If you’re an avid gamer, you’ll definitely agree that video games are so much more than just “games”. They tell imaginative stories that are exciting to follow along with, and at times, they can be stories that deeply resonate with us. So what better way is there to reimagine these games than by transforming them into the most binge-watchable shows? Come with us as we dig into the top five video game TV adaptations that have dazzled our screens and completely transported us to entirely different worlds.
1. Arcane (2021)
Produced by Riot Games and Fortiche Production, Arcane was an unexpected masterpiece that received critical acclaim and worthy praise from fans all over the world. With its cool aesthetic, stunning visuals, and heart-wrenching narrative, this gritty origin tale featuring League of Legends champions Vi and Jinx, perfectly captured the source material. This show presents an engaging story that is accessible to both newcomers who have never played the game, but also die-hard fans of the MOBA.
Reaching into the expansive League of Legends lore, Arcane brought fresh exploration into the world of Runeterra, focusing mainly on the cities of Piltover and Zaun. With both cities being so drastically different, the show follows a wide range of characters that offer unique insights into this universe. With a remarkable commitment to exploring darker themes and staying true to the lore, Arcane has become a hallmark of video game to TV adaptations.
2. The Last of Us (2023)
Releasing just earlier this year, The Last of Us took the world by storm. With brilliant performances from the cast, the series stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay as the iconic duo, Joel and Ellie, as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. With frightening visuals, thrilling suspense, and tear-jerking storytelling, this show has cemented itself as one of the best video game adaptations to date.
Praised for staying faithful to the source material, The Last of Us expertly combines the game’s original content with new additions that further deepened the storyline and characters’ histories. The show explores a lot of complex, dark themes fitting the grim tone, but it’s also packed full of emotional, heartwarming moments. To any video game lover out there, this is one you absolutely can’t miss.
3. The Witcher (2019)
Based on the beloved The Witcher games by CD Projekt Red, this popular Netflix adaptation stars Henry Cavill as the rough and stoic Geralt of Rivia. Talk about excellent casting! Thanks to the show's excellent writing, fantastic acting, and wonderfully mystical elements, it garnered massive acclaim from both critics and audiences alike.
What the show does best is capture the grim, morally complex world of The Witcher perfectly. Complete with monstrous beasts, mystical sorceries, and political intrigue, viewers were treated to the most fantastical treat. The layered characters, compelling narrative arcs, and richly detailed world-building all play a big role in doing justice to the source material. With such an interesting story at hand, this show is a definite binge-worthy epic.
4. Castlevania (2017)
Netflix’s Castlevania managed to accomplish something many video game adaptations struggle with - crafting a compelling narrative that is able to stand on its own. Drawing inspiration from Konami’s classic video game series, the series offers a gothic and immersive viewing experience. Drenching the viewers in dark, brooding visuals, this allows the audience to feel fully engaged with the intricate narrative filled with all the characters floating in the darkness.
Fans absolutely love the sharp and quippy dialogue mixed with fascinating character dynamics. It turns Castlevania into much more than just a monster-hunting show! By the end of its four-season run, the show truly evolved from its classic video game roots into a mesmerizing, emotional story about the blurred lines between humanity and monstrosity.
5. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (2022)
Despite all the controversy surrounding Cyberpunk 2077, its animated series spin-off, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, managed to capture what fans loved about the source material: a neon-drenched, dystopian world teeming with shady corporations, ruthless gangs, and rogue AI. Taking a glimpse into the lives of its inhabitants, this series gives viewers an idea of what it’s like to live in Night City.
The show uses an exciting anime aesthetic to capture the grit and glamour of the Cyberpunk universe. With visuals as fantastic as this, it’s hard to stop watching. But it’s not just the animation, the story itself is excellent. The narrative is an emotional rollercoaster, focusing on themes like survival and rebellion. As a worthy adaptation of the Cyberpunk universe, it only makes sense for this beloved, highly-rated series to make it on this list.
These five TV series are proof that video games have narratives that are engaging, immersive, and absolutely thrilling. With stories that will keep both gamers and TV lovers on their toes, it’s exciting to see what will be the next hit TV adaptation.