Five truly horrendous TV shows based upon videogames

Standards for game movies are pretty low. The "'s ok...I guess" response that Prince of Persia managed to garner was considered an unmitigated success by the standards that previous films have set. We're looking at you, Street Fighter: The Movie.

Amazingly, as bad as game movies are, the television programs based upon them are even worse. It doesn't matter who was involved or what the game was, the TV shows downright sucked.


Hey, it’s the granddaddy of all video game TV shows! Pac-Man was created in 1982, an era when the arcades were kicking, disco was dead, and America was bed-ridden with “Pac-Man Fever.”  Being the first video game based TV show, it was a bit of an experiment—a failed one.

Pac-Man didn’t follow in the fantasy super hero team format that was popular at time. The creators of the show didn’t feel the need to fill Pac-Man with powerful villains and super computers. Instead, Hanna-Barbera (the show’s creator) created a show in the mold of its own run-away hit cartoon--The Smurfs.

Pac-Man is pretty much a clone of The Smurfs – a cartoon about a group of tiny blue men (and one woman) who fight off an incompetent evil wizard – but it somehow makes even less sense. For the cartoon, Pac-Man became a blue collar guy whose job was “chomping” the ghosts that were constantly threatening “Pac-Land’s” supply of power pellets. Each episode, Pac-Man and his wife, Pepper (who had hair, but no beauty mark – was Ms. Pac-Man his second wife?) would foil the plans of Mezmaron, an evil villain who was basically an amalgamation of the Smurf’s villainous Gargamel and Darth Vader. The end result is downright bizarre and in retrospect only explained by 1980’s excess or a writer’s-Ambien fueled fever dream.

However, what really elevates Pac-Man from bad into the pantheon of the truly terrible is its inadvertent racism. The American writers of Pac-Man apparently didn’t known that the cutesy pet name Pepper has for her “hubby” is a terribly offensive racial slur in many parts of the world – particularly those populated by Indian and Pakistani people. We’re not so crass as to repeat it here, but we nearly shot beer through our noses the first time we heard a kid’s cartoon character start dropping slurs like a drunk-driving Mel Gibson.

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  • habs - December 22, 2010 12:53 a.m.

    i dont agree with the maniac mansion review. the actors wernt reject canadian talent.all if not most of that group had long careers after this show. as well taking jokes 20 years out of context doesnt lead to funny does it? i can name quite a few lame arcade to tv shows that didnt make the list.ones i consider alot worse than maniac mansion. im sure the only reason that maniac mansion was included was that it wasnt mainstream.was on cable and canadian. why wasnt heman and the masters of the universe included or super mario or teenage mutant ninja turtles? so you didnt get the canadian humor eh?then gtfo and go watch some guy talking to a puppet.
  • gidget - October 20, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    Hahaha..Dic.... lord knows i thought that was some funny shit as a kid.... and pole position,.... no amount of alcohol will was that song from my brain.Especially after downloading it here: and listening to it continuously. what the shit was i thinking??
  • 2cute2Bcruel - September 22, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    Somehow, I own a copy of an animated prequel to the first (only watchable) Mortal Kombat movie. I never saw MK: DotR, but if it was anything like that... wow. It had badly integrated and repetitive digital animation, interspersed with CGI that reminds me of Drake of the 99 Dragons. It's kind of so-bad-it's good, and it did have some professional voice talent on its cast
  • Mysticgamer - August 2, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    Just thank God that awful Bubsy cartoon never got the green light. The pilot makes Street fight look like a masterpiece.
  • Hadokenchild - July 15, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    I was expecting Q-Bert, Captain N, and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show to be on there as well. But yeah, everything on this list is God-awful.
  • MassSaber - July 11, 2010 1:57 a.m.

    I dunno about the rest you I loved Pole position as a kid it was way before I discovered video games (or tranformers a way better series) and I still find myself humming to this day
  • Skullkan6 - July 10, 2010 3:53 p.m.

  • presc1ence - July 10, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    ummm so not crass enough to say the pac man nickname, but perfectly happy to say it when ever we mention a certain patrick in GTA? Odd standards there! lol!
  • grumpyDinosaur - July 10, 2010 3:14 a.m.

    Ahhh memories, I remember watching episodes of all of those, on another note this also made me remember I used to pretend to be Captain N. D:
  • TyeTheCzar - July 10, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    Looks like you've forgotten: The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog Sonic Underground Super Mario Bros. Super Show Legend of Zelda Captain N: The Game Master *shudders* The only excuse these shows have to exist is for [ab]use in Youtube Poop, which makes them a hundred times better.
  • Metroidhunter32 - July 10, 2010 12:11 a.m.

    Epitome of fail.
  • soccerclownking - July 9, 2010 8:30 p.m.

    All i can say is, you know, I truly can't think of a word to describe such atrocities
  • Xplosive59 - July 9, 2010 8:03 p.m.

    its nice to see not very obvious ones cause i was kinda expecting to see the legend of zelda cartoon, mario, sonic, captain N and megaman but i was plesantly suprised
  • D0CCON - July 9, 2010 6:44 p.m.

    As soon as I saw this, I thought Legend of Zelda. Am I alone here?
  • isaacbaade - July 9, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    i think pokemon gets boring after a while
  • KnightDehumidifier - July 9, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Four words: Battletoads: The Animated Series.
  • ACE-VAMP - July 9, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    i remember that pac-man cartoon and pac-mans nik name lol still find it funny it was put in a cartoon lol never knew pole position was based on a game, great cartoon. as for horrendous TV shows based upon videogames how could u forget all the bad mario ones.
  • Conman93 - July 9, 2010 12:49 p.m.

    Like many people here I think zelda should be on this list. Still these are pretty damn deplorable! On another note, doesen't japan have a kirby show. Is that meant to be crap?
  • pin316 - July 9, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    oh god, pole position, whatever were they thinking... I bought a disc with all 13 episodes of 'Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light' (now that was a show - can't believe it got canned after only 13 eps), and it had a bonus disc with the intros to a load of awesome 80s/90s cartoons. The Centurions, Defenders of the Earth, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (best. cartoon. ever.), Ulysses 31 etc, and it had the nerve to include the Pole Position intro...putting it right next to the others showed it up for the awfulness that it was.
  • philipshaw - July 9, 2010 9:37 a.m.

    What about the awful Bubsy show,it seem to go on longer than necessary

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

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