Club Penguin was a online social service by New Horizon Interactive who were later acquired by Disney. The online game was released from 2005 and was live until 2017. Aimed at youngsters to have them experience mini-games with their choice of avatar, the network allowed players to create their avatars modelled on a penguin. The mini-games were hosted on an island covered in snow to work with the player avatars. Club Penguin was interesting because the players were represented by penguins who were brightly colored where players can select from. These colors ranged from pink, cyan and lime green for example. In the online game, players can customise their characters and allow the characters to take part in various mini games.
Club Penguin got made a spin off for the Nintendo DS with the game Elite Penguin Force however the game is more of the characters being seen as NPCs and not from the player, which takes away what the main Club Penguin was like. My biggest focus and what is worth the feature is Club Penguin Game Day! for the Nintendo Wii which was released in 2010. The game takes the icy scene found in the online social game and re-creates it into the stand alone game for the Nintendo Wii featuring another set pf party games. The game takes full advantage of the Nintendo Wii hardware to make a game rendered extremely different from the online social service as the game is rendered entirely in 3D unlike the online counterpart which was rendered in the Adobe Flash's illustrative 2D. This is a nice change and boost which makes the game worth seeing. Players could also had taken their designs from the network and use them for the game and later upload the results from the games mini-games onto the social network, which was a strong feature for the time when the website was live. While the Club Penguin services have been taken offline, the spin off for the Nintendo Wii is a nice way to re-explore the game and its setting with characters if anyone wants to revisit the game. The Nintendo DS version have characters with narrative however there weren't much NPCs in the main version found online. It does feel like the developers had fun taking the content from the original and mixing them together for the single player spin offs and worth checking out if someone is really a Club Penguin fan. The penguins which their wide hips and flabby arms makes the characters of the penguins for avatars but it makes the overall design very generic unlike the following entries. The following entries feel more personal in terms of design from their creators considering this entry is an online game for the players and not a web-comic or web-show for the fans.
Maplestory DS was only released in South Korea in 2010 and Japan in 2011 for the Nintendo DS. The original Maplestory is a free MMO game where players can venture into the world of Mapleland selecting from one of four main character classes with a further option of classes to build away from the main beginner class. The online game is notorious for the heavy grinding nature and the challenge of reaching the highest level, which would take the player years to reach and to overcome a sheer amount of boredom. Maplestory's success of captivating players has led the game to have a spin off titled Maplestory DS for what the title suggests was made for the Nintendo DS. When Nintendo decided to form a South Korean division, many were thrilled because it gave South Koreans a good opportunity to make video games for consoles as well as for a Nintendo console. Maplestory's developer Nexon had taken the chance to bring Maplestory on the Nintendo DS. Being an spin-off, the game offers a lengthy narrative and a story mode where player could take control of all the four character classes spilt apart as story segments throughout the game as the game progresses. As the game couldn't get as much original from its online counterpart, the characters are designed and even named after each of the character classes, the Warrior, Thief, Mage and Archer. Maybe for good reason as just like the original, it would allow the player to customise the characters in the game by giving them the option of weapons and clothing. So the player could collect gears and weapons for that character class and to experience the different kinds of customisation creations of that character just like what is found in the online game.
Maplestory has enjoyed the success as an online game across the world. The online series has spawn a sequel, Maplestory 2. Who knows if Maplestory 2 gets spawned into a single player only game and offers players similar to what's found in the latest online game but maybe too soon as Maplestory 2 does offer something new and engaging. Nexon and Nintendo also released another spin-off for the 3DS titled MapleStory: The Girl’s Fate however this was only released in South Korea in 2013 and later in Japan in 2014 where the main focus of the story is a single original styled character, being female, maybe designed to place more focus for the player to play and complete the game. This game also had an unofficial English patch translation to show how strong the fanbase of the single player games are. Why wasn't there a Western release of any of the spin off games? I think there should have been because Maplestory is popular in Europe and North America.
#8: Angry Birds
Angry Birds was a success from the online games released among casual gamers. Being a hit on smartphone and mobile devices, the game had reached a lot of handheld online platforms. Maybe the simple character designs have helped with the game's success for being more recognisable and known. The designs of characters in the series range from the birds to the (unusually colored) green pigs and have helped with the games success. So much that they characters have had the movie treatment to another spin off game just for the green pigs characters to be featured as main characters who are usually seen as the enemies of the game. The most formidable character in the Angry Bird series is the round red bird, who is also the games app icon as well as the game's cover on the printed releases. He is known as Red, colored the same way to further represent the idea that he is angry and means business. The other characters being Chuck, the yellow bird with the point tip for his head, who is known for multiplying into versions of himself in the game to hit masses of objects across a stage. The other known character is named Bomb, who is a bigger round black colored bird who has a lot of mass and able to generate a lot of force when he hits an object in the game. The characters have also appeared in sequels and other spin-off titles while maintaining their original looks in many cases while the games settings mostly change to make the game feel very different and fun, from Star Wars and Rio universe for example. The characters appearances remain unchanged which still allows the players to be aware that it's an Angry Birds title from Rovio Entertainment.
The characters have set as standard to what the franchise looks like. I'm not sure if they will ever have any new characters or a change of characters for a game. Angry Birds Trilogy for example contains three games, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. The games are in 2D and worth to note, the movie is presented in 3D. There aren't Angry Bird games presented and rendered in 3D even with the currently capabilities on modern hardware, so I'm not sure what's taking so long for the characters to really evolve in 3D within video games. Maybe because the movie spun-off from the game has set a standard to what people expect from the series if they ever made a game in 3D. It could be a challenge as the 2D designs look extremely simple compared to the 3D designs from the movie which have set a benchmark for the characters which could be a challenge to recreate for a game. Who knows!
Smosh's Food Battle: The Game was released in 2014. It features the original Smosh duo, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecoxa as selectable characters alongside other characters made originally just for the game itself. Smosh were a duo who are well known for creating videos for YouTube. The nature of YouTube to allow people to create vlogs however against Smosh who have made videos, these videos were usually fictional versions of themselves which made them known as a comedy channel. One segment was extremely popular in 2006, the duo made a video titled Food Battle, where they compared which food was better, not in terms of taste but taken a step to use the food as devices for everyday use, which created extremely ridiculous situations for their videos. The segments always had featured Anthony with one food item against Ian's common food of choice, the doughnut where he had a chance for it to be featured every year. It is maybe a surprise that the segment was good enough to be made as video gaming material. In the smartphone game Food Battle, giant donuts and other sugar foodstuffs have invaded the land within the game and it is up to Smosh and others to put those invaders to rest.
During the games development, Food Battle was met with loads of controversy. The high funding target at IndieGoGo was set at $250,000 (£200,000) to get the game funded which was said to be extremely high for a mobile game. I believe it was extremely clear why the funding target was so high after the news of its network Defy Media was shutting down despite being reported to have millions of dollars invested into it last year, which clearly hints to where some of that money could possibly have went. The game is often listed sometimes as simply Food Battle: The Game and doesn't include the name Smosh in there.
I would think it does get rather serious when there are actors who design and create fictional characters of themselves and other properties with the software (like YouTube) we have to transfer the material into games, so I think it is a plus to see a web-series get featured in a game rendered in 3D. In 2017, the game was taken down from online stores like the Google Store. There wasn't a reason or an official announcement into why but many think it may have been Anthony's departure from the series Smosh. Anthony now uploads videos onto his own YouTube channel. He does continue to sport Smosh, as there are other characters who have started to appear in the series and he hopes the best for series while Ian is still with Smosh continuing the series. For those who had a chance to play the game, good for you. Not sure if this game will ever return in the digital app store or available to download.
Happy Tree Friends was released for the Xbox 360 and PC in 2010. The gameplay is a platform puzzle game where the player has to rescue the characters in hazardous style levels of the game. The gameplay is a lot like the game Lemmings, where there are characters are spawns and have to reach from one end of the stage to another at the exit to safety however unfortunately there are hazards in the way, causing the characters from getting hurt or killed. Because the series was known for the characters to have very unfortunate fates if they weren't taken care off, it was maybe why the the game was made to have the characters in this style of gameplay. The player has tools to help the characters reach the end of the stage but they are comically extremely like scaring them to move or to set fire onto them but helps just in case the characters get frozen for example which was clearly made anti-climatic to fit the series feel.
Happy Tree Friends was popular at the time among teens and young adults because of the humor in the show as the characters had to endure really out of control situations which often results in many of the characters getting killed but the situations were animated silly enough that it came across as funny. The idea that animated deaths like these with what the show presents made it into a platform game considering the feature of preventing a characters deaths are very common in platform games.
Happy Tree Friends has become very obscure as time went on despite the series success. Maybe because Mondo Media has been focusing on other projects since the last episode which dates back to 2009. Five new episode of Happy tree Friends have been released in 2019 on their website. There is little fate knowing what will be for the series and the video game.
#5: South Park
South Park started out as animated shorts by college students Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They've made short cartoons after their college years in 1995 and uploaded their animation which they've created in their spare time attached with an email which was sent around. Soon the email became really popular as many others forwarded the email with the animation and were even copying and transferring them onto VHS tapes to be shared around. The cartoons became so popular they've managed have found themselves hired by a television network who later carried their designs from them to be produced into a full length television series. It has grown to the South Park to what we know and recognise today. The cartoon has continued the success which allows it to add more depth and content over the years to tell the story in the world of South Park.
The games has as much depth as the season of shows that has been produced over the years. One of the first games was for the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation which was released at the end of 1998 (and rendered in 3D) and countless other games made on other systems which the games presentation maybe draw it back to a 2D presentation but only because the cartoon is still in the 2D paper like stop animation feel. South Park still continues on video games consoles with the latest game South Park: The Fractured But Whole. South Park has come a long way since their shortlived and fun premier seen within emails.
The show now may feel very distant and out of touch from the internet counterpart and their time on our monitors was extremely short lived. This was very early when the internet started to become popular. Some may not even been around then. It was a time when everyone thought the internet was like an exposable or small software tool that was better for just having an email account that maybe would have never taken further to what we have today. Interestingly enough, the characters in South Park since the animated short online have hardly been developed. The characters have kept their style of clothing since the short right to a character like Cartman who is very big and round and has maintained his appearance. The characters and cartoon in the series show only have been developed more aesthetically to give them a more smoother and bolder look to them to allow them to appear better on screen as well as the reported technology they have, which helps them produce episodes within days. I would say maybe because the connection from the television network helped and the popularity of the show continued, which has led it to be made into all the video game, they have somehow kept the designs which was first seen online.
Penny Arcade Adventures is a 2008 adventure role playing video game based on a long running web-comic Penny Arcade. The web-comic Penny Arcade features two characters across the series, Jonathan "Gabe" Gabriel and Tycho Brahe. When the game was created, they were featured in the game however in a more elegant way. The game being an RPG who uses the main characters to help with the player's created character, to help them solve puzzles and complete the game. Penny Arcade has been around for over two decades, so it is extremely welcoming to see the characters get featured for a video game and to retain their cartoon comic look to them while giving the player a chance to create an experience for themselves like the creators who have created the story within their comics. Penny Arcade still makes their stories for their work on their website as of 2019, so it's worth checking out considering their still live.
Penny Arcade Adventure was released in the episodic format with four episodes to give players a game to enjoy however there were issues which completely transformed their development halfway. Episode three and four gave a different experience. The first two episodes were from a developer Hothead Games and the last two episodes were from another developer Zeboyd Games. For the first two epsiode, the game allows you to create an original character in a similar style of the webcomics. The gameplay world is featured in 3D however during the game, the cutscenes are featured in 2D in a comic book presentation, so it's interesting to see your created character being seen in 2D and 3D which transferred between the two well alongside the Penny Arcade characters. Episode 3 and 4 had a completely different graphical style, a pixel art style which fits the role playing setting but I think it doesn't complete the series entirely well because of the previous episodes graphics. Maybe makes sense as Penny Arcade web-comics are about games but the idea that it had to grow into such a development process because the first developer wanted to work on another project, doesn't feel fulfilling seeing all the episodes run with each other. However Penny Arcade Adventures does retain what the web-comic is known for, the characters, writing and the culture is presents into a video game.
Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? is a web-series where it stars characters are Anthony Burch, Ash Burch who are siblings and their father David Burch in real life who play fictional versions of themselves on screen. They play video games and make points about the games they feature but in a fun way to better explain the idea of the design of the game. The Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin's characters downloaded as DLC for Saints Row IV had the game use their character likeness and their character as the main characters "homies" to help the player in the game to help them during the games missions and challenges. Maybe a small addition to the game but an interesting one as it is Saint Rows 4. The characters are modelled from their real life counter part and an added bonus that the DLC characters can talk to each other like the web-show. The actress who plays Ash also has a big part in her contributions in video games, she voices characters across many video games, my favourite being Chloe in Life is Strange. The writer of the series Anthony Burch has also written the story for Borderlands 2 and contributed to a few other games. However small the Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin' is compared to whats out there, I think the use of the characters was good in Saints Row IV. A good start? Who knows if the series would ever made their own video game. The series is still making episodes which are usually found on their YouTube channel. Also worth noticing that another regular of the web series Leigh Davis wasn't in the DLC. I'm not sure why. So maybe that remains a mystery or she is saving that energy as she produces other online works that she creates.
Saints Rows series is THQ's open world crime game that is along side other games in the ever popular growing amount of open world crime games. The series eventfully went out to make their fourth game after a successful run but Saints Rows IV had a different tone from the street gang culture usually found within their series. Saint Rows IV takes a turn and set in a world where everyone on Earth got abducted by aliens and imprisoned them in a computer simulation world referenced from the popular movie The Matrix. The player takes the role as the President, where the characters look can be customised by the player. The president gets thrown into a computer simulation of Steelport (Steelport being the setting of the third game). The president escapes and later tries to find a way to save everyone else from the simulation. During the simulation aspects of the game, the president can summon characters to help in combat in the computer matrix-like simulation to take over territories and complete other tasks in the game world. With the DLC available to help developers add more content into their games post-launch and much more easily and optional for the player to purchase, Saint Rows developers Volition were no strangers to add ideas what they feel works well into the game. Because of the idea of Saint Rows 4, being in a simulation with people connected together, like the internet and the characters can talk to each other. Then there was a Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? DLC pack for the game which was well suited to be added to the games mechanics.
Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is an adventure game released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2009. Homestar Runner was a flash cartoon released early in the last decade by the Brother Chaps and Zobel. The web-animation created and featured really quirky and brightly colored characters getting along in their every day lives. The game is named after Strong Bad because he was first seen as a villain of the series because he would play pranks on other characters however many viewers didn't like what the character did, so he was made less of a villain or anti-hero while keeping his image during the later episodes. Strong Bad character's face resembles a red lucha-libre mask. He was popular and big enough that had his own cartoon of his own where he responded to user emails. Maybe was clear that back then, many enjoyed watching it as he made references to video games as well as getting to know Strong Bad's character and reaching out personality.
Strong Bad may be the title character of the game however many of the other characters from the series including Homestar Runner himself all appear in the game to help Strong Bad complete this quest. Objectives in the game start off with very domestic manner to situations more outgoing towards the end. Somewhat hard to believe this was a Telltale game considering the later success the company had with their future games like the Walking Dead, Minecraft Story Mode and Game of Thrones had made the company to what they are known before their demise last year.
The game is also presented in 3D, which is fun to get into considering the original web-animation were in 2D. Strong Bad along with Homestar Runner's success drowned out when video streaming technology became popular. It overshadowed him and the rest of the Homestar Runner characters and the series itself but they still have a fan-base for the series and its characters today. Homestar Runner's website and cartoons are still active as of 2019, it begs to wonder what would happen to the series and if there would be any more video games in the future along with an idea that the entire cast of the Homestar Runner ever would get their own video game in the future. I would think Strong Bad's Cool Game is a good start seeing the cast in 3D. The game does feature original characters specifically made for the game also to join the cast found from the series.
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is a video game is based off the popular web series and the lead character, the Angry Video Game Nerd who is created and portrayed by James Rolfe in the web-series show. The Video Game Nerd is a guy who plays and reviews really terrible games. He heavily reacting to how poor the games are and criticises why the video games are frustrating to play. The web series itself has over 150 episodes to date. He explore in-depth into these games however with over 150 episodes, many of his friends have welcomed themselves into the show and found themselves within the game in the world the AVGN.
There's been many unlicensed and fan based video games from the popularity of the web series however the official game is the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures which was released in 2013. The game story is about the Nerd who plays another terrible game but gets sucked into the television (in the same nature as a character in Cheethmen in Action 52 gets sucked in, one of the ridiculous games, the AVGN had reviewed) and the Angry Video Game Nerd and his entourage has to find out how to escape the terrible video game world he has been pulled into. The game features many playable appearances of other characters from his web-shows, which add a lot of depth into the game. The other playable characters being Guitar Guy, who does the theme song of the web shows and does appear in a few episodes and Mike who is Jame Rolfe's friend in real life who also does appear in the web-series and also does the title cards for the each episodes for the web-show. Mr BS man also appears in the game as a playable character, who does sometimes appear in the episodes also. The Angry Video Game Nerd has to find them along the way to make them playable characters. Keith Apicary also has a cameo appearance in the game as a non-playing character, a really fragile brittle looking character who is obsessed with consoles, who also made a guest appearance in one of the later Angry Video Game Nerd episodes soon after the game was released. The game is rendered in pixel art which adds to the video game charm to the game but who knows if they made a game in full polygon 3D or even in one of those interactive video games for the fun of it in the future.
Some other games out there...
Moshi Monsters - Moshi Monsters is an online game aimed for kids which was marketed in Britain and loosely marketed in North America. Players in Moshi Monsters have to befriend and take care of those monsters named Moshlings. They can also take those monsters to take part in various mini-games. As the online game grew, so did the idea of the game having a spin off for the Nintendo DS. Maybe worth noting that the spin offs were almost just the same as the online game. The game was marketed heavily towards at kids so it may have not been a place for adults to play an online game. Many of the character designs of the Moshling have found a way in the game. Players can use the Moshlings to take part in mini-game events to earn bonus and money. They can use the earnings to buy them food and treats. The games are in 2D and never really advanced in 3D in the age they were created and the games don't have much of a story to lead the content. Just click and collect Moshlings and get them all. Not really much then that compared to what is really out there.
Annoying Orange - The developers and creators have managed to make a game featuring many (or all) of the characters from the Annoying Orange web-series and they've placed them in the smartphone game. Works well as the series was annoyingly fun and video games are seen to be fun. Nice to see them in the game but it feels tacked on compared to everything else.
Little Gamer - A web-comic about two characters who are based off the creators of the series similar to Penny Arcade. They made a video game released on the Xbox 360. It is a 2D platform shooter. The comic is known for their bare minimal art direction which was used as the look of the game. It has since been moved away quickly and obscure since time went on and hardly stands out but at least these web-comic designers managed to make a video game based from their web-comic. Definitely deserves a worthy mention and not to be forgotten.
If I were too dream a little bit and have one more game which has a host of characters in a series which haven't made a video game, it would be the Mega64, because many of their videos I found fun and entertaining. A very small team who still make video segments to this day working with the video game industry. Many of the video game industry creators are even featured across their shows so it would be really interesting to see them in a video game together. Too much of a dream maybe knowing all the other entries are out there in this form.
Well that's it folks. I've personally enjoyed a heavy era where you could download content like movies, web-comics and downloadable only games from the last decade and watch it transition from one form into a video game. It has been decades since computer owners have connected into a network with the help of the software who have given us the browsers to work and see what's out there. This may have been one way to give the kind of ideas what players enjoy to make more content for video games
List by 91210user (04/03/2019)
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