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What was the first video game based on a comic book?


JustinMSalvato
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oh yeah I forgot about the Game & Watches. Although they're probably not technically "video games", I'm still fairly confident 2600 Superman still came out before them.

 

From my own personal vantage point, I had VCS Superman when I was in elementary school, while G&W games like Octopus and Fire started showing up when I was in Junior High.. and those early titles definitely pre-dated things like Popeye and Snoopy Tennis, although not by much :P

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In an interview in Halcyon Days: Interviews with Classic Computer and Video Game Programmers, Warren Robinett, who was working on adapting the mainframe computer game Adventure into cartridge form for Atari in the middle of 1978, claims that he was directed, by new Atari president Ray Kassar, to modify Adventure in a Superman game to tie-in with the Superman movie (released December 1978) since both the film and Atari were owned by the same parent company, Warner Communications. Robinett said that he didn’t really want to do the adaptation, and so after a few weeks, his co-worker John Dunn volunteered to take the Adventure kernel and build a Superman game around it. The Superman game by Atari was released mid-1979, and nothing in the game, supporting documentation, or the game’s marketing makes reference to the movie (the artwork for the game box and label actually uses the DC Comics version of Superman). While there is little reason to doubt Robinett’s recollections, there is no official documentation to support the claim that the Superman game was intended as an official licensing of the film. Atari’s pinball game of Superman (1979), however, was expressly marketed as a tie-in for the film.

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It was early days for licensed games, and movie tie-ins. The kind of synergy we see now would be years away. Batman wouldn't show up in video games until the 1989 movie, and there were plenty of times the game materials matched comic stylings rather than movie art. Look at the 1978 Marvel Star Wars comics if you want another good example of how licensed properties were treated differently back then.

 

It's got to be a tie-in, even if not a particularly well executed one. As a 9 year old Superman fan, I know I would have preferred the Christopher Reeve incarnation on a cartridge. Not that I had either ...and the text version seemed more common.

 

It's cool that they reused Adventure work, I can see it now that you mention it.

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It was early days for licensed games, and movie tie-ins. The kind of synergy we see now would be years away. Batman wouldn't show up in video games until the 1989 movie, and there were plenty of times the game materials matched comic stylings rather than movie art. Look at the 1978 Marvel Star Wars comics if you want another good example of how licensed properties were treated differently back then.

 

It's got to be a tie-in, even if not a particularly well executed one. As a 9 year old Superman fan, I know I would have preferred the Christopher Reeve incarnation on a cartridge. Not that I had either ...and the text version seemed more common.

 

It's cool that they reused Adventure work, I can see it now that you mention it.

 

1986 was the first officially licensed Batman videogame, albeit for European personal computers.

 

Since I was born in 1972, I really didn't start to get "with it" until the very early 1980s, so, when I fully got into programmable videogames with the Atari 2600 (I bought it around 1979), it seemed to me there were already a steady stream of licensed titles. It was already "normal" by then it seemed, i.e., it just seemed natural and nothing out of the ordinary. I guess part of that was because Superman was already on store shelves. Interestingly enough, I never did get that cartridge back in the day, although I have it now. I remember playing it at store kiosks and being confused beyond all get-out, which rather sapped my enthusiasm for it. I do recall liking the flying around bits, though.

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