I know we’ve all been yammering on about game related cartoons all this week, so I thought I would toss my ring into the hat… wait, the other way around. Anyway, I figured we could take a look at what some of my favorite game-based cartoons are. So why don’t we?
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
This was the most fantastical of the fantastic. Back in the late eighties, and I really don’t think that you understand here, the Super Mario Bros. were simply the coolest thing in all of history. All of kid-dom rejoiced in their masterful wonderfulness, and when word came that they were getting their own TV show, well, that was just incredibly, unbelievably mind-blowing.
The fact that Capt. Lou was on it was just icing on the cake. My father and I had to learn how to set the timer on the VCR (kids, that’s the thing you had to use to record TV shows before DVRs came around) just so I could watch it, because it came on before school let out. That’s dedication. The Legend of Zelda cartoon really put things over the top. It was like nine-year-old geek heaven, but it wasn’t a secret to everybody — it was common knowledge.
I’m not talking about Donkey Kong Country, here. This is the original Donkey Kong cartoon from the Saturday Supercade. It not only is the first animated appearance of Mario and Donkey Kong, it also featured famous comedian Soupy Sales as the titular ape and Peter Cullen, whom you might also recognize as the voice of Optimus Prime, as Mario. It also established the non-canon fact that Pauline is Mario’s niece, instead of his girlfriend, as in the games. This strongly implies that Luigi is her father, since Mario has no other known siblings.
Devil May Cry
The only Japanese adaptation on my list this year, Devil May Cry the series does a great job of staying true to the series’ characters and style — which, admittedly, are a lot more established in-game than in the TV game cartoons of the 1980s, which often had no more than a few lines of text to deal with. Despite not involving the actual plot of the games, the animation still holds up well on its own, even for those who don’t have any experience with Devil May Cry the game.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Unlike most Sonic fans, I find his first cartoon series to be the most enjoyable. Nothing against SatAM, but The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog hearkened back to the Chuck Jones/Bob Clampett Warner Bros. cartoons, with Sonic tricking the dumb bad guys with disguises and lame, made-up excuses to let him escape/ruin their plans.
Dr. Robotnik was played by the hilarious, late Long John Baldry, who made the role his own, and the other “badniks” were traditional cartoon villain caricatures. This was also back when cartoons were allowed to be “educational programming,” which is why there was a “Sonic Says” segment at the end of each episode, knee-slapping with each patently obvious lesson. Guest stars had names like “Hwai Chang Crane,” “Wes Weasley,” and the super-robot “DOOFUS.” Plus, Dr. Robotnik’s crazy mom, who is usually incarcerated at the Home for Really Bizarre Mothers.
I’ve already often explained how simply awful the American-made Darkstalkers cartoon is, but words are nothing compared to the real thing. Go onto Amazon and buy yourself a five-dollar copy of the series’ entire thirteen-episode run. You will literally be amazed. There are so many disgustingly bad moments that you’ll wonder how the series ever got picked up by anyone in the first place. Not to mention that most of the characters don’t even look like the actual game characters. And I don’t remember Demitri and Morrigan ever going on Oprah in the actual fighting games, either. BAM.