The mobile game Series: Your Story Universe, is a collection of Choose Your Own Adventure-style interactive fiction where you can play around in the worlds of various intellectual properties owned by NBCUniversal. You create an avatar, dress them up, and insert yourself into official fanfiction for Saved by the Bell, Law & Order, Vanderpump Rules, Sixteen Candles, and more. On one hand, this is a strange reminder of the scope and power of the five or so media corporations that prey on our nostalgia by turning every movie or TV show into an undying, franchisable commodity. On the other, it’s given me some ideas for some visual novels set in the worlds of the corporation’s vast stable of intellectual properties.
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Abbott and Costello Meet Chucky
It’s long past time to give the people what they’ve been clamoring for, a Zero Escape-style adventure game where Abbott and Costello have to break out of a haunted toy store run by Chucky from Child’s Play. The classic comedy duo have already met Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and Mr. Hyde. Why not have them tangle with a more modern monster from Universal’s back catalog? I see them playing a pair of rent-a-cops who accidentally get caught up in Andy Barclay’s decades-long battle with Chucky and his bride Tiffany. Think Paul Blart meets Saw.
A straight up otome game based on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
If you think about it, a rags to riches story where the protagonist moves into a lavish mansion and has to adjust to life in the upper crust while the tone bounces back and forth between light comedy and harrowing melodrama could describe both Fresh Prince and any number of female-focused dating sims. Let’s say you play as the niece of the Banks family butler, Geoffrey. You’ve moved from the council flats of London to the glamorous world of 1990s Bel-Air. After a Rodeo Drive makeover from Hilary, you start to turn heads. Which boy will you choose? The charismatic and charming Will? Carlton, the heir to the family fortune? The eccentric and unpredictable Jazz? The choice is yours…
There is a legend of a man who hides in shadow, a man who exists only in glimpses, in the periphery. Some people believe he’s an alien being who uses our planet as a gateway between worlds. Others believe he’s an observer from the future, or perhaps a guardian angel. The only person who can sort fact from fiction is you, a plucky documentary filmmaker conducting interviews, searching through old police reports, and digging through sketchy internet forums to find the truth. Who or what is the man in the striped shirt, the man they call “Waldo”? Also sometimes Waldo pops up in the background and if you click on him fast enough you can get like extra Story Gems or whatever.
Back to the Future II: Fashion Boutique
The world of Back to the Future has been explored in depth via comics, a cartoon, and multiple video games. But none of those really dig into the best part of the franchise: the over the top fashion from the future year 2015. Everyone is dressed like Hollywood Montrose from Mannequin made his own version of Tron. Folks just casually walk around in double ties, day-glo superhero spandex, wild, impractical plastic accessories, and patterns that are practically Magic Eye paintings. It’s truly a galaxy-brained aesthetic and desperately needs to be expanded on. I want a game like Style Savvy or Love Nikki where you choose what kind of weird-ass lenticular hologram or animal tail or glow-in-the-dark chestplate to recommend your customers before working your way into the fashion world. Imagine what a runway show would look like in the world of Back to the Future. I need this game.
Columbo vs Richie Rich
There are few things as satisfying as watching the TV detective Frank Columbo take down wealthy murderers one obnoxious question at a time. And there is no fictional capitalist more absolutely repulsive than the bastard Richie Rich. His entire estate is constantly overflowing with loose cash and jewels. Every other day he’s striking oil while playing croquet or brushing his teeth with diamonds or whatever garbage. I hate him with my entire life and he must be taken down. I can just see Richie being disgusted at Columbo’s rumpled suit and offering him a new one that is physically made of dollar bills. Horrible. You’d use Ace Attorney style evidence gathering and tearing down of testimony to slowly break him down. There would be a meter on screen with Richie’s head slowly becoming more and more furious until he explodes and confesses to murdering his parents. Then he would be behind bars where he belongs. Finally.
Basically Mystic Messenger except you accidentally get invited to the group chat of the crew from The Fast and the Furious movies during a wild international heist and at first it’s tense but it turns out you can help them out and eventually they warm up to you and invite you to a barbecue and you become part of the family