Let’s chat video games! One of the most universally enjoyed art forms across, all ages! And given the *huge* popularity, and culture dedicated to them, it’s no wonder executives wanna make a cartoon around them. While in concept a cartoon about a video game sounds like a great idea, many of them end up being vendor trash in your local bargain bin, feeling soulless and completely unnecessary, but occasionally these cartoons can be really good fun, and it can feel great to see our video game heroes in the cartoon screen! So let’s check out the “Top 5 Best *and* Worst Video Game Cartoons.” And as always keep in mind, these are just my silly personal opinions. So take this list with a pinch of salt anyway onto the countdown! (Soft bullet shot and metal ting from Overwatch.)
The fifth *worst* video game cartoon is… Mario: Hey, Paisanos! It’s The Super Mario [Brothers] Super Show! Oh, we know it’s bad! That still doesn’t make it *enjoyably* bad. The live action parts are interesting. The guest celebrities they get on that they can afford are fine. There’s even an episode where they have Inspector Gadget on! And it’s always welcomingly cheesy to see these live action actors doing the Mario! Live action Mario: (While dancing) Wave your arms from side to side! Come on, it’s time to go! Do the Mario! Strider: In a modern Mario, I’d honestly love to see Charles Martinet doing this role! Can you imagine Martinet doing the Mario? Martinet: (In character) It’s-a me! Mario! Woo-hoo! And every episode has the same basic story. The evil King Koopa, a.k.a. Bowser, wreaks havoc in the various worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom. And it’s up to Mario, Luigi, Toad, and the princess -when she isn’t kidnapped- to spoil his *nefarious* plans! (Mildly dry) Rinse, lather, repeat. The animation is cheesy, and *barely* a step up from the CDi games. CDi Luigi: I hope you made lotsa Spaghetti! Strider: Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. The voice acting’s cheesily bad- Mario: En garde, honcho! I’m gonna make linguini outta you!
(Lazer sword draws) King Koopa: I’d like to see you try it, Meatball! (Lazer sword draws) Mario: Take the plunge, Koopa! -the animation’s as dodgy as it gets, but you know, it’s still fun! It’s so *memorably* bad that I still vividly remember this series from when I was a kid! It’s a weak cash-in, but it’s silly, and it’s fun!
It’s bad, and lazy, but it is *enjoyably* bad! Live action Mario: …’Til next time, everybody!
All three on screen: Do the Mario! (Music ends) (Music plays)
Strider: The fifth *best* video game cartoon is… Kirby, Right back at Ya! What a weird surprise to see this… Even existed! A.. really nice surprise though! Kirby’s awesome! Hell, Kirby’s Smash Ultimate Cinematic gave me *goosebumps* it was so good And lucky for us, “Kirby, Right Back at Ya!” was made *in house* by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory [Inc.] To make absolutely sure that Kirby’s TV debut wasn’t a.. *rancid* garbage pile! However, you’re probably saying: (Paraphrasing audience) “But Josh, if it’s in such good hands, why is it so early on the list? This sounds great!” (Answering) Well… Not even Nintendo could save it from the villainous hands of… (Thunder snap) 4Kids! You see, Kirby Right Back at Ya was unlucky enough to have face-landed in their ~devious~ lair! But, surprisingly, they gave it one *hell* of a kicker-intro song! Just listen to this! Singer: (Jazz tune starts) Kirby! Kirby-Kirby! That’s a name you should know! Kirby, Kirby, Kirby! He’s the star of the show! He’s more than you think, he’s got *maximum PINK* Kirby-Kirby-Kirby’s the o-o-one! Unsurprisingly, they gave it the most *hilariously* terrible dub I’ve heard from them since “One Piece”! We just don’t get as charmingly bad dubs nowadays as good ol’ 4Kids! Henchman: His Highness sounds as frightened as a tree as a termite party! Strider: Like King Dedede’s voice and his henchmen are just wonderful to listen to! King Dedede: Well, does this make me look official? Hench-Snail: That’s perfect, sire! Hold it right there! Strider: It’s like I’m listening to some bad, 90’s, kid friendly rap artists, it’s just *wonderful*! In the cartoon, Kirby had made the simple, quaint dream of becoming *The Protector of the Universe!* And as usual, he approaches it with his usual, cutesy, wide-eyed charm that we appreciate him for. Another interesting thing is Kirby never actually speaks in this show. He communicates through a universal language. It’s another sort of “Monster of the Week” type show with an overarching plot. The CGI’s a bit out of date for today’s standards. But it’s still *leagues* better than “Megaman Fully Charged!” Overall, this was a *solid* cartoon series for Kirby. And I’m glad I saw it. And the fourth worst video game cartoon is… (Moment of singing and the creature on screen screams) “Rabbids Invasion” This show is just *awful*! I can assure you, this is one of the most annoying shows on the list! The animation *does* hold up, but it just means we get to watch these *vexing* Minions rip-offs just shaking their rears on our TV’s. Just by being the Rabbids, they’ll have the occasional fun antic, but it tend to just be overwhelmingly annoying.
(Rabbids start blabbering under Strider’s vocal volume.) Every episode is formulaic and just *mindless*! Most of the jokes seem to be the writers throwing up their hands and saying, “Let’s see how random we can get!” There really is nothing else to say with it, it’s so simple! I personally think kids deserve higher quality shows than this. And the fourth *best* video game cartoon is… (Speeding sound) “Sonic the Hedgehog” As some people probably know, I freaking love Sonic! And I’ll take any excuse to talk about him. And here’s one of them! The show also goes by the fan-name “Sonic SatAM” so that people don’t confuse it with the other not-so-good Sonic cartoon series — bad, in fact, but interesting. Sonic: …admission is free! Strider: Would you believe this was actually produced by Dic Animation? But the thing is, you never tell. It’s really, *really* good! With a far more epic, sophisticated, and *dark* story, depicting a world where Robotnik’s basically won! And Sonic’s just one of a handful of freedom fighters just trying to annoy him and turn off his power. Sally: We need to shut down his backup generator too. Sonic: Maybe there isn’t a backup.
(Well-timed power generated) Eh, wrong. Strider: You will never see a more menacing take on Doctor Robotnik than this. And that menacing nature makes one of the most engaging cartoon narratives I can remember. There’s an interesting narrative about nature conquering technology. Along with a really memorable cast of freedom fighters. Hell, Sally was so memorable she still has a following! I had a kind of child crush on bunny rabbit actually, she was just lovely. Bunny Rabbit: But I still have something a robot will never have. A mind and a heart of my own. Strider: Feel free to check out my “Worst Cartoon Endings” if you’re worried about the show’s sad cancellation. Sally: You were really great today! Sonic: Thanks, what about yesterday? And the third worst video game cartoon is… “Donkey Kong Country!” And oh boy, this show will make you go… bananas! (Rim shot) Heh heh. (Sighs) This animated series is very loosely based on the “Donkey Kong Country” video game And it’s honestly one the most bizarre, and *strange* experiences I’ve ever experienced through a cartoon! Donkey Kong: (Singing) If you want a thrill, try a coconut shell! Strider: Just the CGI motion capture itself is *really* strange looking today’s standards But again, I can’t hate it because I can’t help but crack up when I see it! (Characters singing in background audio)
Strider: I mean, just look at these characters! (Singing becomes foreground audio)
Ooooh! A road to suc-cess! Strider: You can’t take these goofy characters seriously! Somehow going from games to TV, we’ve gone from a silent Donkey Kong, to a Donkey Kong who just won’t stop talking! Donkey Kong: Or don’t you remember? I’m gonna be the leader of Kongo Bongo Island someday! The Crystal Coconut said so! Pompous Kong: Coconut, Schmoconut! Strider: When these games transition I think there’s often that dilemma of choosing whether to make a game character talk or not Unfortunately, in this case, it *backfired*! Donkey Kong: I’m blown away, Candi! Strider: And when Donkey Kong was able to talk, it just destroyed his character! The stories are about as coherent as a fever dream, the characters are at best bland, and at worst, incredibly irritating! Diddy Kong: Bad news, DK, looks like Cranky’s all out of bananas! Strider: Get this story: Donkey Kong and his menagerie of deformed clones try to keep control of the *Crystal Coconut!* Donkey Kong: And instead of sitting around, waiting for the Crystal Coconut’s prophecy to come true… Strider: Some Deus ex Machina that can conveniently do whatever the plot demands! I mean, it’s so ridiculous, it does give you a chuckle every so often. But it’s more a chuckle because it’s so bad and cheesy! We get all sorts of weird episodes, like “Bad Hair Day,” where Candi Kong gets kidnapped and King K. Rool makes a robot version of her to trick DK to give her the Crystal Coconut. Robo-Candi: You don’t know your own strength, Donkey Kong. We’ll have to fix that! Strider: Like something like “The Room,” it’s a show that’s fun to watch with a friend because you’re both marveling and laughing at what a train wreck it is But I, myself, wouldn’t watch it alone. And the third *best* video game cartoon is…
(Gunshot and metal jingle going off) Tracer: Psst! What you looking at? Strider: “Overwatch,” the animated shorts. (Explosion) A while ago, Blizzard released several CG animated shorts to help promote their game “Overwatch.” Not many people in the cartoon community talked about it, I guess they fall more into the gaming category. Eh, let’s talk about them anyway! Interestingly, the “Overwatch” animated shorts are canon taking place in the same continuity as the video game. (Gorillia roars as fanfare plays) (Rapid gunfire)
(Tracer giggles) Strider: They actually really contribute to the story, allowing people, like me, who don’t play the games, to enjoy the shorts and learn about the characters Man: Get’cher cannon fixed! Woman: I’m hit! (echoes) Woman on screen: We barely won last time Strider: However with a video game, the story is instead handed out through environments and character quips. Blizzard gives these shorts a real cinematic tilt! The music, as well, is really grandiose, and really helps you get into the action of the shorts. Hell, the episode “The Last Bastion” won an award! It’s a shame there isn’t more of these available, as the few there are really left me wanting to see more of these stories and characters. I’d love to see Netflix give a full animated series to something like this. Tracer: Mind if I crash another party, luv? And the second worst video game cartoon is… “Mega Man: Fully Charged” Augh! What a waste! This could’ve actually been *fun!* I don’t know if it could’ve been revolutionary, a Mega Man cartoon has the potential to at least be interesting! I still remember that one from the 90’s. Theme song: Super fighting robot! … MEGA MAN Strider: The team for this actually looks pretty promising. We have *Man of Action!* The creators of Ben 10 and Generator Rex. But I guess even the most talented individuals can inadvertently make a few flops. Or in this case… More a “careening train wreck explosion.” Mega Mini: Mega Mini! MEGA MINI! Mega Man: Don’t I have a loose circuit board or something for you to fix? Strider: The series follows Aki Light, a.k.a. Mega Man! But now, he’s a school boy. I guess the executives thought “Mega Boy” sounded off somehow. Unfortunately, Mega Boy and all the other characters come off as bland and really uninteresting. Even the colourful robot bosses from the original games have no real incentive to exist! I mean, in one episode, Fire Man comes down to burn the school! Despite having absolutely no reason to even be there to do so! But the most annoying character of all is… Mega Mini! One of those “wonderful” side characters that never stops talking. The plot bending to his will in order for him to give us incredibly bad jokes Mega Mini: Fire Man? Where’s your hoses? Where’s your truck? Where’s your spotted dog!? Strider: And these CGI models just look like something out of a Happy Meal toy box! I mean just look at Mega Man here! He looks like something out of some 3rd Party rejected Nintendo 3DS junk pile! And for some reason, it feels the need to keep transitioning from CGI to Pixel Art. Because, well, I guess pixelated means stylish and edgy? The dialogue’s cheesy, the fights are a bore, I guess there’s nothing harmful in it for occupying younger viewers? But almost everything on Cartoon Network is *far* superior quality to this! And the second best video game cartoon is… (Singing with intro) Earthworm Jim! Through he can crawl! Earthworm Jim! A super suit did fall! (Talking) Ahh, good old Earthworm Jim! He was based off the SNES/Genesis game. And it was really memorable! I still remember that intro! How did something like an Earthworm get a cartoon? Well, never will you see an Earthworm get so much of a personality! Jim: You know what this means, Best Buddy! Oh yes! (Eyes creak and expand)
ROAD TRIIIIP! (Mild echoing) Strider: It probably helps he’s voiced by the talented Dan Castellaneta a.k.a. Homer Simpson. We also get Jim Cummings, the voice of everything almost. Jim Cummings fish: Release, the TOI-Oi-LET PAPER! Strider: We also get a character named Peter Puppy who becomes Jim’s sidekick and best friend. Puppy: You think I’m getting *FAT* Don’t you? Fat like a kettle drum! Jim: Get off my back, Dog BOY! Strider: And Princess What’s-Her-Name, his love interest. No, no, that’s not just me being lazy, that’s *really* her name! We get tons of the memorable villains from the first two games appear in the show too. Most of the episodes involve the villains trying to steal Jim’s super suit. Other times, the villains will try to rule, destroy, or freeze the universe, and try to cause general mayhem around the galaxy. I like the short side stories we get, generally featuring the villains do a more natural part of their lives. It’s like when we see Mojo Jojo go get his eggs. It’s fun seeing the bad guys be normal for once! Psy-Crow goes through a career change, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head attends Group Therapy; it’s very tongue-in-cheek and refreshing. And of course, at the end of the episode, Jim, or any other character, will be crushed by a cow. Evil Cow: You fools, I shall destroy you all! Starting with the lactose intolerant! Strider: Earthworm Jim’s a fun ride, and a fantastic adaption. I definitely recommend it. (Theme song ends)
Jim: Ga-roovy! And now before we get to number 1, just a few quick honorable mentions. “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” This show is weak, but it had a decent over-arching story about Pac-Man finding his parents. And the animation was very colorful and vivid as well. Over-all, I though it was okay. “Team Fortress 2: Meet Them All” And a bit like Overwatch’s cinematic shorts, this was a great way to introduce characters to new players. Or just people interesting in the franchise. The series is just a bunch of short videos dedicated to the characters, displaying their rather vivid personalities and unique tactics. Pokémon. And yeah, the game did come before the anime, you can actually tell from the start of the first episode. (Red/Blue instrumental variant plays) This does deserve its own spot, because Pokémon is freakin *HUGE*! It’s the longest running video game cartoon in the world! But I tend to think most people tend to think most people have said their opinion whether they like Pokémon or not, so I decided to give it a skip. If you’re curious of my general opinion of the series, check out my “Best/Worst Pokémon Movies” video I did with Robyn, if you’re curious. “Sonic Boom” Man, some of the dialogue and writing on this series is *really* sharp! This is definitely one of the best reiterations of Sonic we’ve ever gotten of Sonic. And while it can be clunky at times, in my opinion, it’s a series that’s gotten better and better! But anyway, onto Number 1’s! And, without a doubt, the number 1 worst video game cartoon is… Deep Voice: Captain N: The Game Master! There are many other *bad* video game cartoons out there, but none are as infamous as “The Game Master!” I mean, I can Google bad video game cartoons and it is literally the first result that comes up on Wikipedia. It’s basically just a long, glorified advertisement for a game console! I mean, just listen to this *stellar* world’s name! Woman: Well, you’re in Video Land Strider: Ya get it!? The clever part is, it’s called Video Land because it’s a land from a video game! We even host the -(gasp)- Videolympics! (Groans) I think would’ve been happier not ever knowing the name “Videolympics” even existed in the vocabulary of man! “Captain N’s” characters are shallow, the animation’s some of the laziest you will ever see, if I didn’t recognize these characters, they’d probably look like.. distorted blurs to my head! But during my craze, when I was 6, I could actually seen myself watching this lazy, cartoon white-noise. We even get the chance at one episode to celebrate… Mega Man’s birthday! (Sarcastically) Oh, hoo-ray! Mega Man: I can’t tell you Kid Icarus, if I do it won’t come true. Woman: How about opening your presents, Mega Man? Strider: But video Land is always under attack! BY VARIOUS NINTENDO ANTAGONISTS! The most ugly, cheesy Nintendo Antagonists you could ever ask for. Mother Brain: To stock it bin floor at the heart of Video Land! Strider: I’m gonna guess this isn’t what you expected Mother Brain to look, or sound like They shovel so much merchandise at you that you’ll be hallucinating D-Pads for the next two days! What is there to *say* about the animation? Just look at it for yourself! It’s lazy, haphazard, and just corporate washed down plastic junk! Captain N was some of the worst of the glorified advertisement era. Insert popular product here, and make a cartoon! They even introduce “Game Boy” as a character! A literal. Talking. Game Boy. Game Boy: I am called Game Boy, I am programmed to play games. Strider: The originality bar here is just going so *low*! I don’t think we can cram it to the floor any lower! I-I guess the novelty of seeing this exists means it serves a purpose in cartoon history? But it really doesn’t do much! The only thing Captain N gives to the world is the strong lesson how to definitely *not* do a video game cartoon! And I think the number 1… *best* video game cartoon is… “Castlevania” Just a heads up: This one isn’t for younger viewers. Brutal, dark, and one of the best adult Netflix cartoons out right now. Dracula: (Echoing) What have you done? At first, we get to see Dracula fall in love… but then his wife is burned at the stake, after being accused of witchcraft. So the vampire Dracula commits genocide on *all* the villagers of Wallachia. “Castlevania” is a sign that video game cartoons can’t just be good, they can be incredible epics. Much like the game, Trevor, the last of his family, takes up arms against Dracula’s army of Demons and Monsters. There’s a hint of the original games’ series in the show, but it’s not so overpowering it destroys the story. The animation is violent and gory, but artistic. And is the perfect example of transforming a game into something more of its own. Organized religion certainly isn’t a hero of this series. Vincent: You people suddenly decided we were wrong to defend this land from the supernatural, and now– Priest: YOU BELMONTS HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD! Strider: But underlying it all, we can understand how much damage this selfishness, and cruelty, and single-mindedness of the church has done too all the innocent people and how many lives it’s cost. Priest: The people of this city are man! And our Lord is now! Strider: Though not for everyone, “Castlevania” is among the best video game cartoons I’ve ever seen. Much like animation, video games have always had this way of reaching me on a deeper emotional level. And so often, they brought me some familiarity, and comfort when I really needed it. So, for me, even if some of these game cartoons are bad, a part of me is just happy to see these characters I like getting some time in the cartoon spotlight. Besides, if “Castlevania” is any sign, these game cartoons are not being treated as some joke cash-in anymore. And I think the future for them looks pretty bright! And if you think I missed any particularly good or bad video game cartoons, feel free to let me know in the comments below. And as always, thanks for watching! And I’ll see you next time! Another interesting game cartoon that popped up was Minecraft Story Mode. They basically took the game and turned it into a “choose your own adventure you can play with your remote.” I really hope they keep making these multiple choice shows, and I really enjoyed all 5 episodes. Subtitled by Jadrek Myers, commissioned by PhantomStrider.