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Top 10 worst cartoons based on videogames

Movie adaptations of videogames have frequently been awful. They exist as a way for a studio to get name recognition for a genre film and allow a fledgling Director to get their first shot at a feature. Most often they alienate the fanbase of the game by omitting the aspects the players loved while making additions and changes that damage the reputation of the franchise. Would children’s cartoons based on games be even worse? Imagine what happens then when you take beloved, classic games and translate them to poor quality animations while compromising the content to appeal to children. Here’s a list of ten such abominations for your consideration.

10. Street Fighter
There exists a Japanese animated version of Street Fighter so good it almost erases the memory of the horrible live action versions. We’re not here to discuss that masterpiece though, we’re here to talk about an abomination instead. This is delicious:

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9. Double Dragon
One of the first and most innovative of the side scrolling beat em ups, Double Dragon is a bona fide classic. It contains all the ingredients for a violent adventure story: sibling rivalry, gang warfare and girls being punched in the stomach by punks. How can such a seedy, violent b-movie plotline be applied to a children’s cartoon? Well, they could ignore the story, give them magic swords and masks and say “Dragon” a lot in the theme tune.

8. Captain N: The Game Master
Children’s cartoons have been glorified advertisements for toy ranges since He-Man came along, but Captain N took this to new levels. I mean really, can they do this? Is this not wrong? I’m not the guy who demands that cartoons be educational. As long as kids learn that dropped anvils will flatten you into a concertina, explosions cover you in black soot and Acme is a poor supplier of goods and services then I’m fine. Surely a half hour program of targeted marketing aimed directly at their receptive little minds will brainwash them though. Won’t they grow up to buy Nintendo consoles and Mario games regardless of the fact that the company they loved has abandoned the hardcore fans who made them a success to pander to the casual gamers? Oh, wait…..

7. Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm
While other entries on this list may have had some limited potential to succeed as a children’s cartoon, this entry was doomed from conception. What’s the very first thing you think about when someone mentions Mortal Kombat? The very first thing. Honestly. Is it violence? Blood? It’s either one of those or, more likely, fatalities. You know, those things where you pull out someone’s spine or burn off their skin or melt their face or pull their arms off and beat them to death with them. Imagine a Mortal Kombat with no violence and no fatalities (only Friendships). Never has anything missed the point of the original source material as much as the Mortal Kombat animated kids cartoon.

6. The Adventures of Super Mario Brothers 3
Unlike everything else here, Mario makes a lot of sense as a cartoon character. He appeals to children, saves Princesses and has a bunch of loyal, bumbling sidekicks (what exactly is a Birdo?) and a range of inept, incompetent antagonists (who birthed the Koopa Troopers?). The problem with this cartoon is that while it is clearly just a cartoon about Mario, it is marketed and branded prominently as “The Adventures of Super Mario Brothers 3”. The opening sequence has a huge image of the game cover on the front of a book; an act of marketing not so much subliminal as beating-you-about-the-face.

5. Pac-Man
The problem with converting a character invented to circumvent the graphical limitations of ancient gaming hardware to a world of children’s entertainment is the number of questions it raises. Is Pacman a drug addict? What is this strange world of mazes he lives in? What were the ghosts when they were alive? Is that really a Pac-Baby? How was that conceived? Who is this strange Sith Lord included in the cartoon but never mentioned in the game? What the fuck is going on!?!

4. Wing Commander Academy
Wing Commander was one of the first game franchises to be badly burned by an awful movie adaptation. As if they couldn’t just leave well alone, they had to make an unsuccessful cartoon as well. Despite featuring some major vocal talent (Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell) the damage was already done.

3. Sonic the Hedgehog
Much of Sonic’s woes (and whoa, have there been a lot of woes) started when he added an expanded cast to his adventures. Things got worse when he started to talk. When an animated series about a talking Sonic and his crazy crew of friends and enemies came along it was always doomed to failure. Not as bad as some entries on the list, it’s nonetheless sad to see Sonic in any medium these days. It’s been so very, very long since he did anything right. It seems like someone needs to just turn off the life-support machine and let him die peacefully. Beep….Beep….Beep…Beep…Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…….

2. Dungeons and Dragons
Ok, so this one’s a cheat because it’s based on a traditional RPG rather than a videogame. I’ve included it here because they never finished the series….a series about a bunch of teenagers trapped in a fantasy world that can’t get home. That means they’re still trapped there. Forever.

They had chances to get home, but they always missed out to save a unicorn. Or help a friend. Or a doorway closed on them at the last minute. At least each time they learned a lesson…then the show got cancelled. And now they’re trapped forever. The lesson? Fuck helping people, when you get a chance to escape a nightmare world of dragons and mind worms you should curb-stomp any unicorn or cut the balls off any Dungeon Master who gets in your way!

1. Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
I’ll admit, I’ve thrown you a curve ball with this one. This cartoon is actually pretty good. Intended for kids but with a few jokes thrown in for adults, the developers of the game had some say in the development of the anime. Didn’t see that coming did you!

So that about wraps up this list. I hope you enjoyed it, the last entry shows that good children’s cartoons can be made out of videogames. The question is though, why bother? There are so many great games out there for kids. Take my advice, put on some Katamari Damacy or Mario Galaxy and forget about all this nonsense. Educate your offspring on great games and if you need to show them a cartoon, pick one with an original story and a great theme tune.

Published inTop 10