How Your Favorite Comic Book Characters are represented in Games

Photo: Alvaro Reyes via Unsplash

While comic books have been around for about a century, they have never found themselves as heavily cemented in mass popular culture as now. No longer seen as something just for kids or dorky teenagers, comic books and their characters have been through a complete modernization process in order to keep up with current times. Superheroes (and villains) come in all shapes and sizes, races, religions, and gender identities, and tackle hot topics like government control, addiction and the war on terrorism.

One of the reasons that comics have come out of the shadows, is their translation to other forms of media. Characters now also appear in movies and on television shows, bringing them into the entertainment mainstream. With this change has also come the opportunity for tie-in merchandise. Image licensing is so profitable nowadays that franchises make more money in merchandise than they do from cinema ticket and DVD sales. Just walk around any shop and you’ll see the reasons why. The Marvel movies have been so popular in the last ten years that images of their characters are everywhere. All your favorite comic book characters are now also available as toys, as novelty gifts, on clothing and homewares, and in their own licensed video games.

Video games and comics have always gone hand in hand; what better format to let you become one of the superpowered? Controlling your own character, or your favorite famous face, you get to live out fantasies of flying, fighting with super strength and flexing all those heroic muscles. And one of the best games for doing this is Spiderman on the PS4. Hailed for its photorealistic design and innovative movements that allowed the player to control Spiderman winging his way through New York City, this game was loved by comic and movie fans alike and will always have a well-deserved place in video game history.

Another groundbreaking comic book adaptation came from a collaboration between DC Comics and Rocksteady Studios. In 2011 they released the epic Batman: Arkham City to a world already bewitched by the gritty realism and dystopian stylings of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and it was an instant success. Gameplay had come on in leaps and bounds since Arkham Asylum was released two years earlier and players couldn’t believe the freedom the game gave them over movement, storyline and character development. Batman: Arkham City was so popular that it changed the way games are developed, with more multi-storied open world games hitting the market in its stead. It also cemented the image of Batman as darker and more realistic than in previous incarnations, an image which is still being perpetuated through more recent cinematic releases.

Of course, both Spiderman and Batman: Arkham City were designed to appeal to serious gamers. They require skill to complete, advanced and expensive consoles to play on, and the dedication to play through hundreds of hours of content. Not every comic book fan falls into this category. The publishers realized this and have been careful to also license more light-hearted games which will appeal to different individuals.

One of these areas is online slots. The digitalization of slots has made it even easier to create games based on different themes and comic book characters are firm favorites. These NJ online slots have some great games to choose from, including one for fans of the Ghostbusters comics from the 1980s. With a new movie due out next year, it’s a franchise that is set for a revival, much to the delight of every 80s child. Online slots have grown in popularity over recent years, with millions of users signed up to online accounts. It is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming, so it makes sense for comic characters to get in on the act.

Mobile games have also been getting in on the act, with many different titles to choose from. A lot of those based on comic book characters are combat games, with simplified mechanics to better fit the touchscreen controls. One of the first was DC Comic’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, a card-collecting pve/pvp combat game which pitched teams of heroes and villains against each other. Winning gave characters experience points so they upgraded and grew with use. Free to download, it included the option for in-game purchases, but they weren’t necessary to enjoy the game. It was stuffed full of favorite DC characters and included alternate costumes and versions from specific storylines like Flashpoint.

Photo : Warner Bros. Interactive

If gritty realism isn’t your thing, and you just want to have a laugh and enjoy the humor of the superhero universe, then the Lego games are a brilliant addition to the genre. There are many to choose from, but the best is probably still Lego Marvel Superheroes. It changed the way the Lego games were made, introducing talking characters and a more open world design, while retaining the comedy, in-jokes and cheeky nature of the previous entries in the collection. The Lego superheroes are adorable and the base game gives players the opportunity to collect 155 different characters including heroes, villains, henchmen and sidekicks. Each have their own unique combination of special abilities that are throughout the game to solve puzzles and help the Lego citizens live in peace!

Video games, whether console, mobile or online, offer fans of comics a chance to play as or alongside their favorite and much-loved characters. There are so many different ways to interact with them and so many different types of games available that players are sure to find something they love.

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