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Yes, we’re aware that TV and film adaptations of video games don’t exactly have a successful history. But just because the original Super Mario Bros movie exists, it doesn’t mean we should write off every other adaptation. Let’s at least give everything a fair shot. Times have changed, and it just so happens that there are a few adaptations that get it right.
Here are great TV shows based on video games that are well worth your time. In some cases, we even argue that the adaptation is better than the source material. A controversial thing to say, but we stand by our words.
The Last Of us
Yes, you knew this would be on the list. But can you really argue that The Last Of Us TV show isn’t a perfect adaptation of a video game? Yes, not every moment is super accurate to the game. But then how do you translate hours of zombie-stabbing gameplay into a gripping TV show?
The truth is that The Last Of US show only really strips away gameplay, makes a few small tweaks, and puts more focus on characters. Naturally, some purists will call the TV show an abomination. But chances are those purists wouldn’t be happy no matter how the TV show was written.
If you’re a fan of the game and aren’t sure about watching the show, give it a watch. We’re willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Wait, is a show based on League of Legends really one of the best series released in the last few years? You bet it is. Arcane, based on League of Legends lore, is brutal, heartfelt, doesn’t pull any punches, and happens to be brilliant. Yes, you may get a few shocks from the many twists and turns in the story, but these plot developments are all 100% true to the original lore.
Plus, if you’re a fan of animation it doesn’t get much better than this. The fights are astoundingly well presented, even if they do lean heavily into the fantastical. Just keep a box of tissues handy if you’re prone to emotional tears.
The Witcher Netflix series isn’t as widely praised as other entries on this list, and technically is also far more based on the books than the games. Even still, this is a far better live-action Witcher than anyone dared to hope for. That Superman plays Geralt Of Rivia so well is certainly something worth mentioning.
As to how close The Witcher is to the games; not very. There is plenty of controversy over the various actors and actresses chosen to play their live-action counterparts, apart from Henry Cavill. If you do or don’t agree with the casting is a matter of preference, but we suggest checking out the show regardless. If you’re wondering, yes Geralt does decapitate many monsters and disembowel corrupt soldiers. Obviously.
Okay, we won’t beat around the bush here. Some fans absolutely loathe the live-action version of Halo, and we don’t blame them. But returning to a previous point; how exactly would you translate what is effectively hours of shooting up monsters into an appealing show? The answer is; with great difficulty.
Obviously, the show had to be about more than just showcasing Master Chief shooting up aliens. So, naturally, the writers decided to expand the lore in new directions. As to whether you agree with how the writers chose to flesh out the plot is another story entirely. What we can say is that if you go in with an open mind, and appreciate that the show is about more than just shooting, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Wait a second, Maniac Mansion?! The 1987 Lucas Arts game about a bunch of kids exploring a spooky mansion? Yup, you probably don’t even know this show exists, do you? Maniac Mansion is a sitcom from the 90s loosely based on the game, and we do mean loosely. But go back and play the game again, then imagine how you’d turn that into a TV show.
Truthfully, this silly show is better than it has any right to be. It’s ahead of its time in many ways, gently mocking sitcom tropes as it tells the story of a family dealing with a bizarre series of events. We say give it a shot, even if you sit and play at Black Lotus casino on your phone while you watch. Before you turn your nose up at the idea, consider this; the show focuses on the psychotic family, rather than the goofy kids that blunder into the mansion. More interested now?
Wow, what can be said about the Castlevania Netflix series? It’s brutally violent, astoundingly dark, and really does push the boundaries of how much blood can flow in a single episode. On the other hand, the characters are extremely well-defined, the relationships genuinely touching, and the story somewhat true to the source material.
Yes, it’s an anime, and you’ll get all the traditional anime tropes. On the other hand, you shouldn’t go into an anime expecting anything less. You might get a little tired of seeing ruthless massacres over the four-season run, but as far as being an adaptation of Castlevania is concerned this really is far better than anticipated. Just be sure you’re comfortable with excessive violence before you start the first episode.
Last on our list, but by no means the least; Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Interestingly, the Netflix series dropped long after the game, with some not even realising that Edgerunners is based on Cyberpunk 2077. The misunderstanding didn’t stop the show from getting an instant fan base, with some even declaring that the show is superior to the game.
If you think Edgerunners is better than 2077 is very much a matter of opinion, but what we can say is that both are worth checking out. Fair warning though, Edgerunners is set in the Cyberpunk universe, rather than being about the same characters. So don’t go in expecting to see anyone recognisable from the game. Except for Adam Smasher, of course.