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From Cartoon to Game #1: Jem and the Holograms

The premise is simple here, folks. We are going to look at a series of cartoons from the 80’s that deserve a game today. The first cartoon on our list is Jem and the Holograms which debuted in 1985. Jem and the Holograms benefitted from the success of both G.I. Joe and Transformers (many staff are shared across all three cartoons) and went on to a decent run in its own right. Unfortunately, a game never appeared for the girls, even when it could have been so easy to do so.

The story of Jem and the Holograms is a slightly confusing one but it was told in that 80’s style that somehow made it all make sense easily. Jem, aka Jerrica Benton, is the lead singer of Jem and the Holograms. Jerrica Benton owns, and manages, Starlight Music. Jerrica’s father created a computer capable of displaying holograms on people. Before he died, he willed this computer, Synergy, to Jerrica who uses the technology in her earrings to display “Jem” over herself in public.

There is one main rival group, till later in the series when another appears, called The Misfits. Now, this sets up the game as far as I see it. No, I am not talking about an adventure title tasking you with solving a crime like in Scooby Doo. Instead, I propose a Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc style game but more like “Battle of the Bands” style.

JEM_Cartoon_Jason main

Imagine playing one of those instrument games with the Jem cast but at a Battle of the Bands event. The levels could be mixed with various styles such as single, band interruption, head to head, elimination or random modes.

Single player is pretty self explanatory but band interuption might need a bit of information. This mode would be where, say, Jem and the Holograms are performing and another band interrupts their playset and starts playing an edgier version of the song and the two alternate like those mashup songs. This could happen any time or it could be set to only happen when the player wants it to such as in the Head to Head mode.

Elimination would be just that, elimination from the rankings. This mode, similarly to the interruption mode, could be setup prior to the game starting or set to happen whenever. Basically, you must survive the onslaught of other bands coming up and challenging you, similar to this mode in fighting games. Bands would drop in and you would have to blow them away with the next section of the song (i.e., play a lot better than them).

Since the show antagonists were quick tempered the game could play off of that. Each band, including Jem’s, would have a temper meter- the more notes your opponent gets right in a song, the higher your temper meter gets. The various stages of the temper meter could effect the board in various ways such as making the icons black and white, darkening them making it harder to see or sending down false icons to make accidents happen.

This would be a DLC dream if on a newer console, or it could be a simple one release style game (remember those days, anyone?). If DLC was enabled, more bands and songs could be introduced in updates or paid packages which could expand the game universe more.

Post Mortem: Jem and the Holograms never received a game but have been able to live on in syndication on various networks across the globe over the years. Recently, Netflix was able to arrange a re-union for the group and relive their adventures. Starlight Music continues on existing through late night infomercials selling 30+ year old fans albums from the Jem and the Holograms audio library. No new content has surfaced and the band was broken up years ago, not even VH1 has been able to reunite them all in one place.

Part 2 of Cartoon to Games featuring The Raccoons is available here.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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One Response to “From Cartoon to Game #1: Jem and the Holograms”

  1. […] Cartoon to Game #1: Jem and the Holograms is available here […]

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