If you've read my work at USgamer and elsewhere, you probably know I sometimes weave my love of animation into seemingly unrelated topics, mostly to amuse myself and like-minded nerds.
Hence, my articles on Captain N: The Game Master and the "serious" cartoon version of Sonic the Hedgehog, which most of you seemed to like—thanks for that, by the way. Those two shows aren't examples of good animation by any means, but I'm always intrigued by how these cynical abominations thrived at the time and manage to persist in the decaying brains of Gen Y to this day. (We're not quite Gen X and not quite Millennial. We're.... complicated.)
Still, the history of animated series based on video games has its share of failures, even if it is kind of hard to believe that no one wanted to pick up that Battletoads pilot for a full series. And one of these in particular amounted to such a failure that I'm briefly reminded of its existence every few years before I end up forgetting all over again. And it always happens the same way: I wake up in the morning, putting the pieces of my day together, when my mind suddenly recalls brief flashes of an obscure computer-animated TV series. Of course, after a Google search, I soon realize these memory fragments aren't just nightmare remnants clogging up my brain: Game Over is real, and it's miserable.
If you happened to miss Game Over, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Five out of six total episodes originally aired on UPN in the spring of 2004, a few years after the prime-time animation boom fizzled out. This wave of new series, inspired by the initial breakout success of King of the Hill, littered the major networks with mostly ill-conceived and all-too-expensive animated shows that rarely lasted more than a season—Futurama and Family Guy stand out as the rare exceptions. And even though I can't peel images of Stressed Eric and God, the Devil, and Bob from my memories, for some reason, my brain acts like Teflon when it comes to Game Over.
Though Game Over came into creation thanks to a former Simpsons writer—as did all animated shows for a 20-year period—every line of dialogue has me thinking of a cigar-chomping executive screaming, "Those kids sure love those damned video games!" The most tragic thing, though, is that Game Over isn't aggressively bad. If it was, it'd at least be worth the rare viewing for the sake of irony, but every single aspect of the series adds up to one of the blandest, on the nose takes on video games possible. But to say anything else would ruin the viewing experience—if you want to put yourself through such a thing. The entire run is preserved on YouTube, and whoever happens to own the Game Over property doesn't seem interested in taking it down. (The roughly 100 people who've watched each episode to date can rest easy.)
It's all too easy to work ourselves into a cynical funk over other media's treatment of video games: Even as late as 2015, it still feels like folks like us are destined to be painted as pale, misanthropic basement-dwellers, poorly dressed and sticky with Mountain Dew and Doritos residue. But the fact that we haven't seen anything like Game Over in the past decade must mean we're making some strides, no matter how small.
Then again, we do have Pixels. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the Angry Dome.