It has been announced that Merv Griffin Entertainment has inked a deal with Namco Bandai to create a Pac-Man branded game show for the American television audience. Preliminary details have led to speculation that the classic game’s maze navigation and chase elements will be reenacted full scale, winning cash and prizes for those people who couldn’t make it on Jeopardy! or even Wheel of Fortune. This new show will no doubt feature Wipeout-style physical hi-jinks (though probably not to the level of hilarity that a live action Frogger would generate) and opens the door to the nearly endless possibilities of combining classic and modern video games with the viewing public’s seemingly unabated desire for reality television.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (PC, 2010)
The Game: In the Japanese import game Recettear, a girl awakens one morning to find her father gone and his massive debt threatening her home. With the help of a patient and knowledgeable fairy, she sets up an item shop in her home, catering to JRPG adventurers passing though her hometown.
The Show: Not all reality shows are competitions, a good number of them are about the struggles of everyday life, such as running a business. On the Recettear reality television show, an individual will be given an empty retail space in a prime location, a small sum of starting money and the expectation to negotiate the tricky waters of supply and demand on the way to profit week after week. Drama would ensue from dealing with hagglers, meeting income deadlines and interactions with the provided expert on sales whose advice can be heeded or ignored.
Cooking Mama (Nintendo DS, 2002)
The Game:The most popular of the cooking simulation games, Cooking Mama challenges gamers to prepare meals by braking down the food preparation process into a series of minigames. The ‘Mama’ franchise has since grown to include other takes including gardening and babysitting.
The Show: While there are over a dozen shows that challenge professionals and amateurs to utilize their cooking (Top Chef), fashion designing (Project Runway), dancing (So You Think You Can Dance) and even hair care (Shear Genius) there hasn’t been one that has them all. The Cooking Mama show would change gears frequently taking contestants through a variety of hobby and professional activities, testing their instincts and ability to follow instructions.
Fatal Frame (PlayStation 2, 2002)
The Game: This Japanese survival horror franchise pivots on the old wives tale about the power of cameras to capture souls. In Fatal Frame, hauntings are resolved by photographing sprits using a magic camera, the only item through which the threatening spirits can be seen and confronted.
The Show: Television shows featuring so-called paranormal investigators visiting dilapidated structures in the middle of the night with night vision cameras, heat detectors and baby monitors remain at least mildly popular. On the Fatal Frame version, at least, the ghost’s will be real. A combination of spooky locations and the ‘invisible creature viewing’ technology being used in the upcoming PSP title InviZimals, will bring the game to life.
Professor Layton (Nintendo DS, 2008)
The Game: Inventive puzzles and old world charm have made the Professor Layton series a hit that has crossed the boundaries between hardcore and casual gamers. Thus far six titles, an upcoming spin-off and even a feature length animated film have already been made featuring the characters and the mind-bending challenges they face.
The Show: Brining the game to life on a game show stage would be simple, but making it a completive team exercise would heighten the pace and the fun. Views would be able to play along at home as on-set teams raced each other to come up with the correct answer or face elimination.