The video game industry has been getting more and more popular with time. Other companies are noticing this, and that has given birth to movies and TV shows based off video games. In this list, we're going to just list the TV shows that are worth checking out. The movies are a bit more common.
Some of these shows are well-known while others are buried in the cracks of obscurity with loyal cult followings. It may not be surprising that most of these came from visual novel games which were already very character and story-based.
These are shows that outdid themselves in re-telling stories we were already aware of. Some stuck to the games' already character and plot heavy formula while others took a more creative and new turn.
The first release of the Castlevania game happened way back in 1986. The gothic-survival-action-horror game has since been a hit all the way to present day where the 2nd season of its show has recently come out.
Netflix’s Castlevania show is full of lovable characters, amazing action, and is full of humor and emotion. It’s a show in which you do not have to play the games to understand the plot and characters. The show also arguably has one of the best written main villains where his emotions and actions are actually understandable and fascinating.
It is very common knowledge that the Pokémon show and games exist, but not everyone is aware that the games came before the anime. The games came out in 1996 and the show came out in 1997. With both the games and anime still running (it has been more than 20 years!), it would be just rude to not include this pop culture icon on this list. After all, who doesn't know the name Ash Ketchum?
With Detective Pikachu and Pokémon Sword and Shield on their way, there is still no end in sight for this gargantuan series.
8 Sonic The Hedgehog/Sonic SatAM
Sonic the Hedgehog has had many shows from Sonic X to Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Most fans have a consensus though that Sonic SatAM was the best of the shows due to having a more dark and dramatic storyline.
The show aired in 1993 and is known to be looser in its connection to the games’ story. In the show, Sonic makes part of a team of freedom fighters who fight against tyranny and oppression in a post-apocalyptic and dystopian future. Unfortunately the show was eventually cancelled, but it has two awesome seasons.
7 Final Fantasy 14: Dad Of Light
What sets this series apart from the other video game shows is that it’s based on a MMORPG. The characters are a father and son who play Final Fantasy 14 together. The son decides to secretly reconnect with his father through buying his dad a console and Final Fantasy 14, except the father does not know that he’s actually playing with his son who is playing the game from his own computer in his room.
The best part of this show is, hands down, the father. Watching him learn how to play the game from typing in the chat to making friends with their Free Company is awesome.
6 Air TV
This short but emotional and gorgeous anime is based off of a visual romance novel. It is one of those games where you pick a character to romance and that branches off into multiple endings.
As the title may suggest, the sky is a huge theme in this show. Every girl has some connection to the sky and the protagonist is looking for a “girl in the sky” based on an old story his mother told him. The themes of motherhood are very interesting in the series as well. If you like to look for patterns, theorize, and feel a magical atmosphere, this is the show for you.
5 School Days
School Days is the most controversial show in this list due to its mean-spirited characters and graphic violence. However, that is also what drives it as a fascinating show for its fans. Like Air TV, School Days started off as a visual novel game before it entered the anime world. In fact, it was popular enough to also get its own books, concert film, audio CDs, and other merchandise.
This show is a romance gone as bad as possible. Don’t expect to love the characters, as they range on vengeful, heartless, and needy. Just lean back, make some popcorn, and watch what happens to this mess of a high school romance. Maybe lock your doors if you have kids.
4 Fate/Stay Night
This visual novel game series exploded into a ton of anime. If you love anime and have not seen any Fate/Stay Night, you still probably have seen the characters around in conventions and anime websites due to its popularity. After all, the character designs are gorgeous so they are hard to miss.
The series is complicated so we recommend visiting Otaku Mode as a source for how to start series. It’s one of those shows where you can start at a variety of places.
Once again based on a visual novel, Clannad is a sweet romance story. In the game, the story branches out between which girl you choose to romance. The big theme of Clannad is the value of family. In the anime, the protagonist is an apathetic high school student who meets a very sweet and introverted girl. It’s a sweet love story and also a tear-jerker. The emotion and animation is beautiful. Definitely watch the After Story part after finishing the first season. It’s After Story that really ties up the theme and gives you a satisfying conclusion.
2 Earthworm Jim
The game, Earthworm Jim, was release in 1993 and it was a charmer for its satire of other platform video games. For example there is a character called “Princess-What's-Her-Name,” which was a parody of how so many games had run of the mill princess characters that always needed to be saved.
The animated show that came out based on the game was underrated and definitely deserves more attention for sticking to the games’ absurdist and surreal humor. Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer from The Simpsons) even voiced Earthworm Jim.
1 Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two
It is pretty interesting how many romantic visual novels from Japan have been made into successful romance anime. In fact, they might make the highest percentage out of video games that have had TV show adaptations.
Ef tells a couple love stories. As usual with these kinds of shows, it can be a bit melodramatic at times. Like Air TV and Clannad, this show has a hint of fantasy in its atmosphere that makes the show all the more interesting.