History of Batman (Merchandising and Video Games) - Part 3
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
In addition to watching the movies through the years, I have played several Batman games. My first Batman game was on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). Back then I would love playing it. I did not own it but I would rent it from a local second hand store. They would rent out games for 1$. Yes, this was a while back in the early 90's.
But how Batman games have evolved is quite impressive. Not only triple-A games have been featuring him but there are also a few indie ones being developed. Even further than that, we are able to find casino games based on Batman such as the online slots “Batman and Catwoman Cash”, an interesting game that revives retro times. Yet there are quite a few special games that have stuck with me through the years.
Batman (1989) - Nintendo Entertainment System
This game was the first Batman that I played. There were other games before it but I did not have the consoles at the time. There was a fun side to this console, which had pretty nice controllers and mechanics. Like Ninja Gaiden, you were able to stick on walls and jump from there which was cool. I remember the game being tough as a kid. I think that I beat it once a very long time ago but I have not played this game since.
Batman Returns (1992) - Atari Lynx
I did not have this game when it came out. I played about 10 years later when I received an Atari Lynx as a present. One of my cousins had it laying around and was not using it. The only game that it came with was, you guessed it, Batman Returns.
This is not an easy game by any means. I remember getting good at it but it took a very long time. I played it recently and I am bad again. It does not take away the fun of the game. I still enjoy playing it to this day
Batman Returns (Atari Lynx) - Sample Gameplay
What I also found amazing were the graphics at the time. They look outdated today, but it was awesome back then. It was like I was playing with the Batman from the comic books.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) - Sony Playstation
I played this game at a cousin's house on the original PlayStation. It was a side scroller beat 'em up type of game. It was not that great, but it was the first game that I played that had a 3D looking Batman. The story was based on the movie of the same name, but I never really knew that at the time. I just knew that the gameplay was, ok, at best. Here you can see it for yourself.
Believe it or not I did not play another Batman game until a long time after. I believe it was on the XBOX 360 with Batman Arkham Asylum.
Batman Arkham Series
There are 3 games in this series. They are Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), Batman: Arkham City (2011) and Batman: Arkham Origins (2013).
The series is extremely fun to play. The mechanics and controls are bar none. I believe the weakest game of the bunch is Arkham City but that does not mean much. They are all pretty good. It was as if we were playing the Dark Knight movies.
What was also cool about these games is that Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker. In the animated series, he plays a remarkable Joker. It is a joy to play a game where you hear his voice.
These games are amazing and if you have a chance to pick them up, please do. It is well worth the gameplay and the graphics are wickedly awesome.
Batman: The Telltale Series
I just finished this game from the great people at Telltale. I have played some of their previous games such as The Wolf Amongst Us. The way that these games play is that you get to choose dialog and decisions on during the game. These will affect how the game ends. These games have episodes like a TV series. It feels like binge watching a series on Netflix.
The story is about Batman and his struggles with his so called close friends. We go through the story of Lady Arkham and why she became what she is.
Some would say that playing these games are not really games as you do not feel that you play. This may be true but not all games have to have an open world and need to discover. Some players like to have a story driven game once in a while to change things up
Batman: The Telltale Series - Sample Gameplay
Batman Merchandising is Huge Business
As far as I remember, there was always merchandise with Batman and Robin. I remember having a lunch box that I use to bring to school everyday. Merchandising has come a long way since the 1970s. Batman has become a brand and it is very lucrative. I could not find any exact sales figures online; however, you can find a variety of Batman merchandise everywhere. Everything from t-shirts and key chains, to casino slot machines. Even Lego developed an entire line as Batman as its theme. It is safe to say the Batman is DCs most licensed character and it is still going strong in 2017!!!!
Every game above brought its own version of Batman and it was fun. The games are getting better and better. Like the TV shows and movies, the games are evolving. The technology is getting to where the games can imitate life. I hope that some day soon there will be a full real game on VR (Virtual Reality). There is one out now but it is more of an exploratory game and not a full-fledged game.
Merchandising too is evolving and Batman merchandise will continue to dominate the Superhero merchandising brand sales for years to come.
What game have you played that I did not mention? Let me know below.
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