Whenever any nostalgia goggle-wearing punk rants about how there aren’t any good cartoons anymore, I always mention Adventure Time. When I first started the show I liked it but I wasn’t really a fan. It was good, but there wasn’t really anything that impressed me. I preferred Regular Show, the love letter to slackers from the 80s. But I am really surprised at how the show has grown with world-building and character arcs. But the newest episode really got to me. This episode was so great that I want a video game made out of it.
Let’s get some housekeeping out of the way. I know that there was already at least one Adventure Time game, but this is different. In Hey Ice King Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?, you play as the show’s main character, Finn the Human. The game I want will be based on two much more interesting characters: Simon the Ice King and Marceline the Vampire. [SPOILERS AHEAD] In the beginning of the series what you see is pretty much what you get with the two of them. The Ice King is a crazy old man who kidnaps princesses and Marceline is a laid back and creepy vampire. But later on they become everyone’s favorite characters. A thousand years before the show takes place, Simon is an archaeologist who stumbles upon a crown. Putting it on gives him ice powers and immortality. Unfortunately, it causes his mind to deteriorate and cost him his wife. Some time after the “Great Mushroom War” (a nuclear war that caused all the horrific mutations you thought were silly character designs), he meets a young Marceline.
This exposition has been given to us bit by bit throughout the show, but it’s never been much. Just when I thought that Pen Ward didn’t know what his fans wanted, we get “Simon and Marcy”, which shows the two characters trying to survive in the aftermath of the war. We also see that Simon is very concerned with protecting Marceline. Simon has the means of protecting himself and Marceline from the monsters by wearing his crown. He has to struggle with deciding whether or not to use it, because if he does, he may just lose control. Simon genuinely cares for Marceline, becoming concerned when she’s sick and devoting a lot of time to make sure she stays positive in this new world. This isn’t too far from the dynamic between Lee and Clementine in Telltale’s The Walking Dead.
So how do we turn this into a game? Well, if you think like me, then you’ve noticed that the episode is really similar to The Last of Us, you know, before the plot became a crazy mess that I don’t understand. We can use that as the base template. A lot of this game will be about exploring. At this point, you can still see ruined cities and bridges everywhere. With things like the monsters and the living bubblegum hanging around, I wonder what else it out there now. There is also the obvious survival mechanic. You have to scavenge for food, water, medicine, clothes and more. But there’s still the new monsters to deal with.
The enemies would be really hard to deal with, even occasionally injuring Simon. It’s much easier to take them out by wearing the crown and using your ice powers, but that comes with a penalty. It is very difficult to exert control while wearing the crown, reflecting the hold it has on him in the show. Even taking it off requires effort. After so much usage, Simon becomes affected even when he isn’t wearing it. You will start hearing and seeing things that aren’t there. You’ll start losing items or losing your way because your memory will deteriorate. Finally, Marceline will trust you less and less, which will be a very important mechanic in this game.
For most of the game, you will have to focus on protecting Marceline. However, there are plenty of times where she gets in on the action. There will be some parts of the game where you’ll play as Marceline. At one point Simon could be sick or injured and she needs to go get him help. After a certain part of the game she’ll learn to fly and can look for items or survey the area. I’m thinking that at the final boss battle of the game you’ll play as a teenaged Marceline with full vampire powers fighting an out-of-control Simon.
There is reportedly going to be another episode like this tomorrow night, and I can’t wait to see it. Stuff like this is really the best part about the show. I really hope someone reads this and makes the game. I’d much rather play it than The Last of Us. When given the choice between an ice wizard and a vampire fighting mutants or two humans fighting bandits I’ll take the children’s cartoon every time.