Gaming Shit on Netflix

Every now and then a conversation sparks up round the water cooler at TGAM Towers that goes along the lines of someone asking "So is gaming mainstream yet?". Hours, insults, fisticuffs and a reminder on policy on worker in the work place later, inevitably the conclusion is a firm not yet

We're not expecting an overnight transformation. But what would it take? 

We have game inspired video games at the Box Office (okay so they're rarely great), Final Fantasy menus in restaurants, Splatoon and Pokemon collaboration ranges with Uniqlo, LEGO collaborations with Blizzard, Midway and SEGA. Museum exhibitions on video games, design and art. Gaming content seemingly dominates large swathes of the Internet from Youtube through to Youporn. Yet admitting that you choose to spend your time playing video games every now and then still feels, in the UK at least, akin to admitting that you strictly only eat the faces of babies because that's where the softest meat is.   

When Does This Pre-Amble End?

When it comes to the real world, specifically the high street, video games themselves have virtually no presence at all. In fact it's got worse since our budding interest grew in the 1990s. Arcades are all but dead, few cities have a dedicated game retailer (you might be able to find a grotty copy of NBA 2018 in one of those laptop/mobile repair shops), major supermarkets stock perhaps 4.5 games and media stores in general are critically endangered. TV never manged to 'get' gaming and even though Esports is making huge strides it's still not managed to topple the likes of darts, snooker and cricket from their prime time perches (or even get broadcast at all away from the Internet). 

When we first got into gaming we'd wet our pants even when video games penetrated the mass media in the lamest ways from those Lucozade Tomb Raider ads. to the awful why-can't-anyone-crack-gaming-content-on-TV shows and even feigning support for those Resident Evil films when there was frankly nothing else on the horizon.

However, now that Netflix is a national sport we're almost drowning in a rich and diverse soup of game-related content. Most of which is total pants. Some of which is bonkers and dare I say some might even have appeal beyond those who would call themselves a gamer (and cringes at the same time because nobody over the age of 12 unironically calls themselves a gamer). Gaming content is so prevalent on Netflix, it even has it's own category, two in fact! Does this mean gaming is mainstream yet? No you babyface eating monster it doesn't are you mad? 

Gaming Shit Currently on UK Netflix (Alphabetically)

The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 Okay so for all the hype up top, a lot of this stuff is cheesy kid's cartoons. This is a 30 year old cheesy cartoon loosely based on that hot new video game release Super Mario Bros. 3 and although a smidgen better than the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.... it's amazing this franchise didn't just die in the 90s. Remember King Koopa and Princess Toadstool? 13 episodes. 13 episodes too many. 

Angry Birds Can any lawyers out there help? Is there some EU mandated law that means video game tie-in media has to come out decades after the thing it is based on became culturally irrelevant? Three seasons of this steaming mess and I've not got to the will to work out if this is related to the movie, the sequel movie out THIS YEAR(?), the toons series or how it will fit in with the WHO IS ASKING FOR THIS CONTENT 'long form' cartoon out in 2020. For those of you younger than 10, i.e. the target audience for this stuff, Angry Birds used to be a video game.

Black Mirror Sometimes very video game inspired, sometimes not, this series makes us question our relationship with technology makes us feel even worse for prodding a phone screen and writing swears to other 14 year olds online. Recommended watching but not all in one go mind. 

Castlevania Supposedly a decent anime version of the games. I've not watched all of it because I only played Castlevania 64 and Dawn of Sorrow and if you don't understand who any of the characters are, it's reaaalllly slow and boring. Worth a try if you actually have engaged with the critically acclaimed series unlike us. 

Digimon Fusion Ergh. Dirty. No. Bad Mega Bloks. No.

Dinosaur King Ahhh dinosaur games. Archaeologists have found ancient scrolls that record the Dinosaur King was actually a video game and collectible card game from 2005. This is the series from 2008 that absolutely is not based on Pokemon at all and mixes anime style and really really bad looking CGI.  

Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light Okay, this series is actually brilliant. Remember how The Wizard was a feature movie advert for Super Mario Bros. 3? Well this is a series length advert for Final Fantasy XIV told through the heart warming story of an awkward Japanese man and his awkward relationship with his awkward recently retired Dad and he tries to rebuild that relationship by getting him into Final Fantasy XIV because they used to play Final Fantasy together. Each week is a new challenge as his Dad quits because of a mechanic he doesn't understand that helpfully his son and his guildmates help explain. Passable on it's own but elevated to must watch by a few scenes that use familiar Final Fantasy sounds that get this glorified advert tugging on the heart strings. 

Halo Shit Includes Halo 4: Forward Until Dawn, Halo Legends and Halo Fall of Reach. The first one is live action and frankly awful. Legends is to Halo what Animatrix was to the Matrix and worth a watch. I've watched Halo: Fall of Reach six or seven times and I can't tell you what happens so try it perhaps?

Hi Score Girl Weird anime homage to early arcades told through the relationship of a nerdy arcade kid and an aloof posh girl who is very good at video games but not allowed to play them at home. Watch if you you always wondered about turtling in Street Fighter 2 but didn't actually look it up in the last 30 years. Probably very nostalgic for 30 something Japanese gamers. Which isn't us. 

Ingress the Animation I've impressed myself that I didn't miss this. Remember Ingress the AR mobile game that nobody had heard of  until it got a Pokemon Go reskin? No neither did I. Well apparently someone along the way believed so strongly in the Ingress vision that they commissioned an anime series in 2018. Really slow. Extremely Japanese. If the game was anything like this then we can understand why nobody has heard of it. 

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (NO LONGER AVAILABLE) This appears to have been pulled which is a shame as it was alright. Apparently, I'm reliably told the events of this film are really important to the context of the game and only told in this film. Errr tough anyway you missed it here. 

Minecraft Story Mode Fuck off.

Pacman and the Ghostly Adventures Perhaps takes the award for being the least relevant television tie-in ever. We got two seconds in before reaching for the revolver and the sweet release of a bullet kiss to the brain. All the tropes of Saturday morning cartoons with none of the charisma. Remarkably there's also a Halloween and Christmas Merry Berry short to make both of those holidays even more intolerable. Brilliant soundtrack though.  

Pixels Probably the best worst video game related movie of all time. I'm not sure who the audience was when it came out and with each year gets more and more obscure. It stays the same amount of crap though which is a lot of crap.   

Pokemon Want to watch only the first and last series of the anime and whatever random films seem to be on Netflix at the time? Knock yourself out. For us this is the UK being shit at commercialising this shit at its worst. Its very worst. The entirety of Pokemon has never been available in the UK at the same time ever. We never got VHS/DVD releases for most series or cinematic releases for some of the films. The Pokemon TV app frustratingly cycles episodes in and out and bizarrely Netflix is missing the middle 91 seasons and the first 38 films. It doesn't fucking matter anyway every episode is the same except the latest season where every episode is the same but set in a school BECAUSE WE'RE ALL CHILDREN AND WE FIND SCHOOL SUPER RELATABLE. There's also a creepy birthday video, hilariously with characters from a season otherwise not available on Netflix. Is it too much to ask to employ one person part-time to curate this shit?

Rabbids Invasion File under striking whilst the iron is... you know what, I can't hate on the Rabbids. I really want to but honestly they're brilliant and most of their games are too. Probably brilliant. Strangely only the 4th season is available...? 

Red Vs Blue The series that built the house of goofing around in games. Early seasons have not aged well at all. How did we put up with the awful sound and even worse 'plot'? 124 seasons of this madness though so if you're in palliative care and want to speed things along...  

Resident Evil: Afterlife Hysterically, only the middle film is available serving the incredibly niche audience of people who like the Milaverse Resident Evil films but are four films behind.

Skylanders Academy Remember the smash hit wallet biting Toys to Life game series that ran itself and all the imitators into the ground from 2011 to 2016 and now fill attics and sheds the world over? Well now you can enjoy the 2018 animated series with all handfuls of your favourite characters. Set in a high school. There's also a weird 1 minute long happy birthday message thing that a lot of the kid's shows have done on Netflix so if you really hate your kid and want to let them know you should show them that on their birthday I guess. 

Smosh the Movie Is this video games? They look cuntish enough to be Youtubers and this movie is exactly as awkward as you'd expect when Youtubers try to do something proper with make up, production values and nice cameras. Like that *cringes* Game Grumps series. Or when that *mega cringes* green haired kid did that Fortnite dance at that thing. Suggested watching if you're need that extra push to do the right thing and end yourself before it all gets a bit Fallouty round here.

Sonic Boom This is the weird one that all the furries like.

Tomb Raider I think the rebooted film before the current reboot? Is casting ladies from the North of the UK to be Lara Croft still a thing? In this movie Lara Croft, I kid you not, is a Deliveroo driver and... it does pick up from there but in a very formulaic and inoffensive kinda way.

Video Game High School (NO LONGER AVAILABLE) And be fucking thankful. What if instead of lessons at school you played different video games? Live action series with hands down one of the worst cast of actors of all time. Ridiculous premise (which of course later sort of became real with several Universities running esports programmes) glad it got removed to be honest.

Yokai Watch The new new Pokemon with 80% less appeal. Not 100% sure the game series is still going.

Children's Shows and Toilet Contents

So there we have it. No doubt there's a few I missed and some of this may have disappeared by the time you're reading this. A rich smorgasbord of children's cartoons and questionable content that got a pass because it's video games. At the time of writing, there's virtually no adult content and currently no documentaries. Which is a shame.

If they wanted, Netflix could become the de facto place for curated traditionally produced gaming related content from Street Fighter live action movie and animated series, the CG Resident Evil Films, Pinball Wizard, King of Kong, Silent Hill one and two, the Dead Space films etc. etc. Instead it seems that they're content to maintain this weird ever changing half complete line up of irrelevant at launch factory manufactured kid's shows and single films from a series.

Perhaps they are right though, there's no point competing with YouTube and Twitch which now host infinity hours worth of quality content that gamers are already spending millions of pounds on supporting. Is gaming mainstream yet? Looks like we need to wait until one of the grumpy white middle class hacks at the Guardian produces an op-ed on why they're giving up on Rabbids Invasion despite everyone at dinner parties talking about it or how Smosh the Movie made them bicurious one evening. 

It's perhaps better to stay in the margins of the old media whilst defining new media (at a ripe young 40), after all REALLY PUNCHY FINISHER. Right?

UPDATE: 20th July 2019. Confused the song Pinball Wizard, with the movie The Wizard because there's pinball in the wizard you see.


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