The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out on DVD and BluRay today! This action-packed adventure is one of the highest grossing animated films of all time and there is already a wait list here at the library! If you’d like to enjoy the thrill of a video game movie, but don’t want to wait, here are a few other classic video game movies and TV shows that you can enjoy in the meantime! Since many of these came out in the 1980s and 90’s, many readers of my blog will find something to enjoy, whether you’re a younger viewer looking for some new cartoons or a “90s kid” looking for a nostalgia trip. To keep things simple, I’ve arranged these by franchise, so just look for the name of the character or series that you enjoyed and see what your library has to offer.
Some of the titles I’ve included below are available as DVDs on our shelves and some can be checked out via Hoopla as digital downloads.
Mario Brothers/Super Mario
The Super Mario Bros Super Show was an early TV series for Mario fans from the late 1980s. While I never watched this one myself, I remember the neighborhood kids really enjoying it. The show was famous for featuring not only cartoon segments, but live-action scenes with Mario and his brother, Luigi.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 Based on the adventures in the classic game, Super Mario Bros. 3, this classic 90’s TV show features Mario’s quest to protect the Mushroom Kingdom. After defeating King Koopa, Mario thinks he can finally take a break. But, the big bad returns, bringing with him the Koopa Kids!
Super Mario World Is the third animated Mario Bros. show. This features the characters based on the game Super Mario World, including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Princess Toadstool.
Sonic the Hedgehog
I’ve been a Sonic the Hedgehog fan since I was a little kid, watching some of the classic ’90s cartoons on VHS from Blockbuster Video. Since then, there have been a ton of other TV adaptations and a handful of movies. So, let’s explore some of those together!
Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are new re-imaginings of the Sonic franchise. After haphazardly traveling from his home to Green Hills, Montana, Sonic befriends human Tom Wachowski, a small-town cop looking for bigger and better things. When a crazed scientist starts plotting world domination, Tom and Sonic might just be the only ones who can stop him.
The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is a madcap adventure featuring Sonic, his best friend Tails, and the evil Dr. Robotnik. The hijinks in this series reaches an almost Looney Tunes level of silliness, and the series as a whole, is just incredibly funny.
Sonic the Hedgehog (otherwise known as “Sat AM” in the fan community, since it aired on Saturday mornings) follows the characters and adventures chronicled in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Featuring characters like Princess Sally, Bunny Rabbot, Rotor, and Antoine, this series is a little more serious in tone than Adventures, but still a lot of fun!
Sonic Boom is the most recent Sonic series on this list. Featuring the misadventures of Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Sticks as they protect their home on seaside island from the evil Dr. Eggman.
Sonic Underground The often forgotten third Sonic series from the 1990s, Sonic Underground featured the adventures of Sonic and his siblings, Sonia and Manic as they form a band and try to find their missing parents.
The TV series Donkey Kong Country was a staple of my childhood viewing. Also borrowed constantly from Blockbuster, this series features Donkey Kong, his friends Diddy, Dixie, Candy, Cranky, and Funky, as they face off against the villainous crocodilian Kremlings, King K. Rool and his cronies Klump and Krusha (as well as the dastardly pirate, Captain Skurvy), who are trying to steal the powerful Crystal Coconut, which not only grants wishes but designates the right to rule Congo Bongo. We have a couple of DVDs in our collection, each containing a selection of episodes, which can be watched in any order:
He Came, He Saw, He Kong-Quered Donkey Kong gets his hair cut and loses all his powers; Cranky’s youth potion turns DK into a child; the pirate captain, Skurvy arrives on the island of Congo Bong to steal the Crystal Coconut; and barrel tycoon Bluster Kong loses the Crystal Coconut in the island’s snowy peaks.
Kong Fu Donkey Kong never has to deal with competition in the annual test of strength (which determines who will be the future ruler of Kongo Bongo), but King K. Rool hires a martial arts master to act as his champion in the contest, and an out-of-shape DK has to train himself up before he gets completely beaten down.
The Legend of the Crystal Coconut Containing one of my favorite episodes, this set includes a three-way race for the Crystal Coconut as Donkey Kong, K. Rool, and Captain Skurvy all compete to be the first to snatch it up. Other adventures include an unlikely friendship for General Klump, and K.Rool’s attempt at creating his own TV show.
Raiders of the Lost Banana A series of misunderstandings ends with Donkey Kong’s banishment; Bluster tries to turn over a new leaf; and an unearthed treasure map sends everyone on a hunt for secret riches (or possibly a doomsday device!).
The Legend of Zelda
In one of my favorite video game franchises, good and evil are locked in an endless battle as reincarnations of the princess Zelda, the hero Link, and the villainous Ganondorf fight for control of a powerful artifact known as the Triforce. According to my research, there was one cartoon adaptation of the series (which admittedly takes some liberties with the story) which you can find below.
The Legend of Zelda series follows Link and Zelda as they fight the evil wizard, Ganon, to protect the Triforce of Wisdom. One of those series spoken of as “so bad it’s good,” this 1980s production is pretty infamous within the fandom. I’ve not personally watched more than a few clips, but if you’re a Zelda fan looking for a good laugh, I think this might be the series for you.