Top 3 TV Adaptations of Video Games

Stephen Howe, Editor

The initial movie adaptations of video games have felt like they were written by out-of-touch producers, leaving a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. However, video game production budgets have increased dramatically in the last decade, which has contributed to deep stories that rival Hollywood movies. It’s not surprising then that streaming services have begun using games as inspiration for original series, and recent years have given gamers more gems than they expected. Here are the top three.

“Cyberpunk: Edgerunners”

Animated by renowned studio Trigger and based on the role-playing game “Cyberpunk 2077,” “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” debuted on Netflix Sept. 13 to critical acclaim. The show takes place one year before “Cyberpunk 2077” and follows protagonist David Martinez as he transforms from a poor kid struggling to survive in a dystopian future to a cybernetically enhanced mercenary. Martinez works alongside a gang of memorable characters trying to make a name for themselves in the underworld of neon drenched Night City.

“Edgerunners” deals with themes familiar to the cyberpunk genre including class uprising, transhumanism and extreme capitalism, all presented via jaw-dropping, emotional episodes. The series is a visually stunning, bittersweet ride — in some ways superior to the game it’s based on — that will leave you both reeling and stuck with an earworm thanks to “I Really Want to Stay at Your House” by Rosa Walton. “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” serves as a fantastic entrypoint to the Cyberpunk franchise.

“Arcane”

Courtesy IMDB

“Arcane” is an award-winning 2021 3D animated series based on “League of Legends,”  a popular multiplayer online battle arena. “Arcane” details the origins of two popular League characters, Violet and Jinx, sisters with a strained relationship that suffers more after a horrible tragedy. “Arcane” is remarkable for its story, characters and visuals, and portrays the “League of Legends” world of Runeterra in ways the game couldn’t, which opens it up to a much bigger audience. This is a remarkable achievement since the game didn’t have an in-depth story, only short bios about the in-game characters, called Champions. 

The action in “Arcane” isn’t as violent as in “Castlevania” and “Edgerunners,” but it’s still pretty intense. “Arcane” serves as a great entry point into the world of “League of Legends.”

“Castlevania”

Courtesy Netflix

While Netflix’s animated series “Castlevania” isn’t a direct adaptation of the games by Konami, it does take several story elements from Nintendo Entertainment System’s “Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse.” The story follows Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades and Alucard as they embark on a quest to defeat Dracula and restore peace to Romania. 

The first two seasons adapt the story of “Castlevania 3,” and the following two are original storylines. Trevor is a snarky drunk who doesn’t like getting involved, but after meeting Sypha and witnessing the oncoming demon apocalypse, he jumps into the action. Alucard, Dracula’s son, lacks social skills — as happens when one is a vampire-human hybrid with few friends — but is extremely knowledgeable about the magical and scientific worlds and is an invaluable asset to the team. His tense relationship with Trevor makes for great comedic moments. The character dynamics give a lot of personality to the show and make it easy to fall in love with. 

“Castlevania” is dark, dramatic and unapologetically gorey, and a fantastic watch regardless of whether you’re into the source material.