Sometimes it takes video game designers many attempts to properly adapt a concept well. Take one concept that designers seem to be a tad amiss to over the years. I am, of course, talking about the oldest comic book superhero in existence, Superman.
Sure, there has been a few decent Superman games over the years such as Taito’s 1980s Arcade classic or the 16 bit hidden gem Death & Return of Superman. They may have been decent games, but did they actually capture what Superman is all about?
Of course, there is the most infamous example of both a bad Superman game and a bad game in general, Superman 64.
Twitter user @replicantpinky summed up the game design easily in one tweet:
“I would put Superman in a virtual world made by Lex Luthor and then you would have to fly through rings repeatedly with a time limit and if you miss more than 2 or 3 rings Lex wins. There would be little to no save points. “
Yeah, that doesn’t sound like Superman to me, either.
What Makes Superman Great
To make a good Superman game, you would have to look at what makes Superman great. He does have a lot of critics. People are often quick to dismiss Superman. Often, it is quickly pointed out that he’s too powerful. Also, another criticism is that he’s too much of a clean cut good guy.
While there is some fairness to those criticisms, what makes a good Superman story is that they aren’t your typical good vs evil story lines as they seem on the surface. In fact, they are more of a cautionary tale.
One man is given almost infinite power. How does he use that power? There are worlds in what is called DC’s Multiverse that have a version of Kal-El that has gone too far with his power in the name of safety.
His arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, thinks he is the good guy protecting the Earth from what he perceives as its biggest threat. This makes him a very compelling villain.
As maligned by critics and audiences as the DCEU films Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were, the concept that I am discussing is there even if the execution of these ideas could have used much tweaking.
Yes, one option is to take him in space. Many of his most exciting stories do take place in space. Does that, though, meet the core concepts of the Superman character, and what people would expect out of a Superman game?
I think that this is also a great idea. I always loved the TV show Smallville where Clark Kent had to keep his powers a secret while also save the lives of all of those around him. That could be one place for the game to start.
While this certainly isn’t a bad idea, I, personally, often feel Kryptonite is often used as a crutch in Superman storytelling. The best Superman stories often don’t involve it. However, since it is part of his lore, I think a few missions would definitely need it involved in such a Superman game.
Also, on a personal note, I can recommend The Well-Red Mage’s website. They are an excellent gaming website and have a lot integrity. This is just one of their many excellent articles.
I think this probably the best idea. Superman has to protect the planet. His biggest problem is he has to contain damage and can’t be everywhere at once. This could lead to some difficult situations (Save the life of one vs The lives of many). Each choice could have consequences. This definitely has to be incorporated into a hypothetical Superman game.
Superman is one of the most celebrated video game characters of all time. A video game about him would have to have video game designers think outside of the box, but I feel that if you use a good mixture of the ideas presented by the people above, you could have a recipe for a great Superman game.