10 Awful Video Games Based On TV Shows

From the box to the bargain bin...

superman 64

Games based on movies are always met with trepidation, because, let’s face it, the ratio of good to dire always tips in favour of the latter. But games based on TV shows aren’t a taboo subject - quite the contrary. Whereas a film port is confined to mapping out levels around a ninety (ish) minute run time, TV licensed products have much more freedom to roam, letting developers create unique adventures based on properties that viewers have ploughed endless hours into.

From cartoon series given memorable interpretations on consoles – DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, The Simpsons: Hit & Run – to live action shows that carried some serious playability – 24: The Game and who could forget Telltales' The Walking Dead – the run of TV hits on consoles and PCs is pretty heady. But, as the title of this article indicates, there are some adaptations out there that should never have been made and, to a greater extent, nor should have the shows they are based on.

That’s right, for every Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sesame Street Fighter ( don’t laugh, it has niche qualities) there will be a The Shield: The Game, Dallas Quest, or Lost: Via Domus. This is what this article will be looking at, and, just to give you an idea of how bad some of the forthcoming titles really are, none of the above mentioned are included. Prepare to witness some real TV nightmares.

10. ALF

superman 64
Alien Productions

NBC had a hit on their hands with this sci-fi sitcom and back in the late eighties you couldn’t walk past a toy store without seeing some kind of ALF effigy glaring at you from behind the window – for a time, he was the cuddliest alien that had ever graced screens. However, while it was all very well having a stuffed toy or grabbing a pack of ALF top trumps, you weren’t quite so wise if you forked out for a copy of ALF on the Master System.

Pitched as an adventure game with some action thrown in the mix, players have to navigate ALF around the Tanner homestead, looking for parts of his space ship, some salami to snaffle, and also some bats to get into a ruck with. At the time, critics had issues with everything from the gameplay to the even then outdated graphics, so just imagine what it looks like now. Unsurprisingly, this cosmic mess was ALF’s sole voyage on consoles.

In this post: 
First Posted On: 

Shaun is a former contributor for a number of Future Publishing titles and more recently worked as a staffer at Imagine Publishing. He can now be found banking in the daytime and writing a variety of articles for What Culture, namely around his favourite topics of film, retro gaming, music, TV and, when he's feeling clever, literature.