Even Gamers Are Shocked by All the TV Shows Based on Video Games
As The Last of Us continues to show on HBO (and blow minds), it opened up the realm of video games adapted into feature films and television shows. At least for me. I became obsessed with finding out other TV shows that blossomed from video games and compiled a list.
Turns out there are A LOT. Some dating all the way back to the 80s! Take out the Atari if you need some creative juices to flow in terms of writing, perhaps, a screenplay.
Take a look at the full list and see if any of these surprise you. Scroll to the bottom to see the "Top 5" television adaptations made from video games according to Rotten Tomatoes, and what video game-based TV shows are coming out in the future. Maybe your favorite video game is next.
- Alien: Isolation – The Digital Series (2019)
- Angry Birds
- Ape Escape (2009)
- Arcane (2021)
- Candy Crush (2017)
- Captain N: The Game Master (1989–1991)
- Carmen Sandiego (2019–2021)
- Castlevania (2017–2021)
- Clash-A-Rama! (2016–present)
- Costume Quest (2019–present)
- Cross Fire (2020)
- The Cuphead Show! (2022–present)
- Darkstalkers (1995)
- Detention (2020)
- Dishonored - Tales from Dunwall (2012) - three-part web series that serves as a prequel to the game.
- Dofus (2013)
- Dota: Dragon's Blood (2021)
- Dragon Age: Absolution (2022)
- Dragon's Dogma (2020)
- Donkey Kong Country (1997–2000)
- Double Dragon (1993–1994)
- Dragon's Lair (1984)
- Earthworm Jim (1995–1996)
- Frogger (2021)
- Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force (2017)
- Halo (2022–present)
- Higurashi When They Cry (2016)
- The Last of Us (2023–present)
- The Legend of Zelda (1989)
- Legends of Dawn: The Sacred Stone (2021–present)
- Maniac Mansion (1990–1993)
- Meet the Team (2007–2012) (Web series)
- Mega Man (1994)
- Mega Man: Fully Charged (2018–2019)
- Mortal Kombat: Conquest (1998–1999)
- Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (1996)
- Mutant League (1994–1996)
- Om Nom Stories (2012–present)
- Pac-Man (1982–1983)
- Piggy Tales (2014–2019)
- Pole Position (1984)
- Rayman: The Animated Series (1999–2000)
- Rabbids Invasion (2013–2017)
- Resident Evil (2022)
- Saturday Supercade (1983–1984)
- Skylanders Academy (2016–2018)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Subway Surfers: The Animated Series (2018)
- Super Mario
- Talking Tom and Friends
- Tak and the Power of Juju (2007–2009) - Game and television series were developed in tandem.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (1989)
- Twisted Metal: Black (2008) - Promotional webisodes.
- Viva Piñata (2006–2009)
- Wakfu (2008–2017)
- Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1991–1995)
- Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1996–1997)
- Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? (1994–1999)
- Wing Commander Academy (1996)
- You Don't Know Jack (2001)
According to Rotten Tomatoes, only nine video game television series had a 60% or above from 2017 to 2023. Castlevania (2017), Carmen Sandiego (2019), Dragon's Dogma (2020), Arcane (2021), Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Halo, Sonic Prime, and The Cuphead Show! (all in 2022), and The Last of Us (2023).
Because of the universal acclaim and approval ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, these are the top 5 best video game/TV adaptions since then.
1. Arcane (2021) - the adult animated action adventure streaming television series created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee. Available on Netflix.
2. Carmen Sandiego (2019) - the animated action-adventure television series with educational elements, based on the media franchise of the same name created by Broderbund. Available on Netflix.
3. Castlevania (2017) - the American adult animated dark fantasy action horror television series produced by Frederator Studios' Kevin Kolde and Fred Seibert. Available on Netflix.
4. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (2022) - a Polish–Japanese cyberpunk web anime series based on the video game Cyberpunk 2077 by CD Projekt Red. Available on Netflix.
5. The Last of Us (2023) - an American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. Available on HBO Max.
Next up? These TV shows are set to launch soon. Give those joysticks a rest and enjoy the beauty of a storied video game. Why not.