This week, Netflix released The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics — a strategy RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s a tie-in that dares to ask “What if Jim Henson really wanted Muppets to kick the most ass?” Unlike the brilliant source material, however, the licensed game is just okay.
But if Netflix is going to keep making games, it should really make games. The Big N (this refers to Netflix games now, not Nintendo, I don’t make the rules) has only dipped a toe in over the past few years. Age of Resistance Tactics’ developer BonusXP also created last year’s Stranger Things 3: The Game. Additionally, in early 2019 the streaming giant released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a choose-your-own-adventure game disguised as prestige TV. The company has also done five other interactive titles, mostly aimed at kids. And at least one is for the filthy freaks who want to make Bear Grylls drink his own urine. I don’t mean they just want to watch him do it. Make him do it. To quote another Netflix property, “There are dozens of us! Dozens!”
If Netflix really wants to make top-tier games, it should instead listen to me, a man with a consistent record of knowing exactly how corporations should spend money. That’s why I have assembled my best pitches for the streaming giant’s next steps in the interactive space.
Netflix: please make these games and pay me money for the idea to make these games.
1. Adam Driver’s Punch-Out!!
You are humble apartment drywall. Stand up to Adam Driver, the puncher of holes. Withstand his blows and, even more daunting, his ridicule. The NES boxing original had Super Macho Man bragging “I don’t smoke… but tonight I’m gonna smoke you!” In this sequel (a collaboration with the former Big N), after every successful hit the Marriage Story star screams “Every day I wake up and I hope you’re dead!” Chilling stuff. Not appropriate for L.A. or New York families.
2. Netflix’s The Witcher: The Game
In a post-Game of Thrones environment, The Witcher has butchered speculative fiction competition, prompting millions to toss a coin* to their Witcher**. TV audiences can’t get enough of grounded, gritty fantasy. You know who else loves fantasy? Gamers! The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Game Boy Color: it’s high time Andrzej Sapkowski’s world finally gets its due in the virtual one.
*“Hey did you watch The Witcher?”
**to their parents whose login they use.
And who better to translate the deeply Polish books into games than Sapkowski’s fellow Poles at CD Projekt Red? The RPG developer is set to have one of the biggest games of the year with its open-world sci-fi game, Cyberpunk 2077. Why not give fantasy a try next? An open-world Witcher RPG could be amazing! The main quest could follow Geralt and Ciri and Yennefer! And there could be a bunch of side quests where Geralt goes and does bounties for in-game currency, and just generally solves people’s problems. Jaskier could even narrate!
3. Tall Girl Tower Defense
You have a mission: Protect the Tall Girl at all costs. Build obstacles to prevent enemies from asking “How’s the weather up there?” Do repairs (to her self-esteem) by encouraging her to love all 73 inches of herself.
4. The Irish Pac-Man
It’s just regular Pac-Man, but with de-aging technology so Pac-Man is way hotter.
5. Overcooked: Nailed It! Edition
Overcooked provides fantastic lessons on how to create simple dishes. Before this game, I had no idea how to make soup. Now I totally know how to make soup! Want to make tomato soup? Boil three tomatoes! Mushroom soup? Boil three mushrooms! Onion soup? Yep! Onions.
The difficulty in Ghost Town Games’ cook-’em-up doesn’t come from the complexity of the recipes. It comes from strict time limits and ridiculous obstacles. But what if the dishes were more complex — like, say, a princess cake with long locks of golden fondant hair? And what if you had half the time to make them? And what if winning was literally impossible? Overcooked: Nailed It! Edition, featuring a chibi Nicole Byer, will attempt to answer all of those questions and more.
It may be cute, but it’s only for the most seasoned gamers. This is Overcooked hard mode.
6. You Don’t Bo-Jack
Jackbox, developers of the Jackbox Party Pack series of phone-integrated party games, should give its hit ‘90s trivia series You Don’t Know Jack a fresh coat of paint: a fresh coat of paint in the shape of an animated horse.
The one and only trivia question is “What’s this show really about?” and the answer is always “Depression!” Jackbox went with You Don’t Bo–Jack because JD Salinger Presents Hollywood Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things? Let’s Find Out! was taken.
7. The Orange Box is the New Black Box
Portal… but with the prison ladies? Team Fortress 2, but with the prison ladies?? Half-Life 2, but with the prison ladies??? Half-Life 2: Episode Two developer commentary but with prison ladies???? I’m honestly out of my depth on this one.
8. Untitled Cut the Royals Loose Game
It’s a lovely morning in Britain, and you are ready to cut the royals loose. Taking place half-a-century after the events of The Crown, Untitled Cut the Royals Loose Game casts the player as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they wreak havoc on the orderly lives of the British ruling class by just… moving. To Canada? It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is!
UCTRG is a reverse Metroidvania stripping the player of titles and abilities as they go. Begin the game as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Eventually become just Harry and Meg. Cause chaos along the way. What’s that expression the Brits use? Boil the piss? That’s your job in this game. Yes, you boil piss.
9. Arrested Development
Given the low budget Netflix has apparently given BonusXP for its underwhelming Stranger Things and Dark Crystal adaptations, the true Arrested Development game is likely the budgetary meetings they had along the way.
“I mean it’s one game, Michael. What could it cost? Ten dollars?”