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The 10 TV Shows You Didn't Know Were Turned Into Video Games

by DannyGallagher   December 09, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 2,943

It’s hard to escape the warm glow of your television. It is everywhere. It’s in your living room, your bathroom, your car, even your pocket. If it had legs and arms, it would follow you around like some creepy Transformer with a stalker fetish. Until digital television finds a way to grow opposable thumbs that can operate high powered binoculars from bushes, they will have to make due by invading your lives through other means...like video games.

Photo: NBC

By Danny Gallagher

10. The Office

The whole reason both the UK and US versions of "The Office” work as a comedy is because it’s clearly a place where nothing productive ever gets done. Along with video rental stores, food court restaurants and government departments, it’s the place where work goes to die.

The game version of the US remake of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant classic seems to think that the real Dunder-Mufflin is busier than a one handed whore at a Dungeons and Dragons tournament. The player takes control of the loveable everyman Jim who has basically been turned into the office’s whipping boy as he runs for errands and supplies for the rest of the staff. The only time he’s really himself is when he gets enough power to pull a prank on Dwight, the office a-hole. If we wanted to run errands all day for people we can barely tolerate, we’d just shower, go to work and put on clean pants (not necessarily in that order).

9. The Shield

Photo: FX Networks

Pundits, parents and other pricks love to pick up the latest hot title and parade it around the world as a scapegoat for all of the ills of the young and impressionable. Little do they know that being a goody-two-shoes know-it-all can also rub off on their kids and inadvertently turn them into something that can do more harm than video games ever could, like a self-appointed third-world dictator, a telemarketing firm manager or a Hummer salesman.

It’s a mystery why the Jack Thompsons of the world failed to look past the growing money bags of the “Grand Theft Auto” series and pick up the spinoff of this groundbreaking FX drama that let players do all of the things they think happen in just about every other video game. The game stars most of the original cast and gives players control of the world’s most badass baldie as he plants guns and drugs on suspects, interrogates crooks by repeatedly kidney punching them or shoving their face onto a hot stove top and racks up more ACLU lawsuits than a TSA scrotum scraper.


8. The A*Team

Photo: Universal Television/NBC

It’s strange that one of the most iconic action shows in the history of the medium never got its own big-budget gaming spectacular, and you realize why when you play this very early Atari version. I’m guessing the reason is that causing players’ eyes to bleed does help long-term revenue goals.

The only connections this early title had to the 80s TV show is the giant disembodied floating head that’s supposed to represent B.A. and the giant phallic “A*Team” title that rockets across the title screen. The goal is, simply put, to “Save Hannibal,” the team’s cigar chomping leader by using Mr. T’s bulbous noggin to shoot what appear to be gold nuggets and snakes at some very odd-looking enemies that would look out of place in one of Tim Burton’s drug addled nightmares. Where’s the awesome van? Where’s Faceman and Murdock? For God’s sake, where are the innocent buxom blondes with the inappropriately short shorts who always need help on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m./7:30 central?

7. Dallas

Photo: Warner Bros. Television/CBS

The longtime CBS primetime soap had some of the most ridiculous plot endings and resolutions in its time. It brought characters back from the dead by writing them back to life using the unexplained power of dreaming. It explained away unseen suicides with even more ludicrous explainations. It even turned the infamous “Who shot J.R.?” moment, the show’s most iconic memory, into a crazy resolution that only a demon influenced suicide could top it (that didn’t happen until the last season).

Nothing, however, pushes the show off the crazy charts more than the Apple II and C64 computer game inspired by it. “The Dallas Quest” put players in the middle of the Southfork Ranch as a hard-nosed detective hired by the Ewings to find the map to a lost oilfield. The journey takes the player through the path of the scheming J.R. Ewing who enlists the aid of giant spiders, mythical South American idols and even tribes of cannibals to stop you. The only thing missing is an ending where you wake up and realize that when you were playing this cockamamie game, you were actually sound asleep and just dreaming about it the whole time.

6. Gilligan’s Island

Photo: CBS Productions

It’s hard to understand the marketing behind this TV to game translation of the classic sitcom. There wasn’t a big screen remake of the show (yet, shoot, I think I just gave some evil movie producer a very bad idea) and none of the cool kids whose parents bought them an NES would even consider buying a game like this, unless they needed something to blow up with the fireworks their uncle let them have for Christmas. Why couldn’t his Dad have gotten my Mom drunk and had me instead?

That didn’t stop the makers of “The Adventures of Gilligan’s Island” from turning the Professor, Ginger and Mary Ann into pixelated versions of themselves for this very crude graphic adventure. It stars all of the show’s memorable characters wandering around the aisle for various items and the strangest part is the player doesn’t control Gilligan, the main character. They actually control the Skipper who always has to deal with his “little buddy” bumbling behind him every step of the way. The big boss ends up being a giant idol that grants wishes, but it would have been way more satisfying if you could kill Gilligan with your bare hands and because he has infinite lives, you could keep offing him over and over again.


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5. Home Improvement

Photo: Touchstone Television

Thanks to groundbreaking games like “Quake” and “Dead Rising,” we’ve learned that just about any major hand or power tool can be turned into the world’s most awesome weapon. We would have learned it a lot sooner had this version game version of the hokey ABC sitcom been something that didn’t make you wish you could take an actual power tool to it.

You play as Tim “The Toolman” Taylor (who else would be? Al? Maybe if the game featured a hot dog eating contest and “Burliest Bear” pageant) traveling through different themed studio sets to retrieve the ultimate power tool and only your trusty Binford products can you see through the final boss. So if the enemies like the dinosaurs, mummies and robots are really just dumb extras in prop-suits, that means Tim is just going on an office killing spree, which makes perfect sense since we’d do the same thing if we had to read such inane dialogue and plots from week to week.


4. Desperate Housewives

Photo: ABC

Near sighted game developers have been tryin to tap into the untapped girl game market since the medium first started hitting store shelves. Every time they do try to tailor a game to the gamer’s with X chromosomes, their shallowness and cynicism can make gamers of any sex cringe more than a Shatner spoken word musical.

The makers of this spinoff from the popular ABC drama tried to give a “Sims” style quality to the dunderheads on Wisteria Lane by putting the player in the middle of the action as a mysterious housewife who tries to get all of the central characters to talk their secrets right out of them. Your one weapon is the deadly art of conversation. It’s only a matter of time before the makers of “Dance Dance Revolution” try to turn “My Dinner with Andre” into one of those inane rhythm games (press “up to down” and then “B” to counter Andre’s belief that life is what you make of it with a heavy dose of sour reality).

Video: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/game-intro-desperate-housewives/13784

3. Alf

Photo: NBC

Game developers can turn any cute, flavor of the month character into a video game for a quick buck. This franchise only producers a quick laugh and it’s not the kind the creators were aiming for.

The same can be said for TV’s third best loved alien. Gordon Shumway has gotten the game treatment, not once but twice on the Sega Master System and the home PC. No matter which game you choose, the playthrough is just as incomprehensible as the show. The PC version puts you in control of Alf as he makes his way through a giant block maze trying to pick up pizza and cats to escape the evil wrath of the local dog catcher. The Sega version features the forgotten fuzzball drudging through underground caves where (I swear I’m not making this up) he battles blood sucking bats with a giant salami. It turns out “Ha, I kill me” wasn’t just a cheap catchphrase. It was actually a ferdant wish and prayer.

2. Grey’s Anatomy

Photo: ABC

Did you ever want to be a doctor or a surgeon? Did you want to work in a hospital where the fact that lives hang in the balance only comes second to who’s sleeping with who behind your back? Did you ever realize that actually getting to work in such a place would involve an ungodly amount of contact with other’s people urine and stomach contents? That last one can apply to either of the previous two questions.

This next-generation translation of the medical drama tried to replicate both, both it mostly involved the player pretended to care about virtual patients by performing everything from simple throat swabs to complex muscular surgery while driving the endless story of love, death and the human drama. It also requires motion controls so thanks to the Nintendo Wii, you can not only pretend to sew up skin grafts or inject penicilin in patients, but you can also use the motion stick to gag yourself at the sappy plot and dialogue.

1. Happy Days

Photo: Henderson Productions

Even though the home video game console wouldn’t actually enter the home when this iconic sitcom took the airwaves, the arcade manufacturers found a way to cash in on its success by sucking every last quarter out of your pocket unless your pockets were ripping clean off.

Arcade managers in the late 70s could purchased this racing cabinet spinoff called simply “Fonz” that put players on the seat of Arthur Fonzarelli’s bitching hog and send him speeding down a busy highway in the path of other cyclers and general oncoming traffic. And no, before you ask, no sharks were involved, even though they should have been. Not only would it have made the game 10 times cooler than it already was, but it could have also delivered something no other game could deliver at the time: tasty, tragic irony.

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