Top 3 Best Video Game-Inspired Shows
by Emily Nagle
Happy National Video Games Day from Don’t Tell Netflix! This day celebrates all things video games, from the history of it and how far they’ve come to celebrating video games as an activity, and how they can be relaxing and fun as well as bringing people together.
Gaming is one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world, raking in hundreds of billions of dollars each year (and with the ongoing pandemic, these numbers have only been going up!). The video game industry has flourished, branching out to include not just games, but also related media such as movies, television shows, and comics.
Last week, I talked a bit about the first-ever television adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog for its broadcast anniversary. Today, in honor of this special day (which I think should be a national holiday!), I’m going to rattle off my top 3 favorite television adaptations of video games.
Donkey Kong Country
Based on Nintendo’s iconic gorilla character that originated in 1981 with the Donkey Kong arcade game, “Donkey Kong Country” is a late 90s animated musical series that travels to a new setting to expand on the character. Set on Kongo Bongo Island, it follows Donkey Kong as he protects the Crystal Coconut from the evil King K. Rool and his minions.
As one of the first television shows to be animated entirely via motion-capture technology, “Donkey Kong Country” was a pioneer in the field of animation. In fact, when its producers submitted it for consideration in the 1999 Emmys, it was turned down because the TV academy ruled that the motion capture disqualified it from counting as animation (times have since changed, as two of the nominees for Best Animated Feature at the 2006 Emmys were motion-capture).
My favorite part of the series is its soundtrack. Each episode features two original songs, and some of them are actually pretty catchy!
“Sonic X” was the fourth television series based on Sonic; outside of the games, it served as a popular introduction to Sonic for many kids around the world. It zaps Sonic and friends to a parallel universe filled with humans, where Sonic teams up with 12-year-old Chris Thorndyke to find their way back home and stop Dr. Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds.
The visual style for “Sonic X” is definitely my favorite part. It’s very much reminiscent of the early 2000s, and just by looking at it you can tell Sonic and his pals are about to get into some pretty intense action. It definitely served as a gateway anime for youths around the world.
After taking fans to 8 regions (soon to be 9!), the franchise that’s been around since 1995 has had several different iterations of its long-running television series, in addition to spin-off shows. Even if we’ve spent more than two decades following Ash’s journey to be the very best like no one ever was, the “Pokémon” television series constantly keeps things fresh with new friends, places, and creatures to battle and catch.
“Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl” came out around the time I started getting into the games, so the story arc for that generation in particular has a special place in my heart. As a young kid, it was super fun to watch the show and see the Pokémon I was encountering in the games!
Currently, “Pokémon” is up to its 25th season, which is titled “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” and available exclusively on Netflix. It’s a little bit different than the earlier seasons, because instead of just focusing on one region, it’s part of a fairly new arc featuring Ash and his new friend Goh as they travel across every region of the franchise for a research mission.
What are your favorite video game-inspired shows? Let us know in the comments!