It is possible to follow an established storyline and still have fun. Yet so many license games lately feel just rote. I will give points to Lost: Via Domas for at least trying to explore some additional story. But seriously, you have some of the greatest characters in modern literature (yes, I called a TV show "literature"), and I don’t get to muck around the island in their shoes? Please.
For me, the bigger issue is the properties chosen. Let’s see, every good to great superhero movie adaptation that has come out in recent years has had a game tied to it, and how many were “must plays?”
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Exactly. There are franchises out there - some dead, some alive and some undead - that are ripe for the picking. Some of these have been explored before... poorly. Others never saw the light of day, if they were considered at all.
Today, I’m calling out the games I want to play, and the way I want to play them. I’m even going to give you an Achievement/Trophy suggestion at no extra charge. So all you devs out there, I want you to listen to the following statement very carefully:
Would you kindly exploit these franchises?
What’s the point of making a game for the obsessed fanboys (and girls) if you don’t let us play any of the main characters? I realize that trying to stick to canon is impossible on this show, as they’re making it up as they go along. So why not select some key elements from what’s happened to date, build some story threads and let me make choices.
What if Charlie just said yes to the Virgin Mary’s secret?
What if Claire stayed with the Others?
What if Kate finally picked a team... and it was Juliet?
Let me play some real characters, and most importantly, make sure Sawyer takes his shirt off early and often. Think about the possibilities:
- Playable Hurley: I see dead people. (Conversations with NPCs whacked on the island!)
- Playable Charlie: This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. This is your brain going into withdrawal on the island.
- Playable Jin: Why does everyone sound like a Sim? His English comprehension improves over time... perhaps he adds vocabulary with every mission completed or hour of game play!
- Playable Ben: Because it would be super-fun to just screw with people on the island.
Suggested Achievement: Constant Craving
Awarded for: Completion of an optional, one-hour mini-game following Desmond and Penny.
Life on Mars (BBC edition)
Your name is Sam Tyler. You were in a car accident and woke up in 1974. Are you mad? In a coma? Or just reliving the best police procedural drama... ever? Deep down inside, this two-season phenom was really just a police show with bad hair and badder asses. The constant questioning, hints about the truth and that creeptastic TV card girl make this perfect videogame fodder. It's like Dead to Rights with a survival horror twist!
Like the television show, I think this one would be best played with a definitive ending. (Attention ABC: Your version of the show will benefit from an expiration date!) Some suggestions:
- Don’t give in to the politically correct urge to turn Annie into Linda Hamilton circa Terminator 2, mentally or physically. Be true to the actress and the portrayal.
- Please, please, please let me play as the guv’nor. Please? I’ll even play through a second time if you make him unlockable.
- Keep the ending... and don’t recreate the Battle of Brazil. (Look it up, kiddies.) Let him follow through right to the end.
Suggested Achievement: Dreamboat Annie
Awarded For: Completion of the game.
Long promised, never delivered. Despite the awful-to-OK Buffy the Vampire Slayer games, I still think an Angel game would be worth playing. The show is tailor-made for a game adaptation, if you think about it. The typical episode included visits to:
- A hospital
- A hotel
- A nightclub
- A cemetery
Wimpy Wesley or leather-clad and battle-scarred Warrior Wyndam-Pryce? Crazy Fred or Illyria/Fred? Gunn on the show, or Gunn in the comic? Speaking of which, the Angel After the Fall series (a/k/a “Season 6”) has some trippy storylines that are worth exploring in an RPG world. Suggestions:
- Include Darla, Spike, Lindsey and Dru. If not as playable characters, at least hell raisers.
- Give me plenty of side missions to keep me busy... or a straight walk through Hell park.
- Don’t limit my options - there have been some outstanding stories in the “Season 6” Angel After the Fall comics.
Awarded for: Completing Pylea as Cordy.
And while you’re exploiting the Whedonverse, how about a Dr. Horrible pack for Rock Band? Seriously, how many of you sing “Freeze Ray” in the shower? Let me sing it in the living room - without having to put in the DVD.
There, now was that so hard? Now all you have to do is find the money to license the properties, get all the original actors, watch a gazillion hours of shows to get the cadence/storylines down, find models who look like all the actors back in the day, as most of them will be older/fatter/deader by the time you secure the license, and oh yeah – code the game. And make it great, or the fans will be on you like a pack of zombies, and they'll be the fast kind from 28 Days Later or Resident Evil 5.
OK, so maybe there’s a good reason these game suck after all. Tell you what - give me my Dr. Horrible DLC for Rock Band and we’ll call it good. I even have an Achievement/Trophy suggestion:
The Hammer Is My Microphone.