Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Video Games

The Rise of Video Game Adaptations in TV Series

The last few years have seen significant changes to how many of us consume television. The rise of social media as well as streaming has meant that many broadcasting studios need to change the way they approach their programming. Long gone are the days of reality shows, game shows, and even talent shows, with shows like The X Factor being cancelled in 2018 and viewing figures for Britain’s Got Talent declining with each passing season.

Indeed, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has led to many TV series adopting a multiverse approach, where genres, characters, and storylines are interlinked. There has also been a lot of content that has been repurposed from other media, particularly video games.

You only need to look at the number of Hollywood Blockbusters that have been released after they had initially been video games, with Tom Holland’s Uncharted and Chris Pratt in Super Mario Bros breaking box office numbers, and this approach has transcended onto the small screen, with a significant rise in video game adaptations for television series.

This surge in popularity offers fans immersive narratives, and stories beyond the gaming world to expand on the universe’s lore, some better than others. With that in mind, read on as we take a look at the best TV series that have been adapted from video game titles.

The Last of Us

Kicking things off with the critically acclaimed and most popular series of the last few years – a bleak tale of survival, desperation, loyalty, and family, HBO’s The Last of Us.

Initially released on Sony’s Playstation 3 in 2013, the game pushed the console to its limits with some of the best storytelling you will ever see in a video game, following Joel and his surrogate daughter Ellie as they try and survive the post-apocalyptic United States after a zombie infestation breaks out. It turns out Ellie is the cure and the pair must try and get her to a doctor in order to try and save humanity.

While we won’t go into any more spoilers, there is a second edition of the game which was released in 2020, but so far HBO had chosen to focus their TV series on the first game, expanding on the origins of the zombies and how the breakout occurred, as well as fine-tuning a few of the side characters, including an episode that goes completely off script from the game to add its own spin on the storyline, with Nick Offerman, usually known for his comedy work, putting in a stunning display as survivalist Bill.

The series is gripping from start to finish and perhaps the finest display of a video game surviving in the world of television.


Based on the iconic video game franchise known for its retro-futuristic setting and nuclear apocalypse backdrop, Fallout was released by Amazon Prime video, known for its fantastic work on similar styles of shows like The Boys and Invincible.

Episodes are currently being released weekly after the show made its debut on the streaming platform on April 10, with the pilot episode trending on social media for its clever spin on the game series, showing a different style of comedy alongside a creative colour palette that will earn some plaudits come awards season.

The Fallout series has seen many different video game releases over the years, from its debut in 1997 to the popular Fallout: New Vegas, which guides players through an apocalyptic desert of broken casinos, ravagers, and futuristic weapons.

Much like the real Las Vegas, the Fallout: New Vegas map is filled with casinos with different deposit options. There are a total of 6 popular casino venues like The Tops, Atomic Wrangler, and Gomorrah. The only difference is, you’re playing for ‘caps’ and in-game items and not actual dollars!

Fallout’s new episodes try to stay faithful to the source material but deviate slightly from the tale of the role-playing games created by Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky.

Arcane (League of Legends)

A slight change in genres now when looking at the adaptation of League of Legends called Arcane. The series ran for nine episodes at the end of 2021 and was reportedly in production for over six years.

League of Legends is one of the most popular battle arena games of all time, and still has a cult player base despite releasing in 2009, with regular updates ensuring players return for more. Netflix leveraged this popularity and created an animated series that focuses on the characters within the world of Piltover, with extra worldbuilding and several tense scenes that were voiced brilliantly by a strong cast that included Hailee Steinfeld as Vi and Kevin Alejandro as Jayce.

After lots of rumours a second season was confirmed, set to release later this year after Netflix released a first glimpse in January.

Overall, both video game and television adaptations tap into the rich lore and captivating characters of the original games, aiming to satisfy long-time fans while attracting new audiences, with the success of these adaptations paving the way for more video game properties to transition into the TV format, bridging the gap between gaming and mainstream entertainment.