games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Wanted Episodic Games

April 11, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week I’m talking about franchises or media properties that could be turned into an episodic game. I tend towards the TV show/comics side of things, but at least two of the things I have listed are already established game franchises, just in a different context. Also, I won’t have a column next week, and possibly the week after, due to PC repairs. With that said, let’s begin:

#8: Metroid

Judging by Nintendo’s moves, we’re never going to get a fully-featured Metroid game ever again. So why not make more bite-sized chunks of one instead? My idea for the game would be to have each area be its own separate game, but have them carry over upgrades per episode. Each episode could start Samus off at a baseline power/equipment level, but if you played the prior episode, you could roll (pun intended) into the new episode with more missiles, or energy tanks, making the episode easier.

#7: Saints Row

Saints Row has prided itself on open-ended gameplay featuring insane spectacle and worthwhile characters, that much is true. My hope for an episodic franchise would be an adventure game honestly, since it is the characters like Kinzie, Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and Pierce that I am interested in. I’d love to see them do a Sam & Max style game, where everyone recognizes they are in an adventure game but they have to go through the motions in order to escape. Saints Row has done both Tron world and time travel, so this wouldn’t be too far outside the realm of possibility for the universe.

#6: Power Rangers

Considering that Power Rangers is based on an episodic show, this kind of speaks by itself. I could see a series like this being based on the old Mighty Morphin’ lineup, and have each episode focus on a particular character, Jason for episode 1, Zack for episode 2, and so on. An adventure game might be cool, but something akin to a Watchemn: The End is Night, would be better, but hopefully not as garbage as that thing was. Bonus points would be awarded for getting the old voice cast back, aside from Thuy Trang, who obviously can’t reprise her role as Trini.

#5: Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl is going to be part of a TV show soon, so why not a game as well? I see this completely as an adventure game, but more of an action style one, like the Batman Telltale thing. Squirrel Girl could face off against some of the biggest Marvel bad guys like Doctor Doom and MODOK. However, having a dual role in each episode would be interesting also, like going on dates with guys, or dealing with team dynamics in the Great Lakes Avengers. Humor would obviously be a big part of this though, so maybe having someone like Erik Wolpaw or Tim Schafer write it, would be great.

#4: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

There were two big Buffy games when the show was around, the first game on the original Xbox and the second “Chaos Bleeds” game on PS2/Xbox/GC, and both of them weren’t bad. The first game, actually, was one of the better licensed games that I’ve played. An action-sort of adventure game is how I see this, surprise I know, but with a slight twist. It would be interesting if each episode could take place during the storyline arcs of the show. Like the first episode would take place during the first year, the second episode takes place during the second or third year, the third episode is Buffy at college, the fourth is after she comes back from the dead, and the fifth when The First Evil is kicking around. Having a season-long bad guy that keeps reoccurring would be a nice twist for the game.

#3: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

There were four The Next Generation movies, and only one of them has been worth a damn (First Contact). Meanwhile, DS9, which was a superior show, sorry nerds it just was, got left in the dust. DS9 has continued in books, but why not on a computer screen? Have the series take place like 6 months later with Kira the commander of the station, Bashir and Ezri still having a relationship, etc. The first episode could be setup for bringing Sisko back to see his daughter being born, and setting up another plot. You don’t have to go straight from the books, since those go off the rails, but taking cues from what they did and go forward. No one cares about Voyager, no one ever cared about Enterprise, but seeing more adventures with the DS9 crew, particularly if Armin Shimerman doesn’t have to wear the makeup anymore, would be a nice treat.

#2: Judge Dredd

A lot of the games on this list fall into the adventure game framework, not so with a Judge Dredd episodic game. I see this as you having a sector of Mega City One to patrol and dispense justice in. From low level crimes, like jaywalking or parking violations, to sector wide mayhem like a block war, or robot uprising, you would handle whatever you wanted. The episode nature would come into being with the particular sector criminal of the area, like Judge Death or Orlok the Assassin. Basically just replace Agent 47 with Dredd, give him the Lawgiver, and have you dispense justice however you want.

#1: Law & Order

I re-watch Law & Order every 9 months or so, and it continues to be one of the best TV shows that was ever made. There were a few Law & Order games, but they were largely terrible. I’d have each episode just be a new case for the detectives to work on, and feature the last cast of characters from the show (Lupo/Bernard, Rubirosa/Cutter), as they do police work to find the culprit, then trying to put them away. You could also bring back favorites like Skoda or Rodgers to give it a more authentic feeling. If not Law & Order, I would settle for a Police Quest reboot as well.

For comments, list which movies, TV shows, comics, etc., you’d like to see as episodic games.

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison