The Intersection of Comics and Gaming
Cross-sections between different cultural niches have become increasingly common when you consider how connected we all are through social media platforms, smartphones, and the like. But it’s not just that they’re more prevalent in nature—they’re easier to create and, in many cases, enjoy. That’s especially true when you look at the intersection of comic books and video games, which have long been intertwined through cheap tie-ins and serious efforts.
But gone are the days when gamers would have to search for arcade cabinets with their favorite superheroes or plunk down serious cash for a console game. While those certainly still exist—the console experiences more than the arcade ones, sadly—this particular intersection resides mostly on our smart devices. Whether you carry around a tablet, smartphone, or both, you have the capability to dig into your favorite comic book/comic book movie’s universe for free or next to nothing.
One of the more prominent examples of this intersection occurred following the release of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film, which captured the essence of the comics by focusing more on the narrative than just offering loads of action. The same can be said for the tie-in mobile game, which you can learn more about at Marvel’s website, even if it is a more action-fueled experience. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it can make the game a more riveting experience. Also, if you’re looking for a more narrative-heavy game, there’s one in the X-Men universe that’s worth exploring.
To be fair, there is plenty of action within the virtual walls of X-Men: Battle of the Atom. The narrative, though, is at the center of it all, because you are literally battling your way through a slew of storylines from the comic’s 50-year-long history. It all takes place through a series of card-based battles across the past and present, allowing you to almost retell some of your favourite arcs from the X-Men series. There’s also an option where your team of 20 characters can take on a team of equal size, making for a fight of epic proportions. This clearly relies more heavily on the action-oriented side of things, which ends up getting more play in the world of games with themes tied to the comic book films of the past decade.
This is particularly evident on Betfair’s slots, where the intersection of comic book movies and video games could not be more apparent. In addition to more traditional table games like poker and roulette, the platform is home to a slew of Marvel-themed arcade titles. They have transformed the more typical take on slot machines—scrolling fruits, numbers, etc…—and injected them with characters from the Marvel universe, including Spidey, the X-Men, Iron Man, and plenty of others. And it’s all presented with an emphasis on the action, though animation plays an important part, too, in ensuring the graphics capture the eye of whoever is playing. It’s one thing to draw someone in with a reference to his/her favorite comic book/movie; it’s another thing to maintain their attention.
It’s worth noting that DC Comics has found success in terms of keeping the attention of their fans while also building a wider fanbase. They have done so by harnessing the popularity of the Dark Knight film trilogy and graphic novels. This has led to critical acclaim for a series of Arkham-themed games on both consoles and smart mobile devices. The Arkham franchise includes three console games to date—the fourth, Batman: Arkham Knight, is coming in 2015—and various offshoots/adaptations on tablets and smartphones. This includes the recently released Android version of Arkham Origins, which is free and plays surprisingly similar to DC brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us. For those DC fans who haven’t experi
enced Injustice yet, it’s definitely worth a look.
Given the fact that comic-based films are clearly sticking around—Guardians of the Galaxy is doing well so far—the tie-in games are sure to remain, too. Can you think of any announced and upcoming films you’d like to see translated to the gaming realm?