Dramas (be they J, K, HK, or Latin) take inspiration from manga, manhwa, comics, folk tales and pop culture. But one major source of untapped story potential that they’ve largely ignored—that anime and cartoons have benefited from tremendously—is video games. So, to start an amazing trend, here are 9 video games that would be great as dramas.

(Note: the names of the characters have been intentionally left out because they’re usually changed in the remake anyway. After all, it would have been pretty weird if Lee Min Ho played a guy named Ryo Saeba in City Hunter.)

1) Shenmue

  • Perfect as: HK-Drama
  • Genre: Action, Romance

A young martial arts student returns home to witness the death of his father at the hands of the villainous head of the mysterious Hong Kong crime organization, The Chiyoumen. And, so, in a blind rage inspired by his inability to save his father, our hero leaves behind the girl he loves on a quest of vengeance and betrayal. Set in 1980s Hong Kong, our protagonist will face innumerable dangers, make new friends, and find love in the last place he thought as he descends into the darkness of the underworld that took his father.

2) Dynasty Warriors

  • Perfect as: K-Drama
  • Genre: Joseon Period Drama, Romance

While the game itself usually doesn’t focus much on the tale, the very setup of competing factions vying for control of the land is a fantastic basis for a Joseon era period drama. Our protagonist, a young lady who vows to topple the throne of a tyrannical king, is one of several people trying to take control of the kingdom. The problem, unfortunately, is that with the king dead, the throne is seceded by his gorgeous and charming son, who genuinely wants to change the way his father did things. Not only does he have to deal with infighting in the court, he tragically falls in love with our heroine, who is resolute in her goal to destroy his rule. What desire will win the end, love or power?

3) Shinobi

  • Perfect as: J-Drama
  • Genre: Action, Tragedy

Our hero’s parents were killed when he was a child, and he was raised by a secretive organization of ninjas. The only woman he ever fell in love with was taken from him and, now, he will have his revenge. This story has already been made into several movies, so it only makes sense for it to be made into a drama as well, especially considering the amount of side-stories in the franchise that can’t be told in a simple two-hour span.

4) Final Fantasy

  • Perfect as: J-Drama
  • Genre: Sci-Fi

There are so many Final Fantasy stories that can be used, but the best would have to be Final Fantasy XIII, which arguably had the most “real,” most human character ever to come across the brand. Our heroine has the look of a perfect anime cyberpunk protagonist, right down to the colored hair. And with a gigantic sword, she heads off into battle, having to deal with everything from armies to her feelings for a gorgeous comrade. Will she be able to defeat the demons of her past to save her society’s future?

5) Mirror’s Edge

  • Perfect as: K-Drama
  • Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

In a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything, our heroine is a Messenger, part of a secret society dedicated to keeping the flow of information steady past dodging bullets and Big Brother totalitarianism. Along the way, she also has to deal with her sister getting caught in the crossfire and the slow demise of all her friends. Will she succeed in once again restoring freedom to a society that looks perfect but has some incredibly dark secrets?

6) Prince of Persia

  • Perfect as: Latin Telenovela
  • Genre: Adventure

Our hero is a young man who has to infiltrate the nefarious Jaffar’s castle to free his princess. All he has with him is a sword and an hourglass that constantly drips in time. Can he save her?

7) Red Dead Redemption

  • Perfect as: Latin Telenovela
  • Genre: Western Gunslinger

Our hero is a drifter that is hired by a beautiful young woman to maintain a farm. Problem is, that “hero” also happens to be a former outlaw on the run from some very bad people. Along the way, he naturally falls in love with the beautiful woman, but also comes across some very dangerous people, including rival farmers willing to do anything to get more land, greedy businessmen with a penchant for violence, and some wonderful people whose lives really were better off until he stepped him. His quest for atonement is the basis of this tale.

8) Sleeping Dogs

  • Perfect as: HK Drama
  • Genre: Crime Thriller

The streets of Hong Kong have been overrun with crime, and the police have no way to deal with the rising control of gangs. To deal with the issue, they insert our hero, an undercover cop, into the midst of the action, asking him to rise to the ranks of the highest gangs and destroy them from the inside. Along the way, our hero has to betray the trust of his childhood friend, while also surviving the ruthless world of Triad crime. Can he maintain his humanity while being asked to become a monster?

9) Ace Attorney


  • Perfect as: K-Drama
  • Genre: Courtroom Drama, Romantic Comedy

Already established into a manga and feature length film, the delightful, whimsical tone of this series would be perfect for a romantic drama set to the backdrop of the legal system. Our hero is an ace attorney, always able to crack the case—but what will he do when the opponent is the woman he loved in law school, who left him for his idealistic ways and is now fighting for the guy he wants to put away?

So what other video games do you think would be perfect for a drama? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

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