Both comics and gaming have had global audiences enthralled since their inception. Comic books have been around since the 1930s, and their characters, storylines and central themes have continued to evolve throughout the intervening decades. The immense success of both the MCU and DC’s forays into cinema are proof of their continuing relevance, as well as the enormous market for tie-in merchandise and media.
Video games, meanwhile, are a relative newcomer in comparison as they only became available to mass audiences during the 1970s. Although you could say that they’ve wasted no time in catching up, and even surpassing, other popular types of entertainment in terms of revenue, market penetration, and demand. In fact, the video game industry is currently raking in more revenue than both the music scene and Hollywood combined.
But what about when these two industry titans come together? The answer is: magic happens. Let’s dive into some of the best examples of comic-themed gaming that the world has seen so far.
Batman: Arkham Asylum and City
The now legendary Batman: Arkham gaming series began back in 2009 with Arkham Asylum, quickly followed up in 2011 with the equally popular Arkham City. Hot on the heels of the success enjoyed by Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight movies, these games took a darker path, introducing fans to an action-adventure game with undertones of dark horror. Packed full of features, side quests, a compelling main storyline and open world gameplay, Arkham Asylum was a hit from the very beginning. Arkham City simply opened up the game further, giving players access to bigger maps and greater challenges. Both became instant classics which are still enjoyed by fans over a decade after their initial release.
Comic-themed slots games provide players with a whole genre to explore, rather than just one title. Collaboration between some of the world’s favourite comic book heroes and slot machine mechanics is a match made in heaven, and one which provides plenty of variety. This is one gaming format that has been around for even longer than comic books have, as the first mechanical slot machines were invented back in the late 1800s. However, online gaming platforms have brought them right up to date with a 21st century refit, adding features like mini-games, bonus feature rounds and, of course, true RNGs (random number generators) to ensure genuinely random spins every time. Happily, comic book themes fit perfectly into the bright, bold and brash world of slots.
LEGO Marvel and DC Games
This series of titles involves aspects from many different areas of entertainment, including physical building blocks, comic books, movies, TV shows, and more. The LEGO DC and Marvel games use a familiar, popular format to bring everyone’s favourite superheroes and villains to life on the small screen. And, although the characterisation may be slightly different to that found in the latest blockbuster movies, it works well within a LEGO world, in many ways evoking a more authentic comic book feeling. Rather than simply relying on novelty, titles like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes are genuinely excellent games, enjoyed by gamers of all ages and levels.
The Walking Dead
Taking a step away from the world of superheroes, villains and comic book characters over 80 years old, The Walking Dead is a modern-day cultural phenomenon which all began with a comic. Debuting in 2003, the monthly series built up a fanbase before transferring to TV screens in 2010. Since then, the story has been ported into its own video game world and expanded upon in there to great acclaim. So far, there have been numerous gaming titles across PC, consoles and mobile, catapulting players into the terrifying world of a zombie apocalypse. However, most people would agree that The Final Season is the best Walking Dead game yet, thanks to its poignant storyline and thrilling action.