A lot of people remember Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man animated series, which was popular enough to turn around and directly inspire Namco's Pac-Land arcade and home sequel. But there was another arcade-inspired Saturday morning cartoon series aired in the early 1980's -- produced by the Ruby-Spears studio, it was called Saturday Supercade. Here's the 1983 opening sequence, posted on YouTube by Yesterdays92:
Most of these games could provide only the barest outlines of a plot and a cast of characters, so the writers and animators had to take considerable liberties with the licenses to get a watchable series put together. Thus we find Q*Bert transposed to the 1950s with Coily cast as a motorcycle gang heavy, Frogger having adventures beyond getting across the road, Donkey Kong Jr. aping Scrappy-Doo with cries of "Monkey muscle!", and Mario playing the villainous comic foil to Donkey Kong by bringing a net to a monkey fight. At least the adventures of Pitfall Harry (as based on Pitfall II: Lost Caverns) feature niece Rhonda and Quickclaw the cat as seen in the game, though Harry's adventures are far more wide-ranging than seen on the Atari 2600.
Games today often have deep and engaging stories, but aside from the recent Dead Space and Halo animation projects these types of productions seem to have died out. I kind of miss them -- as corny and cheaply produced as they were, I'd love to see, say, Nintendo's Kirby, GTA IV's Niko Bellic and Silent Hill's Pyramid Head having random, formulaic adventures every Saturday morning.