When High Moon Studios was given the reins to develop the Transformers games (including this weeks new release, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron), the studio actually got it right. Instead of cashing in on a much-loved franchise with a slapped-together shooter or shoddy movie tie-in, High Moon crafted a faithful homage to the original 80s cartoons. Its the best kind of nostalgia trip: One that delights diehard fans, while introducing the awesomeness of the Autobots and Decepticons to younger generations who didnt grow up watching the Transformers. Hearing the same voice actors fills us with a youthful glee, and it certainly doesnt hurt to wrap all the throwbacks and nods to old fans in such a graphically impressive package.
It got us thinking: The Transformers werent the only great series to come out of this toy-promoting, neon-colored era of Saturday morning cartoons. Plenty of fondly-remembered shows never got their due in the video game medium, and our inner child demands that it be made right. These are the 80s shows we want immortalized with modern games
The fact that this series is so under-appreciated is truly, truly, truly outrageous. Long before Hannah Montana was all the rage, Jerrica Benton was rocking sold-out shows as her musical alter-ego, Jem. Using a pair of radical earrings, Jerrica could control a hologram technology called Synergy to project stage disguises onto herself and her bandmates. This let her transform into the electric-pink-haired lead singer of Jem and the Holograms at night, then manage her own music company during the day. The show combined the glamour and glitter of fashion and fame with plenty of drama and action, what with rival band The Misfits repeatedly trying to sabotage Jems performances.
Jems relatable problems, kind-hearted attitude and glamorous lifestyle would make her a shining star amongst female protagonists in gaming. Given her musical background, Jem and the Holograms would be right at home in a rhythm game perhaps one with the glitz and whimsy of recent greats like Rhythm Thief or Elite Beat Agents. Plus, like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, itd be the perfect opportunity to highlight the synth-tastic tracks of the 1980s.
6. Inspector Gadget
Like Duck Tales or Goof Troop, this shows theme song will forever be ingrained in our minds. Combining the best bits of Get Smart and The Six Million Dollar Man, Inspector Gadget was a cyborg sleuth who could teach Robocop a thing or two about slapstick. Though this detective had a body with the capabilities of most any machine, his amusing ineptitude meant he wasnt well equipped to solve cases. Thank goodness, then, for Penny (Gadgets ingenious niece) and Brain (her comical canine), who guide Gadget in the right direction to foil the plots of the dastardly Dr. Claw.
With his plethora of gimmicky gadgets, this bionic inspector would be perfect for a game akin to the much-loved Sly Cooper series. Penny and Brain would take the place of Bentley and Murray, while Inspector Gadgets arsenal of nifty robo-body contraptions would assist him in Sly-style platforming. We would Go-Go-Gadget Pre-Order that game in a heartbeat.
5. Denver, the Last Dinosaur
If games like The Maw, Papo & Yo, and The Last Guardian have taught us anything, its this: Teaming up with huge creatures and befriending them is awesome. Much like Encino Man, Denver is a relic of the prehistoric past thats found and raised by a group of hella-cool kids. They teach the lovable dinosaur everything there is to know about 80s California, i.e. skateboarding, hot pink shades, and rock music. All the while, theyve got to keep their pal dino under wraps, lest he be exploited by a villain who sounds exactly like Rodney Dangerfield. Imagine Scooby Doo, except the teens arent exclusively white, and the not-quite-articulate animal wears sunglasses and aloha shirts. And can skateboard.
Denvers antics would work wonderfully in an adventure game, in much the same vein as A Boy and his Blob (the NES or Wii version, whichever you prefer). Wally, Shades, and the rest of the gang would work their way through puzzle-filled levels, employing Denvers help to conquer any obstacle he is, after all, our friend and a whole lot more. Pace-changing mini-games would include tearing up half-pipes, jamming on-stage with electric guitar in hand, and feeding Denver massive quantities of snack foods.
4. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
YO JOE! Shockingly, one of the most popular toy tie-in franchises of the 80s hasnt had a proper video game since 1992 (weve expelled the abysmal Rise of Cobra from our minds and personal history). G.I. Joe which, as it turns out, stands for Government Issued is an utterly massive army of elite soldiers, all based on action figures that were selling like hotcakes. Theyre the only ones standing between our American freedoms and the terrorism of the Cobra Organization. Even if the show was just a thinly-veiled commercial for a toyline, we were entranced by the heroics of these diverse combatants (not to mention the lovely Baroness).
Weve got the Joe game all figured out Epic Games, having perfected the cover shooter with the Gears of War franchise, needs to give the same treatment to the G.I. Joe entourage. On top of intense shootouts, vehicle missions on land, sea, or air would mix things up, as would stealth/hack-n-slash segments as expert ninja Snake Eyes. We know in our heart of hearts that such a revival would be a smash hit and knowing is half the battle.
3. Masters of the Universe
At first glance, Prince Adam might seem like a total wuss. But with the power of Grayskull imbued in his Sword of Power, he can transform into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. Think Conan the Barbarian, only kid-friendly and more asexual. His twin sister Adora took on a similar mantle as She-Ra, the Princess of Power. Together, they must defend their home of Castle Grayskull against the forces of evil forces often led by the skull-faced, purple-clad Skeletor, whos one of the most delightfully flamboyant villains of all time.
With He-Man, She-Ra, and Skeletor all deeply ingrained into the id of pop culture, its a wonder they havent starred in a big-budget action game. Last gens He-Man: Defender of Grayskull came close to greatness, with appearances from such familiar faces as Tri-Klops and Beastman. But it omitted some of the more outlandish members of the MotU cast; its high time weirdos like Ram-Man, Mekaneck, Stinkor, and Trap Jaw got their virtual due. Were envisioning a (slightly less violent) God of War clone that lets you swap between He-Man and She-Ra between stages, with cameos from all the Evil Warriors and Snake Men as minibosses.
2. Captain N: The Game Master
Kevin Keene, leader of the N-Team, ranks right up there with Nester in the list of Nintendo properties that need modern-day recognition. After this typical dude and his dog Duke got sucked into the Ultimate Warp Zone (aka a television), they landed in the virtual dimension of Videoland filled with NES superstars. The Nintendo cameos rival that of Smash Bros. Kevin leads a team alongside such protagonists as Simon Belmont, Pit, and Mega Man (who looks like a green-suited toddler and sounds like a lifelong smoker, for some reason). The villains theyre up against are equally recognizable: Seeing Metroids Mother Brain, Punch-Outs King Hippo, Mega Mans Dr. Wily, and the honest-to-God Eggplant Wizard from Kid Icarus together in the same room is a trip.
Given the strings they pulled for the Smash Bros. series, a Nintendo-developed revival of Captain N could be one of the all-time-best fan-service games, if done right. The most logical route would be a 2D platformer, where Kevin and his trusty Zapper would plow Contra-style through stages based on Nintendos classic franchises. Itd be just like a side-scrolling Kingdom Hearts, with Nintendo and 80s vibes in place of Square Enix and Disney properties.
Thunder. THUNDER. THUNDER! Thundercats! HOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This would be the invigorating greeting on the title screen to what would no doubt be the greatest 80s homage of all time. Lion-O is the noble leader of the Thundercats, a cream-of-the-crop cadre of cat-people from the planet Thundera. With world-class warriors like Panthro, Tygra, and Cheetarah (rrrrrrow) at his side, Lion-O must protect the mystic Eye of Thundera lodged in his sword from the downright-frightening sorcerer Mumm-Ra. Kids even got youthful role models in WilyKat and WilyKit, and the lovable (yeah, we said it) antics of Snarf, comedic relief extraordinaire.
Our wildest dreams involve a Castlevania -style Thundercats game, with each character playable for a different portion of the gigantic Third Earth. The game practically designs itself: With Lion-Os sword-and-gauntlet combos, Cheetarahs super speed and bo staff mastery, Tygras invisibility and whip prowess, and Panthros hand-to-hand and nunchaku skills, no two characters would play the same. Plus, Draculas transformations cant hold a candle to Mumm-Ras super buff Ever-Living form. Best of all, the fact that the Thundercats had a recent reboot actually makes such a game a realistic possibility.
Nostalgia to the max
Those are the 80s shows wed love to see revived with modern video games, but there are plenty more that need their due. Let us know in the comments below which childhood shows youd like to see get the Transformers treatment, and let the nostalgia waves wash over you.
Want more Top 7 articles thatll make you feel like a kid again? Allow us to direct your attention to the Top 7... Most awesome dragons in video games and the Top 7... Games that deserve comic book spin-offs.