The Rise of Superheroes in Video Games

Superheroes have always been popular. From comic books onto the big screen, and even TV programmes and video games, the superhero genre is now even bigger than ever. More and more games publishers are wanting to get a slice of the Marvel/DC craze, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping any time soon.

As early as the 1980s, licensed superheroes were already getting their own games. Batman made an appearance on Amstrad and the ZX Spectrum back in 1986, with the eponymously titled Batman. A basic 3D isometric universe, the goal of the game was to rescue Robin. Batman may be one the most famous examples of a popular comic book superhero turned video game protagonist; Rocksteady’s famous Arkham trilogy is perhaps one of the most well-known series of games – so much so, that it previously made it into our “Games That Changed Our Lives” series. Of course, even LEGO have had a trilogy of Batman games too, with LEGO Batman even appearing in other titles such as The LEGO Movie Game and LEGO Dimensions.

Even Telltale Games, famous for the likes of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, are getting in on the superhero action, with a Batman series currently in progress. The first episode, Realm of Shadows, was released this summer, and four more episodes will follow throughout the year.

LEGO Marvel Avengers 3-min

Of course, Batman isn’t the only superhero to break out of comic books and movies to make it into video games. Plenty of others are equally as well-known, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Deadpool and Captain America, who all have their own spin-off games. There’s also been a wealth of games on the market featuring not one but a whole cast of superheroes: Warner Brothers’ Injustice is a beat’em up featuring a cast of DC heroes, and Marvel have a range of games including their full roster, including Marvel Ultimate Alliance, an RPG that lets you play as any one of 20 heroes, and three iterations of Marvel vs Capcom, where popular Marvel characters are pitted against famous Capcom fighters. In fact, superheroes are so popular that you’ll not only find them on your home console, but they’ve also broke free into arcades and online gaming industry too.

A quick look at Wikipedia reveals just how many superhero games have been created over the years – apparently, there are (at least) 39 games just featuring Spider-Man alone, and that number is set to rise as Sony recently revealed a new Spiderman game that will be exclusive to PlayStation 4.

Whether or not you’re a fan of superhero universes, there’s no denying that they have lent themselves to creating some pretty awesome games in the past. Spider-Man on PS1 remains a firm favourite of many (also making it into our Games That Changed Our Lives series), whilst others prefer the fun and frenetic nature of the LEGO Marvel series. Whatever your preference, one thing is for certain: superhero games are as popular as ever, and plenty more are still to come.