There are many deep questions encountered throughout life. Honestly, though, the most thought provoking ones have recently been coming from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. They ask the big ones, such as “Why?” and “What piece of pop culture did you hate as a kid?”. This time, the league wants to know “What product or media property would you like to see revived, and how would you imagine it being different today?”.
Well, this was a pretty easy one for each of us, honestly. Ordinarily, we would exchange hundreds if not thousands of emails debating the topic for a League assignment. We landed on our choices in one round of emails this time.
Lee – Zombies Ate My Neighbors
The box art alone is pure genius.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors was an overhead run and gun style game, featuring campy humor and nods to old B-movie horror and sci-fi classics. As the game progressed, the power-up weapons became more and more ridiculous. In the first level, players take down zombies with water pistols. By the end of the game, anything from plates to twin-pops become arsenal.
We have mentioned this a few times on the site before, but it bears repeating: Zombies Ate My Neighbors had the potential for huge franchise and spin-off deals, but some executive along the line failed to see the big picture. Not only was the game cross platform during the 16-bit console wars, but it featured the choice to play as a dude or dudette. This meant the game was pretty accessible to just about everyone at the time.
Select your player!
Can you imagine an animated television series based on the Zombies franchise? How about comic books? Toys? Movies? Amusement park rides? All of that was totally flushed down the toilet, especially after a half-hearted sequel game was finally released. They didn’t even see the logic in naming the game Zombies Ate My Neighbors 2: Electric Boogaloo. Instead, the second game was titled Ghoul Patrol. LOLwhut. As a fan of the original, it’s only by random chance I discovered Ghoul Patrol in a discount bin years after release. Unfortunately, the game was without most of the charm of the original.
Seems like the Wii remote gimmicks would work well with this franchise today. Some type of phone app could allow multiplayer action. Technology has advanced enough to take the gameplay to the next level, but it looks like Zombies Ate My Neighbors is destined to be as forgotten as the B-movies it once parodied.
At the very least, I guess this was one of the more memorable games I played as a kid because my parents still occasionally reference it. They don’t make jokes about Elevator Action, just sayin’.
Linz – Jem
After Firefly, the second thing that came to mind for me was Jem and the Holograms. It’s rare for a cartoon series to hold up. We don’t like to admit this and often lie to ourselves. I recently caught an old episode of She-Ra, and while I loved it as a child, watching that episode was painful. But Jem? Actually holds up. And not in the “I’m totally lying to myself, oh my god why is Jem so sucky now, RIO WTF STOP CHEATING ON YOUR GIRLFRIEND WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND!” kind of way. It holds up in the real “Holy crap, they were tackling some serious issues like illiteracy and foster children and I would just watch while eating Trix every morning!” kind of way.
The good news is that Jem has slowly been coming back. Shout! Factory released a beautiful boxed DVD set in 2011 that featured all the episodes and extras (previously Seasons 1, 2, and Season 3 pt. 1 were released. What is that.) and Integrity Toys has released and is in the process of releasing updated dolls. These dolls are gorgeous, but expensive. But I’m shoving all my money at my screen and nothing is happening!
In this modern age, perhaps the Kimber and Stormer relationship could be further developed. Scissors me timbers!
So yes, an animated series that continued where Jem left off in 1988, dolls, and of course lots of albums or iTunes downloads, or however else you kids get your music these days.
What did the rest of the League want to bring back?