll get her out of jail, in exchange for her “services”. Said organisation, known in the current series as Division, proceeds to train Nikita as an assassin and all-around general badass spy. Everything is fine and proper (people are being killed and the bosses are happy), until Nikita falls in love and develops a conscience. Division proceeds to execute the obvious solution, and assassinates Nikita’s fiancé. Now the top Division agent has gone rogue, and is on a one-woman mission to take down Division.

Martial arts, gunplay and spy tech gadgets all play a role, and they're all awesome. Also, Maggie Q plays Nikita. Yup; I don’t even like girls and I think she’s hot-tastic. This show is incredibly stylish, packed to the brim with highly-cinematic action sequences and featuring more twists and turns than a Mexican soap opera. The recipe for an incredible videogame is set; put this puppy in the oven for an hour and bake to perfection.

What needs to transition from the show to the game is the stylish action. Nikita is very capable with guns, but also highly adept with martial arts. Few games have been able to tackle a marriage between the two elements, but with Arkham Asylum-esque fistplay and stealth, coupled with some Uncharted gunplay and all mixed in with the face of Maggie Q, I don’t see what the holdup is.

Another important element is the story. With just one season under its belt, Nikita has gained some rabid fans; we care about this girl, and if we’re going to devote hours to playing a game, the character must be on an adventure we care about as well. Suggestion: the show kicked off with Nikita already outside of Division - how about we play as a rookie Nikita learning the ropes, right up to her fantastic escape from the Division compound? Yup, that'd be epic.

I’ll take my commission in cash, please.

2: Game of Thrones

Okay, so I’m not going to sit here upon my nerd throne and pretend that I read all the books in the A Song of Fire and Ice series, which the HBO series Game of Thrones is based upon. Heck, I wasn’t even aware that the series existed until I started watching the show. However, that said, oh my freaking God this show is amazeballs.

Set in the Kingdom of Westeros, a mediaeval land filled with intrigue and swords, Game of Thrones should be considered the slightly more grounded cousin of The Lord of the Rings. Like Nikita, Game of Thrones just ended its first season, and with the incredible production value and raw nature HBO is known for, it's promising to be a keeper. Intrigue is the name of the game here, with fantasy and magic playing second fiddle, as everyone who’s worth knowing is seemingly after control of the Iron Throne of the Westeros Kingdom. But underneath all the intrigue, you have dragons raising in the east and mysterious creatures threatening to attack from the north. The stage is set for awesome, and I like my awesome in an interactive flavour where possible.

The Game of Thrones mythos is so expansive - there are five books in the series of novels already, with a sixth on the way - that there are hundreds of places from which to draw inspiration story-wise. If it were up to me, I’d go with an action-RPG game, along the lines of the Elder Scrolls series. Cast the main characters of the show in supporting roles, and let the player run wild in the Kingdom of Westeros. Perhaps defend the throne? Or maybe fend off an attack from the North? Add the possibility of shifting your allegiances and you’ve got yourself a game wealthy in content.

3: Fringe

First things first. Fringe is an incredibly high-quality sci-fi show, and if you have any interest whatsoever in the genre, you should be watching this show. Get on it.

The show follows a haphazard team of FBI agents who investigate strange cases related to Fringe Science topics - everything from telepathy to astral projection, and even time travel. What makes the show so special is its main underlying plot. In the world of Fringe - beware, explorer, spoilers lie ahead - there is more than one of everything, as our characters discover that they exist in one of two parallel universes. For reasons I’m not going to get into now, the wall between the two universes is cracking, causing more and more Fringe events. In one universe this leads to strange accidents and mysterious deaths; in the other, catastrophic events such as black holes.

Fringe does have its fair share of gunplay, and this could conceivably play a role in the game. However, what really drives the show is the investigation the characters undertake into every fringe event, so if I had my way a Fringe game would be a sort of Heavy Rain-type adventure game, with each Fringe Event being an investigation the player must solve. Couple this with some cinematic action sequences and the ability to shoot up the show's nasty shapeshifters, and a gameplay style true to the show could be crafted.

As for the story, the game developers could take full advantage of both universes, letting us play with our heroine, Agent Olivia Dunham, in both planes of reality. Perhaps the dual Olivias could be investigating fringe events in both universes which are related somehow, caused by the a mysterious big bad. There are plenty of moments within the second and third seasons which could be placed into a potential videogame's storyline, without messing with the show's continuity. If done right, this would be one worthwhile game for Fringe fans and non-fans alike.

4: Supernatural

Sam and Dean Winchester are just your typical all-American boys, brothers who have decided to pick up the family business. What is the craft their dad so lovingly handed down to the Winchester boys?

Demon hunting. Hell yeah.

The Winchester brothers travel across the good old U.S.A. in their trusty 1967 Impala, crossing paths with everything from vampires to ghosts to angels. That’s right, these boys have fought (and defeated) angels. How’s that for a résumé? Given the way that the narrative of the show is structured, the game can be faithful to the show’s mythos whilst still creating an original and engaging story. As long as the nature of Sam and Dean’s relationship is maintained, and the brothers' interactions ring true to series fans, it should all work out.

As for the game style, I can see Supernatural being a sort of open-world game, featuring maybe two towns and a city, like the Assassin's Creed series. The Winchester brothers could ride into town chasing a big bad, and find that there are all sorts of supernatural phenomena to deal with along the way, nicely opening up the game to main story missions and sidequests. Combat should be handled like a third-person shooter, although the game's developers must make sure to offer the right weapons for the task; not all demons are created equally, after all, and the same kind of kill shouldn’t work on all of them.

5: The Walking Dead

Based on an incredibly awesome comic series, the folk at AMC have given us an incredibly awesome show as well. All I’m asking for? An incredibly awesome game to boot.

In The Walking Dead, the inevitable zombie apocalypse – it's certain to happen sooner or later – has hit, and the world as we know it has basically ended. In other words, the shit has hit the fan. Our hero is Rick Grimes, a deputy in a small town in the state of Kentucky, who wakes from a coma only to find that the world has ended. He sets out to find his son and wife and succeeds, joining a small group of survivors, who continue to try and do just that: survive.

Zombies are old hat by now, true, but what sets The Walking Dead apart is its heart. I’m talking a zombie game with an actual human, heartfelt storyline, something that Resident Evil, for all its triumphs, could never accomplish. Our hero is not just trying to kill some zombies and score some headshots; he’s trying to protect a group of people that depend on him. If this can be translated into the game, the stakes are automatically higher.

But, then again, maybe the game doesn’t have to follow the story of Rick Grimes. It could just as well be set in the same world, and follow a new group of survivors. If the emotional undercurrent of the show can be established by the game developers with a new group of survivors, then I would have no complaints. Besides, we’re all waiting for the zombie game to end all zombie games; it might as well be based on the best zombie-related property out there.

So there you have it guys; the five TV shows which I think could make worthy transitions into our gaming libraries. Have any shows of your own you’d like to add, or maybe you'd like to tweak with the ideas for the shows listed above? Sound off below.

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- Joey Núñez

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