We may publicly scoff at the Star Wars and Star Trek fanboys in our tech/games social circle, but still maintain our secret loyalty to a certain BBC-based time-traveling hero. Sadly, following the 47-year (on and off) run of "Doctor Who" has never paid off in the form of a decent mainstream video game. That may be about to change with the just-announced release date for the first episode of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, a that will be offered for free on the BBC Web site. The series kicks off with the June 5 release of "City of the Daleks."
The games feature voice acting from new Doctor Matt Smith and are being written and produced in close collaboration with the creative team behind the television version, as an extension of the current season. The show's official Web site quotes BBC Wales Head of Drama Piers Wenger as saying, "There aren't 13 episodes of Doctor Who this year, there are 17--four of which are interactive."
The initial screenshots look good, but there are still reasons to be wary. Games based on TV programs are typically hit or miss (emphasis on the miss), and free ones especially tend to be little more than thin promotional puff-pieces. That said, the games are being offered as free downloads because the BBC's nature as a publicly funded institution prevents it from selling the game.
City of the Daleks will be available for Mac and PC on June 5, according to an update posted to the show's Web site, although whether the game will be easy to download for American fans is another question entirely; much of the multimedia content on the BBC's Web sites is currently location-restricted to U.K. online visitors (although workarounds are readily available).