10 Video Games That Should Be Turned Into Comics
With this week’s release of “Batman: the Brave and the Bold” and “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” and the recent success of “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game,” it’s been a pretty good week for comics making the transition into video games. But what about titles moving the opposite direction?
Sure, there have been comic book adaptations of video games in the past, some surprisingly great (Udon’s “Street Fighter” comics are pure fun, especially when they involve the majesty that is Dan Hibiki), and some not so great (pretty much everything else), but with decades to draw from, there are plenty of titles that would make great reads if they made it to the page. That’s why today, I’ve got my picks for Ten Video Games That Should Be Comics!
For those of you who haven’t played it, Bayonetta is the story of a bespectacled witch who straps guns to her feet so that she can kick people in the face while she’s shooting them in the face at the same time, and the better she fights, the more naked she gets. Oh, and also, she kills angels with a zeal that makes her a pretty close equivalent to a sexy female version of Ronnie James Dio. In other words, she’s exactly what you’d get if you went back in time and told fourteen year-old me to imagine best thing ever. Oh who am I kidding. You could pretty much do that now.
So why’s she so low on the list? Well, any transition to a medium that favors storytelling isn’t going to be an easy one for Bayonetta, as there is very little in the plot that actually makes any sense. But then again, it’s a plot that allows for punching the creator of the universe into the heart of the sun and sexy footgun facekick shooting, so it’s pretty much a wash. And hey, considering Sega’s already commissioned a Bayonetta piece from Adam Hughes, they’ve got that first issue variant cover in the bag already.
Despite the fact that it’s the basis for what may in fact be Uwe Boll’s worst film — and brother, that’s saying something — the “House of the Dead” games are actually really awesome, if you happen to be into rail-shooters. In fact, for a series of arcade games that I mostly saw played in pizza parlors during my youth, it’s got a surprising amount of story to it.
Of course, that said, the story in the original line took itself way too seriously and was consequently hilarious, and the latest iteration, “Overkill,” was trying so hard to be an uncredited adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” that it is also hilarious, although this time it’s actually intentional. Still, whether it’s played straight or tongue-in-cheek, I’d be pretty interested to see how a twenty-foot tall demon zombie in plate mail with a giant glowing Weak Point would play out on the page.
The creators have even dipped their toes into sequential art in the past, with a prelude comic that came with the Special Edition of “Overkill.” And considering that they also released “Typing of the Dead,” wherein the player blew zombies away by spelling words correctly with a keyboard, they’ve already got their lettercolumn title.
Recently remade for the Wii by WayForward — the same company that developed the “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” game — the original “Boy and His Blob” was one of the more notable titles of the NES era.
In it, in a striking example of the (lack of) logic that governed games in the ’80s, a boy attempted to help his pal, a blob from space, return to his home planet, a feat that was accomplished by feeding him jellybeans that turned him into different objects. And then once you get back into space, you commit regicide by shooting the Emperor of Blobolonia with vitamins.
Guys, that is essentially “Dial H For Hero,” except that it’s in space, has a message about how vitamins will kill you, and revolves entirely around candy. And kids love candy.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Frank Miller somehow found a way to mate with the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film “The Running Man,” and then had a child that he raised entirely on PCP? Well, say hello to “MadWorld.”
With its high-contrast black and white (and red… so, so much red) cell-shaded graphics and cutscenes that are already laid out like panels, the makers were obviously shooting for a comic book aesthetic already, so why not go all the way with it? Besides, while shoving a street sign through a guy’s face, setting him on fire and then throwing him into a giant turbine actually does get a little old after a few hours on the Wii (or in a three-issue mini-series, for that matter), a blood-splattered one-shot could be an awful lot of fun.
Okay, so technically, there have been “Castlevania” comics, but considering that those comics were a) not very good, and b) ended with a shot of a Dracula Fetus gestating inside a lady, I think it’s fair to say that it deserves another chance.
Especially since it’s got a pretty robust cast of characters and a complicated backstory that could be thoroughly explored and elaborated on in the world of comics, from the middle ages to the year 2035. And also because it’s about beating Dracula to death with a magic whip, which is easily one of the best plots for anything ever conceived.
Considering you’re reading this on the Internet, it’s probably a safe bet that you’re familiar with the premise of “Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja.” If you’re not, however, here’s the high points:
Don’t even act like that’s not the plot of a good three quarters of all Batman comics from the ’80s.
#4. Kabuki Quantum Fighter
One of the things that comics and video games have in common is that they’re both media in which high concepts are embraced that would be too wild to find acceptance elsewhere. Even so, “Kabuki Quantum Fighter” is pretty far out there.
In it, Colonel Scott O’Connor is digitized into the cybernetic technoscape of a supercomputer in order in order to fight viruses by doing karate, and is given the body of a Kabuki performer based on his memories of his grandfather. What, you guys have never heard of the great O’Connor family of traditional Japanese actors? Sheesh, I’m the only one around here with any culture.
Clearly, this is a plot that needs to be further explored in the world of comics. In fact, I’ve already got an entire notebook of pitches ready to go, starting with a six-part epic where computerized time travel switches Scott with his grandfather, and has to use his military training to fake his way through a performance of “Kanadehon ChÅ«shingura” without letting anyone in the past know that the other performers are killer robots from the future. See, the trick is trying to think of something more over-the-top than the original.
Fun Fact: If anyone tells you that Sinistar, the main character of one of the first games to actually ridicule the player, isn’t the second-greatest video game character of all time, you are legally allowed to punch them right in the face (Editor’s note: This is not a fact. Do not take any legal advice whatsoever from Chris Sims. Ever.).
Even so, the amount of information we actually know about him surprisingly limited to four facts:
1. He hungers.
2. He would like you to run.
3. He thinks you’re a coward.
4. He is awesome.
The man — er, giant evil space-head has a story just waiting to be told, folks.
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one: In order to hook up with a girl he’s really into, a guy with serious issues with women who lives in a world heavily influenced by 8-bit video games has to fight his way through a numbered list of opponents. Oh, and everyone he beats up turns into coins. I don’t know bout you, but I think that sounds like it’d make a great comic.
Ah, but I kid. As much as they share the broad strokes, “No More Heroes” and “Scott Pilgrim”" don’t actually have much in common when you get to the details. I mean, I don’t think Scott pulls off a Northern Lights Suplex even once in those comics, while Travis Touchdown drops Luchador moves at every opportunity — yet another reason why there needs to be more “NMH.” Plus, being a comic would fix the major problem with the game, which is that actually playing it is a giant, mini-game driven pain that devotes far too much time to things that aren’t chopping dudes up with laser swords.
Here’s Wikipedia’s description of this game:
The game is set in an urban warzone in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, where 50 Cent and G-Unit have been hired to play a rap concert. After the concert the promoter refuses to pay them the US $10-million in cash he promised, but relents after being threatened. However, instead of the cash they were promised, he gives them a diamond-and-pearl encrusted human skull as collateral. This is promptly stolen by a paramilitary group. 50 Cent (with the help of a selected G-Unit partner) decides to get it back at any cost.
If you do not agree that this premise would make the most awesome comic book of all time, you and I will never understand each other.