I'm hurt, to be honest. I know that I'm just one of millions of MMO players, but I have a binder too! It's a vintage Trapper Keeper with a wizard on the cover who is dashing among abstract geometric shapes. My mom thought it was cool and my friends think it's totally rad. Inside are the secrets to hit MMOs that studios are just too scared to make but would be bigger than World of Warcraft if someone would just take the chance. I know it.
Today I'm going to open up that binder and shove my ideas in your face. And then, knowing how these things go, I will raise up every geek voice against my picks in the comments section. Bring it on. My wizard can handle all of you.
Isn't it beyond weird just how long the Simpsons has been on the air? I was 12 when it debuted, and I'm 37 now. It's become the Doctor Who of long-lived shows. And while the common wisdom is that it's long since gone over the hill, it's hard to deny that it's a huge franchise with a massive world, loads of characters, and fans who will buy whatever Homer tells them to. So why not an MMO? Springfield could be a blast to explore, and the game could really play up the humor and unconventional systems instead of making a mindless combat simulator. The Simpsons have been in video games dating back to the NES, so it's not as if we're lacking a precedent.
2. Harry Potter
Not only have I talked about a Harry Potter MMO in this column before, but EA even greenlit the development for one back in the early 2000s. EA also pulled the plug because EA is EA and apparently hates piles of money. Even if it's not a new thought, I couldn't make this list and leave off this powerhouse franchise that seems absolutely tailored to an MMO adaptation. Slytherin for life, fool!
The stupid legal tussle over has made me despair that a Fallout MMO will ever see the light of day. It would be just so very awesome if it does, however. We're talking a hit post-apocalyptic series with strong claims to gamer nostalgia, decent world-building already done, and a snarky sense of humor. As much as I love Fallen Earth, I think Fallout has the potential to be an even better (and much more lucrative) post-apocalyptic MMO. Y'know, if it's ever made.
I'm not putting this on the list because I have any interest in Pokémon whatsoever. It was a little after my time that this became a huge phenomenon, and my interest in kiddy culture is currently consumed by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I'm including it because I'd really like an end to a "Why won't they make a Pokémon MMO already?" echo that's been bouncing around the internet for over a decade now. It's giving me a headache, and I am out of passive-aggressive painkillers to take the edge off the fandom.
5. The Dark Tower
This seems to be a popular IP suggestion from the geek faithful, and I can see why. Stephen King created a captivating and original setting that combines post-apocalyptic, horror, Western, and fantasy elements into a genre mash-up. It's chock-full of lore, too, and I can see players leaping at the chance of becoming a gunslinger who battles evil trains and steps across worlds.
I don't place much stock in these shallow pretenders to the Game of Thrones throne. Seven Kingdoms? Ascent? Begone and let a real Game of Thrones MMO take your place! Seriously, this is one of the hottest fantasy franchises right now thanks to the combination of the books and HBO series, and it could introduce a mythical setting that isn't about unicorns and fireball spells. This needs to happen and a Stark should be put in charge of it. Or that Samwell kid; he seems to have his wits about him.
7. Enter Player One
OK, Ernest Cline's geek novel about a group of gamers in the near-future who compete online to become the successors of a massive software company might be the least-known item on this list. Still, it's absolutely perfect for an MMO conversion because the book is about an MMO to end all MMOs. The online game, OASIS, is every game and virtual world and sandbox experience known to humanity, and the fact that it's about leveling up, collecting loot, building forts, staging massive PvP battles, and fighting evil corporations makes this an irresistible notion.
8. Warehouse 13
This is a not-so-serious sci-fi/adventure show on Syfy that might well be a pale imitation of, say, Fringe or X-Files. But it's still got a huge spirit of fun and a legion of fans behind it, and the more I watch of it, the more I think it could make an interesting MMO. Considering that the show is all about these special "artifacts" that do all sorts of weird things and the people who are sent to get them, I think it could make for an awesome game world where players vie over artifacts and use them in combination to great effect.
9. Planescape Torment
I'm not just throwing this on the list because I happen to be currently playing it or because it's one of the most beloved RPGs of all time. I mean, yes, those factor in, but I love holding up Planescape Torment as a fantasy world that defies tropes and tired conventions that we see everywhere. It's a fascinating, dark, and charmingly twisted setting full of fascinating, dark, and charmingly twisted characters. Who wouldn't want that in an MMO?
10. Captain N: The Game Master
Does anyone remember this show-slash-30-minute advertisement for Nintendo? I do, quite fondly, and while there's no way this could ever be an MMO because of the numerous IPs involved, that's why it would be awesome even so. The show had the main characters jumping between video game lands, encountering all manner of genres and gameplay styles. It was, I guess, Free Realms but with laser zappers, an '80s bent, and a princess whom I totally had a crush on although I will totally deny it if you accuse me of that in person.
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.