80s, 90s, Blog, Cartoons, Games, League — June 4, 2013 3:40 pm

Return of the Franchise

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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

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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.

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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’.

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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.

Bringing Jem back has to be done right, which means no Bratz-esque lookin’ dolls with their bug eyes haunting me, no quasi-anime-Disney animation style dumbed down with Jem the Explorer asking if we’ve seen Rio.

integrity-toys-jemIntegrity Toys: the reason I have to sell my house.

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!

For years rumors about a Jem cartoon or movie have been floating around, but nothing concrete has surfaced. The question of how I’d like to see it revived is difficult. I want to see it revived as something that will do well, but also something true to the tone of the original. With this, I’d stick with an animated series, but not crazy 3D or CGI. Nothing dumbed down. I’d almost recommend it be shown on cable since I’d want it to deal with the same types of issues (in an interview with Pop Rewind, Jem Creator Christy Marx mentioned that she wanted to tackle the issue of alcoholism but Hasbro put the brakes on that), but I feel it’s something kids should watch.

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?

The Comixverse is jonesin’ for Biker Mice from Mars and Captain Power

Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool argues against bringing back Firefly and instead wants some Star Trek action

3B’s Toy Hive wants WWF Ice Cream Bars (om nom!)

Infinite Hollywood wants Exo-Squad and would even settle for Exosquad

Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks demands the return of the California Raisins!

Pop Pop! It’s Trash Culture wants to see more Phantasm

Random Nerdness has a whole slew of comic book goodness listed

Cool & Collected recognizes that it’s time to bring back Buck Rogers

 

4 Comments

  • Never played Zombies Ate My Neighbors but I love Jem! (and She-Ra!) My $350+ worth of Misfits should be arriving soon. Had to buy them though. Would’ve LOVED that alcohol episode too. lol

  • ZAMN is absolutely in my top 5 SNES games! I’d be up for a Diablo-style update!

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