Movie Tie In Video Games Great Games or Cash Grabs
As anyone who plays video games on a semi-regular basis you have probably seen your fair share of movie tie in video games. Mostly from movies the studio will put out a game as part of their merchandising efforts and also as a way to drive interest in the film property. This is not a new practice however, and it is also one that I do not see ending anytime soon.
I do however find myself wondering if perhaps the studios could do better. Better for the franchise or property that they are attempting to bolster. Better for the people who are going to, or potentially going to buy it. Perhaps it is nothing more than just a massive cash grab aimed at nothing more than eager fans who want more.
In my experience that is usually the case, now I have not played all of the movie tie in video games out there far from it in fact. I have however played my fair share, and out of the ones that I have played just have many measure up has failed in my opinion.
So often it seems that movie tie in video games to a movie especially one that the studio has high hopes for. Gets what I refer to as the after thought treatment. What I mean by this is that the studio will find a video game studio to put together a game to coincide with the release of a big budget movie, also to release along with any other film merchandise. Such as toys, coloring books, posters, etc. a lot of times the people in charge just don’t get it I feel.
Part of the problem is a disconnect I feel from the people in charge to the gamer base. All to often I have spoken to people who work in retail, and they tell me it will be fine the fan-boys and fan-girls will buy anything franchise related. While that maybe true of some collectors, certainly not all I always look for quality in anything I buy, and my video games are no exception.
A great example of this is Jurassic Park that released in the United States in 1994. It was on pretty much every platform at the time. I had the game for what passed as a home computer back then. Now don’t get me wrong here I played a lot of games by OCEAN back in the day. This game however had some glaring flaws the biggest amongst them being no save feature.
That one still gets under my skin even to this day, and to me this was a big deal I’m sure others did not mind it at all. Due to a lack of a save feature you quite literally had to play through the whole game in one setting, or start over once you had to quit. This is the biggest reason I felt like the game design was phoned it so to speak.
Another gripe I had with the game was the fact that playing it felt so boring. I mean I can’t remember another game I played around that time that was just so dull and empty. I mean when I first got the game I was so excited I mean I loved dinosaurs and what not, and there was still a lot of hype from the movie where I lived. I remember getting the game waiting as I got it loaded up just bursting at the seams. I mean the drive home was pure torture, then well then something happened that I had not thought of. I actually got to play Jurassic Park.
So to sum up not only was the game boring, but every time I got tired of playing (which was often.) I had to start from scratch because the game had no save feature. Yeah I think OCEAN could have dug a little deeper. Now let me be quick to point out that all of that blame should not be on OCEAN some of it should be laid squarely at the feet of the studio granted they are not game designers, but they should have looked at it and said no we do not want this to represent our brand. They didn’t though and thus we got the game that we did. Why? Money would be my best guess the movie itself did big business and that is what the studio and game developers saw.
Now it’s not all bad however, and while these are not movie tie-ins exactly. They do focus on the movie and that is the Lego games a great example of this is the LEGO Lord of the Rings game. Now I know this is not a direct tie-in game, but it does go to demonstrate just what can be done with a game that ties-in to a movie, or in this case movies.
Now LEGO Lord of the Rings is actually one game for all three movies. Which really works in its favor seeing as there is plenty source material to draw from. Now while this game focuses on recreating scenes from the entire trilogy not just one movie. Some scenes have been altered to make them more family friendly or to provide some form of comic relief.
However mixed in with all of these things are loads of fan service, you can unlock a number of characters from the franchise as playable characters. How many? Too many for me to name actually so many in fact that I am sure your favorite is most likely among them. Then add in all sorts of Lego shenanigans that help make up the distinct game-play element of other games in the Lego franchise.
Then mix in some downloadable content and you have what appears to be a winning formula, something for fans of the movies, and fans of the Lego games themselves. None of that is including the people who may see the game and buy it out of curiosity. See what happens when a little thought and effort go into making a movie tie-in.
As both gamers and fans we deserve more than just a game thrown together as an afterthought, or in an attempt to cash in on big blockbusters. It’s true that both movie studios, and game studios are a business, and the goal of any business is to make money.
However it has been proven time and time again that if you make a quality product, then most times it will sell itself. Video games are no different as gamers we want good quality games not some cheap un-interesting game put together as an afterthought.
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