Even the youngest gamers out there know about 8-bit style gaming. It’s almost a rite of passage among the community to seek out the origins of gaming and learn what everything used to be like. Much like old films, old games have lost none of their original appeal. Sure, they don’t look as good as some of the high definition graphics we have now, but creators had fewer resources and less money back in the eighties. (There are also plenty of games with money and resources that make games that look worse than 8-bit!)
The only thing that brings more nostalgia then 8-bit games are our favorite tv-shows. Some entries on this list were canceled a long time ago, but still, fans are obsessed with them. They’ve lost none of their original appeal, and while some of the jokes and outfits certainly haven’t aged well, they remain classics and will be adored for years to come. Even some of the newer shows on this list are ones that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.)
These reimaginings of favorite tv shows in 8-bit form, show a devotion from their fans, as well as a whole other side to the program. Even the weirdest shows look cute in 8-bit style! True, a lot of these would have made really boring video games when you boil them down (excluding a few of the cartoons.) But these reimaginings will make you laugh and show you what some of your favorite tv characters would have looked like were they characters in a retro game.
25 The Family Business
This is the sort of game that would be made in 8-bit style, even if it was made today. You’re the owner of a struggling burger restaurant, the main game consisting of making up the orders and getting them out to the customers as quickly as you can. (We’ve all played a game like that.)
Alongside this, you also have to make enough money for the rent each month.
To keep it interesting, several mini-games are thrown in, such as dating, dancing, fighting, and exploring. Everything the show throws at the Belcher family. It would be a long game, but a fun one.
24 Starship Pixel
Star Trek is one of those classic shows that you just can’t imagine the world existing without. It was so important to the evolution of television with its diverse cast and has been a symbol of nerd culture since it first aired. It’s been parodied so many times, has had spin-offs, and has been referenced on many different modern shows. Even those who’ve never seen an episode could name half the cast.
This artwork may look vintage, but if you look up the first ever Star Trek video game, which came out in 1971 and was text only, you’ll see what retro really looks like.
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
23 An Earlier Adventure
I’ve wondered if Adventure Time was ever intended to be a kid’s show. Sure, if you Google it, sources will say it’s a kid’s show and it aired during the day on a kid’s network.
Yet still, I’ve never met a kid who really enjoyed this show, but so many adults who are obsessed with it.
Okay, so I hang around a lot more adult than I do children, but given some of the themes of the show, you’d think it was always intended to have a mature audience. I love how right the main characters look in this style all the same!
22 Breaking A Bit
Back in the days of 8-bit video games, it wasn’t hard for something to become controversial. Or at least that’s how it seems nowadays, with all the horrendous violent game that hit the shelves. It seems laughable to think how the original Splatterhouse game was considered too violent. But a game with the themes of Breaking Bad would have freaked out even the most liberal of parents!
It could be fun since it would be far more colorful than any other game about a criminal, violent manic! If your parent walked in she’d just think you were playing a chemistry game about a silly man.
21 The 8-Files
Games about aliens will always be popular, right? I never really got into the X-Files. Sure, shows about alien hunting are cool, but I could never get past the subtle gender inequality. Okay, so it did start in 1993, and it did have a female protagonist but given how things seemed to get worse in the revival series, it’s pretty hard to just focus on the paranormal stuff.
I can’t seem to take my eyes off their arms and legs when I look at this one. Perhaps the aliens taking Scully stretch arms and legs out of proportion.
Artwork by Fulifuli.
20 I’ll Be Retro For You
This in 8-Bit could have been the original dating sim! You have to deal with the ups and downs of adult life, trying to find a stable, healthy relationship while at the same time further your career and deal with your friends coming over all the time to steal your food. (Yes, I would play as Monica and there would be vacuuming mini-game.)
Seeing these weird pixel people bounce around in the fountain is really cute though.
It’s weird how much character is in such low resolution. Plus, I’ve never seen “the Rachel” look bigger! I always wanted to know how she kept her hair so perfect in a fountain.
19 Love And Pixels
I’ll be honest and say that Married With Children is one of those shows that I never really got. It just felt like a white middle-class straight cisgendered man whining about how hard it was to be a white middle-class straight cisgendered man. I’m sure I missed the demographic for this by quite a long way, and if you do find this show funny I’m glad you can enjoy something that I can’t. But I never got the appeal.
I love the way the characters look in 8-bit though. They at least look a lot happier.
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
18 Game Of Pixels
I’ve recently met a few people who claim to have never seen Game of Thrones. While not watching something isn’t exactly a hard thing to achieve, I was a little surprised by this, given how often this show is referenced in popular culture. Still, it can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and there must be a certain amount of pride in being able to avoid it.
I’d also like to say well done to the artist since the dragon here looks way better than any dragon I’ve seen in retro games. I’m sure the artist had many different resources than the old game creators, but it still looks amazing.
17 Fresh Gaming
Don’t lie: the moment you saw this one the theme song started playing in your head.
My family used to watch this show every day, and while I can only remember a few plotlines from it, I can remember the theme tune word for word.
I’m curious to know where the starting point of this game would be. Would the first level be in Will’s hometown in West Philadelphia, and you have to try and fight off the thugs or would the theme song play out as some kind of backstory? I guess that’s for you to decide.
16 King Of Pixels
Another game pitch from the Land of Ooo! Now that I see this, you’d think with all the random limb flailing that all characters in Adventure Time would be naturally good at the drums. I certainly haven’t seen all of them, so I don’t know if there is an episode where they have a huge battle of the bands and the Ice King kicks everyone’s behinds. Given the random nature of the show, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me. Mostly, to me, this artwork shows how much fun the fans of the show have with these characters.
15 South Of Gaming
You can’t deny that these guys look better here than they did in the early seasons of South Park. It’s pretty cool to see how much the show has evolved and how much its style has improved. It’s been holding up pretty well for a show that’s been going for over twenty seasons. Sure, it’s not as good as it used to be, but compare it to other shows that have been going on for that long, and you have to admire them.
Given the success of the South Park video games, it feels right that someone made this.
But some Stick of Truth moments might look too disturbing in 8-bit.
Artwork by Catnyap.
14 Happy Games
Again, I’m afraid that this was a popular show I just never understood. Maybe because I’m British or maybe just because I came after its time, but I never got why this show was so popular. The audience on this show was just so excited about everything that happened, I would just sit there and wonder what on earth was so exciting.
Is it just me or does “The Fonz” look really awkward in this style? Everything around him looks cheerful, but he looks like he doesn’t know what to do with himself. I guess none of us can be cool all the time.
Artwork by Punga.
13 Prince Of Pixels
This one really does seem to capture the silly, childishness of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I always laughed at how cheesy and exaggerated the intro sequence to this show was and this comes across as just a cute.
One wonders what genre this game would be filed under. Some sort of action-adventure maybe as Will tries to navigate through this upper-class world? I’d love to see how the boss fights turned out and what you’d end up doing to defeat them. (And whether or not Uncle Phil is the final boss.)
12 The 8-Bit Occurring
Before James Corden was driving around with comedians doing karaoke, he was writing and staring in Gavin and Stacey, alongside Ruth Jones. While this show is regarded as one of the great BBC comedies and some fans are desperate to see a revival, I was always appalled by its treatment of women. It showed women being placed into traditional family roles, even with mold-breaking Nessa, and women were expected to take their husband's names (even when they preferred their maiden names).
This show was funny at times, but its values belong in the same time as the pixels.
Artwork by Cat Lady Cross Stitch.
11 Adventures In 8-Bit
I think that this show could make a whole series in 8-Bit and people wouldn’t notice until episode three or four. This scene just looks so natural in this style.
As a show set in space with plots pretty much revolving around the most random things that could possibly happen, it wouldn’t look any worse in 8-bit style. Not necessarily better, just not any worse.
What fans love about this show is that it has no boundaries.
In multiple universes, across time and space, literally anything can happen. Perhaps there is a canonical 8-bit Rick and Morty out there.
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
10 Pixel Pals
I think this one is by far my favorite. Not just because I am dangerously obsessed with Friends, but because of the sheer detail of it. Since I’ve watched this episode at least fifty times and seen all of Friends much more than any of these other shows, it’s probably unfair of me to point this out now, but the subtle details in each of the characters is really something. Joey’s hair for example or Ross' stubble. I especially enjoy the pixel rendition of Monica’s French poster above her television. Even if you took the characters out we’d all know who’s living room this was.
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
Is it just me or does Bender look super adorable like this? I know there are some fans of this show who would like to see it brought back for another series, but I personally feel like we got all out of this show that we could have.
Not to say that this wasn’t an amazing, funny, and sometimes emotional show.
It just went so many places and I don’t want to see it ruined. This was shown on the actual show, and it's amazing. There’s no future or past without these characters.
8 Snow 8-Bit
From what I can tell Jon Snow’s adventures could easily be the plot of an early adventure game. I don’t know how the rest of the show would fit into this, but I can see him wandering around, discovering new areas and new creatures.
It could either be a Pokémon style game, as the fan art depicts, or similar to the first Zelda game.
I’m not sure how the battle between him and Ygritte would play out, but if he wins he better not force her to live in a tiny prison he carries around with him.
7 Stranger Games
Honestly, this is a show I still need to watch. I know I don’t really have an excuse not to watch it, what with my Netflix subscription and all, but it feels like every other week someone gives me something new to watch.
Still, given that it keeps popping up in my life, I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.
I will say that, even in pixel form, this captures a very strange and deluded world. I quite want to know what that ghost stag thing is going to do to those kids. Guess I’ll have to watch and find out.
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
6 The Pixel Tale
This show scares me more than any other show. In our current political situation, I fear that the world of The Handmaid’s Tale is a real possibility, even if it is unlikely. (Or not…)
It’s weird since I’ve regarded 8-bit style games, especially modern ones made in the same style, as impossibly cute. I’ve stood by that if you make your game in this style, it can’t possibly be scary. Everything is too colorful and cute, even the villains. Now that I’ve seen this I think I’m going to have to rethink my position…
Artwork by Gustavo Viselner.
5 8-Bit Universe
Steven Universe has to be one of the most important show in the entirety of the Universe. I’ve never seen a show with as much queer diversity. There are queer couples, agender characters, non-binary characters, and to top it all off, it’s a kid’s show!
This show just holds so much power in it, plus it’s really fun and well written!
My problem with this is that in 8-bit, everyone looks really miserable. It’s a fabulous piece of art, it just shows how easy it is to make 8-Bit characters look disinterested.
4 How I Met Your Pixels
Can we all just agree that the finale episode just didn’t happen? The rest of the series was so good and (mostly) funny. I just can’t understand why they would make the entire last series about Robin and Barney’s wedding, only for them to get divorced in the final. It’s stupid. Just really stupid.
Perhaps the person who made this 8-bit version of the characters can make us a new final episode. Even in 8-bit, it would be better. (And any story would have been better than what we ended up with.)
Artwork by 8BitBeard.
3 8-Bit Street
I know that this show played an important part in the development of pretty much every other kid on the planet, but when I was a child these puppets scared the heck out of me. I don’t know why, I was fine with the muppets! But Big Bird and No-Body were just too much for me.
I just didn’t understand what they were.
Perhaps if the show had been made using adorable pixels it would have been much more watchable for me. It wouldn’t have been as fuzzy, but I would have enjoyed it.
2 Walking Pixels
As much as I’ve enjoyed this show, I’ve always thought that it would have made a better video game than TV show. Maybe that’s because zombie apocalypse games are so popular now, but I’ve always found zombie games more entertaining than zombie shows. Maybe using a controller to destroy zombies is more entertaining than watching others enjoy zombies.
This artwork does look really freaky though. Perhaps no freakier than the actual show, but the colors just make it look like a really disturbing game. At least pixelated zombies can’t hurt anyone. Or can they?
Artwork by Nick Bounty.
1 The Simp-Bits
As old and tired and overdone as The Simpsons is these days, I’ll probably miss it when it finally ends. Probably because I’m used to it by now, it’s been on TV for longer than I’ve been alive! There have been so many gems in this series, you can forgive all the stupid episodes (and there have been a lot…)
Along with many of the other entries on this list, these characters look completely adorable in 8-bit mode. I also can’t deny that they look a lot better than they did in the first few series. Even if modern-day Simpsons were replaced by these I’d still watch it!
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