“Stranger Things” deserves to get its own video game outside of Netflix’s mobile gaming scheme. It’s proven itself in several crossovers, and with top billing for a Netflix original already, it’s time we see its own dedicated game to stand out.
To preface, the paranormal 1980s themed TV show isn’t a stranger to video games — it’s made crossovers to some of the highest grossing franchises like “Dead By Daylight,” “Fortnite,” “Smite” and somehow the anime “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Popularity in these games were so well received that in 2017 and 2019, BonusXP Inc. was hired by Netflix to make two pixelated games following season 1 and 3 separately. But tragically, these originally free games never reached mainstream media like its source material and have been removed from console shelves and reformatted on mobile to be locked behind a Netflix paywall with a plethora of unplayable bugs. Why a multibillion-dollar company decided to put a subscription paywall on practically unheard games from a relatively new studio is beyond me, but it made me realize that “Stranger Things” has never received a standout game despite being backed by the same multibillion-dollar company with a massive fanbase. A fanbase that deserves to experience the story of Hawkins themselves beyond two games that crash more often than Texans on icy roads.
“Stranger Things” follows an amazing world full of potential that never feels fully explored in the show, and I’ve always imagined what it might be like to play as a character exploring The Upside Down or the thrill and fear of fighting a Demogorgon. The closest fans got to that wasn’t from the BonusXP’s ill-paced games, but instead in “Dead By Daylight” playing as either Nancy and Steve or even the Demogorgon, which blew up the internet for a short time. For me and many others, this was the peak for the video game history of “Stranger Things”- and it was just a crossover for a separate game. Instead of going the puzzle route, Netflix could have easily gone into crafting an immersive horror game for console or PC.
It’s not too late for Netflix to do this, as Season 5 has already been confirmed and can be used as the platform to help propel a game of this nature into an eager audience wanting more of the 80s nostalgia, horror, and paranormal. Whether it’s a new adventure for our heroes in between the season gaps, adapting from the TV series for players to personally explore, or even taking an adaptation from the comic book series to keep to the continuity: “Stranger Things” has several options to pull from. Additionally, they have plenty of games to reference. 2019 Game of the Year “Control” has already shown us the masterful physics of telekinesis and paranormal investigations, 2014 “Alien: Isolation” shows us how terrifying a monster similar to the Demogorgon can really be, and 2016 “Oxenfree” already gives us how a group of teens facing the paranormal can be portrayed in-game. A fully rendered “Stranger Things” game isn’t so crazy to think about, especially when the biggest company to make any of those games, Sega, only marks up to $1.8 billion in revenue compared to Netflix’s $29.7 billion revenue and $1.1 billion net income. Of course, being rich by comparison doesn’t mean they’re on the same level to produce a game, but it certainly isn’t stopping them either.
Netflix has the resources, the money, and the source material to make a “Stranger Things” game with plenty of fans who would support the game. Season 4 by itself has broken 621.80 million hours viewed in early June; imagine how many hours would be racked up with players exploring Hawkins and The Upside Down with their favorite characters. Crossovers and other games have shown us what’s possible, and it’s time that “Stranger Things” makes good with that dream.