Why the Movie Is Better than the Game

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As a child, I really loved the Lion King game one the Genesis. I think that stands alone as the only Game-to-Movie that I really enjoyed.

The 'Wanted - weapons of fate' tie in actually wasnt crap. it was really enjoyable, a bit short, but worth a rent anyhoo.

I really enjoyed Scarface and Spider-man 2, King Kong wasn't too bad either. I also thought X-men origins was ok for what it was, it wasn't great but I admittedly had some fun, I did however think it was too long, which is a complaint I never thought I'd have for a game.

if games are allowed to part slightly from their movies or francises they can come a long way.

For instance the Batman: Arkham Asylum game, its not acting out any of the movies or even graphic novels from the past. But still it is in the universe of batman, doing the stuff batman does and using the dandy gadgets he has.

Also Metro2033 is a pretty good game, though i havnt read the book about it yet.

"Robocop vs Terminator" on the Sega Megadrive was awesome, and "Ghostbusters" was pretty good as well. Neither of which took much from the films, or rather the characters, that they were based on, which is probably why they worked so well.

Don't think I've ever played a recent movie tie-in game, but I used to love "Ghostbusters" on the C64, at least the bits before the annoying ending where you had to "sneak past the marshmallow man" (terrible game design, that - why leave the success or failure of the game up to a bit of split-second timing after all that's happened before then?)

Oh, and I was going to mention E.T, but I suspect I'll have been ninja'd at least three times before I hit the "post" button!

Anacortian:
As a child, I really loved the Lion King game one the Genesis. I think that stands alone as the only Game-to-Movie that I really enjoyed.

Ugh, I remember that. If the player had had a half-decent amount of energy it would've been ok, but there were SO MANY one-hit kills. Those damn rolling logs in the second level... and the ostrich-run... ugh. Why was it that water was instantly fatal in every platform game ever made at a certain period?

EDIT: Also, lions can SWIM!

Dorkmaster Flek:

Squilookle:
Goldeneye pretty much laughs in the face of everything in this article. Hell it came out two years after the film! And people are still playing it!

Goldeneye also didn't follow any of the issues laid out in the article either. It wasn't rushed to coincide with the movie, and it was allowed to be adapted and expanded upon what was in the film.

Yes... that's pretty much exactly what I was saying.

Movie tie-ins aren't meant to be good, not the ones directly based of the movies anyway.

Using Harry Potter as an example, you could make a pretty decent game with lots of fan appeal by using a sort of open world (well, mainly hogwarts, but whatever) action-rpg base and then either: Let people play as Harry but adapt the plot to suit video-games better or use different protagonists that have there own adventure in a prequel/sequel/sidequel.

As you touch on in the article, and some of the commenters have mentioned, games are best suited to the adaptation of a brand or setting, and that's what all the most successful cinematic property tie-ins tend to be*. The reason being simply that tie-ins which try to "put you on the movie" ("Be Luke Skywalker / Neo / Mitchell McDeere!") are essentially telling an inferior version of the story the movie already told.

(* But there's absolutely no reason that such tie-ins should be hobbled by the inability of the players to "be" the characters from the movies or, in some cases, the books they're based on. A little creativity and a large enough setting should make it possible to script adventures that feel just as important in their own context. What it comes down to is the competence of the writers, who unfortunately often seem to be a deeply-resented afterthought in much of the gaming industry just as they are in much of the movie industry.)

However, as to this:

@Steve Butts:
John McClane may have only killed a handful of terrorists in Die Hard, but those sorts of small enemy numbers just don't work in the videogame market.

While I understand that this is so, I don't think it needs to be so. It just so happens that one of the legacies of the coin-op era is that action games tend to come in the default sequence of BATTLE HORDE OF MOOKS --> BOSS FIGHT --> REPEAT. Games have had the means to depart from this formula for some time now. What made Die Hard the movie cool is that in its day, it too was a departure from an action movie formula that featured the square-jawed hero mowing down faceless mooks by the dozen before the obligatory Boss Fight; instead it dispensed with faceless mooks and featured a small team of formidable villains each of whom was a particular kind of challenge. There are a lot of games that could learn from that.

I truly enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim game that came out but it was pretty clever with the way it tied in to the movie and the mangas. Overall though, I agree with you.

Taynas:
I truly enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim game that came out but it was pretty clever with the way it tied in to the movie and the mangas.

Actually, this particular game seems to be a bit of an oddity as far as movie tie-ins go. Manyr seems to be saying that one of the big problems with these games is that they stick to the source material too closely. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World the game immediately disproves this, but instead, what it does is reduce the scale of the content that it tries to provide to the player.

While diverging from the source material is definitely a legitimate strategy to convert a movie into a game, it still doesn't solve the issue of lack of resources available to the developer, whether it be time or money. The way Scott Pilgrim did it however was to simply create a smaller game that focused on a simple core mechanics (beating hundreds of random thugs up), and create a set of visuals and a world that reflected the movie in a way that the player understood as representing the source material, but wasn't the source material in itself. Basically, if the game feels like it follows the movie, and is fun to play, it doesn't matter whether it follows the movie perfectly at all. it will still be recognizable, and the player will be able to fill in the blanks.

Overall, this game didn't necessarily have the high production values that eat up time and money to create (although admittedly, I never did look up how much work they actually put into this game, I might be wrong), but it was a fantastic tie in. I believe that shorter, simpler tie-ins can achieve a higher level of quality without having to diverge from the source material. they only have to represent it in a format that better suits a game.

I generally agree with this, although a weird exception to the rule is the "Revenge of the Fallen" game. Granted, pretty darn low bar there, but the game manages to come across as the superior product. I'd even go so far as to say I had more fun with it than "War for Cybertron".

Steve Butts:
John McClane may have only killed a handful of terrorists in Die Hard, but those sorts of small enemy numbers just don't work in the videogame market.

Why, just why? I'd much, much rather fight say a dozen capable swordsmen on my way through an rpg level, then massacre a hundred mooks. Both making the enemies less, but better, or giving the player more allies, would imho lead to a far far better experience then the Dragon Age/CoJ/Fallout way of doing things, where by the time you've accomplished anything, you killed more people then WWI... why is it, that so few people try that out?
(And by the way - case and point Morrowind (think about it, how many people do you kill on an average mission there, and how many in oblivion - the combat was more then lackluster, but at least they got that right)

The only movie tie-ins I enjoyed were Star Wars.

Although, I have to ask -- what about book-game tie-ins? These don't seem as based about "cashing in" on the profit, so much as exploring different possibilities that book different offer. When I write this, I'm thinking primarily of Metro 2033, which I've been playing a lot of recently. I haven't had the chance to read the books yet, but I'm very interested in doing so now, and see what the original author put.

I did, perhaps embarrassingly, enjoy the Lego games (up until the sneezing statue problem on Lego Harry Potter) because although they stuck to the films they brought their own addition ellents and puzzles to the games (although a little easy to complete).

I still think generally that tie ins not linked directly to the films work better, I enjoyed the Jedi Knight series and even the 1993 X-Wing game (which only tied into the films at the very end).

From the ones I have played, the Harry Potter games are the worst, while LoTR Return of the King was alright. If goldeneye counts as a movie game, it deserves to be mentioned on a list of the good ones.

Eideann:
I really liked the early GBA Harry Potter Movie Tie-ins, they had the story and they were RPGs (which suits the story more than FPS).

Also the lego series works well, probably because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

This was pretty much the point I was going to make.

My little sister and I used to sit for hours playing the first two Harry Potter adaptations on the Playstation, and I came across them again recently when we cleared out her room and set up all the old consoles (we had a sega 32-bit megadrive in there for some bizarre reason), and we played them again. for hours. They were actually really good, because while they did have to follow the main plot, there were loads of side-quests and secrets to find that made it enjoyable. My favourite was the one where you had to collect Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans for the Weasley Twins, in return for rewards.

Thing is, when they came out, the techonology was, granted, a little simpler, but nowadays I think adapatations are expected so soon after the movie release, especially when they're released this close to Christmas, that there really is no way around the developers having such a fixed deadline. Which is really sad. Most people I know just get money for Christmas anyway, give the developers more time, and let them buy the game later if they really want it.

The original adaptations didn't seem to feel the need to stick so rigidly to the storyline either; Peeves was in the games, and he never even appeared in the movies! This may be looking ahead to the articles tomorrow, but I do believe that taking a story from a book would be a much better plan than taking it from a movie, which often had a good chunk of the story removed anyway.

Also, the Lego games are quite possibly the most hilarious things ever created. There is nothing better than sitting at 4am after a night on the town, blasting little plastic enemies into a squillion pieces. They still follow the story, but are much better than the ones that try to be the movies.

I gotta say that Wolverine and Spider-Man 2 were great examples of tie-in games. Movie games should go beyond the story of the movie, feeling more like a simultaneous experience than just a rehashing of what has come before. Other examples? Shadow of the Empire (the book) was focused mostly on our classic Star Wars cast, while the GAME focused on secondary character Dash Rendar, whose story was less defined and, therefore, could be portrayed in a much more action-packed way. Of course, nothing will save a game if it's bad.

He asked the question, and I have to say, why yes, I've had boss battles as short as in the Harry Potter movies, but, being a semi-alien master assassin in Rome with two blades and a gun attached to my wrist, powered by a mad lust for blood, certainly seems to be helping that a bit.

It seems to me there's a lot of confusion between "movie tie-in games" and "franchise games" ... many of the comic, and pretty much all the Star Wars and LotR games mentioned aren't really movie tie-in's, they're just games set in a franchise universe that happens to include some films!

Even a classic like Fate of Atlantis is just an Indy franchise story told through medium of a game rather than another film (we all thought the film series was finished after The Last Crusade .. if only it was so :( ) And there lies your distinction: Franchise stories told through a game rather than a movie are often fantastic, whereas movie tie-in games where the studio is trying to make a quick buck by duck-taping together a game without paying any attention to plot, mechanics or character development (sadly the norm these days) are generally poor.

There are some notable exceptions in my book. The Last Crusade Indy game was pretty awesome in its time, and followed the plot of the movie very closely. The original Ghostbusters II game was also awesome, and of course Goldeneye :)

The problem of making games out of movies is that they do almost all the extremely wrong things when it comes to the art of developing a game, all at the same time. Its like they had a sheet infront of them where it said "how to make a grame crap" and crossed off all the boxes as they went along.

1. Use alot of money just to buy the rights of making the game that could have been spent on developing something not brand named. *Check*

2. Have a strict and short schedule for when a game is suppost to be released. *check*

3. Game having to be closely tied to the movie where the publisher forces the dev to keep in check with a movies exact storyling. Even if it's most likely not true to the book it's based apon *check*.

4. Usually the rights are bought by some big publisher to make the game. Like sucky EA games. *check*

I have played my share of movie-related game releases, and the list of acceptable adaptations is very small. It would seem that games more loosely based on the franchise are oftentimes better than direct translations (such as The Path of Neo from The Matrix).
Probably the best advice I could think of in this particular area is that instead of having the tie in game come out as the movie is released in theaters is to have the game come out as the movie is released to disc. Hell, you could do a double and release the movie and the game together in a two-box set so you have more time to work on the game plus you are also selling a copy of the movie to the consumer. I don't know that I've ever actually seen that done before, but it almost seems like a no-brainer.

i think that the reson why the movies are better than the game is because that some movie games just dont work and that the movie productions like to used that as a way to cash out the movie production, and that their are rushed out right out after the movie

The X-Men Origins: Wolverine game was awesome because it didn't worry about having too much blood that would give it an "R rating."

Ironically I couldn't get the Die Hard Trilogy game for the Playstation out of my head even before you said your bit about John McClane. The shining examples of games based on movies are few and far between. Goldeneye perhaps is the best example I can think of, and that is because it blatantly disregarded the things you pointed out.

I know it was massively flawed, having blocky graphics, ropey animation and dodgy controls, but for some reason I still loved Enter The Matrix. It had the usual tie-in problems, but it also had a decent narrative and was actually pretter fun to play.
Aside from that, I had Die Hard Trilogy on the PS1, and that was pretty fun. Well, mainly the light-gun Die Hard 2 game, but the other two games were still OK. With that one, the game came out quite a while after the third DH movie, so it didn't suffer so much from an arbitrary deadline.

In general, it seems like the only movie games that are actually any good are the ones made after the films cinema run has ended - i.e. the ones which actually had a reason for being made other than merchandising. To make a good game you need an actual good idea first, not just a brand.

P.S. Writing this in the freezing cold at a London bus station because the Central line is broken *again.* That has nothing to do with anything, I just need to vent. Fscking tube network!

I heard people say some good things about the DS Alice in Wonderland game (though I havent had the chance to play it myself). I think the reason for this is that the games tried a more abstract approach, basing the plot of the game off of the gameplay itself, and not off of the scenes from the movie. The minimalist approach to the graphics also helped.

I agree with the article. You gave a very good explanation of the phenomenon of adaptation process games<-> movies.
I studied this subject some years ago (I read L. Hutcheon, for instance), and I have come to realize that these adaptation in both senses (movies into games and games into movies) are generally not successful because of the "original factor". Like you, author, said, movie games tend to follow the paths of the movie too strictly, which results in a boring game, only action, almost no real game interaction.
The adaptations which I find successful are the ones which use the plot as a basis for sth else: sequels, spin-offs, prequels tend to be less boring and more interactive games or better movies that the so-said 'direct adaptations'.

The Game verion of the 2005 king kong movie was pretty good.

Proably because you actually felt like you were trapped on an island were you were reduced to a insect like state.

You always ran out of ammo, even the weakest dinosaur was enough to produce a response like having a Zealot with an enregy sowrd charging at you in halo 1, AKA "OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RU-" *dies*

ethaninja:
I loved the Chronicles of Riddick games ;)

This :D
Republic Commando and Star Wars Battlefront too.
Oh and Battle for Middle-earth!

Personally I enjoyed the recent AvP game as well. Anticipating better things from Aliens: Colonial Marines though.

Riddick and a few Star Wars games...that's all I got.

Can't say I've played many movie tie-ins, mainly because all I have for a computer is an Acer Notebook so PC gaming passes me by. Plus I don't have the money or technical know-how to dump hours of time and thousands of dollars into a decent machine.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Wolverine game. Ya it was an average, but it was fun, and ANYTHING would have been better than the movie. Can anybody else think of an instance where the game was seen as good simply because the movie was terrible?

I thought pretty fondly of "Enter the Matrix", but maybe that's just me :| Path of Neo was alright, too.

Enter the Matrix is one of the ones I have in my memory as being pretty fun, though I did get stuck at one point I think.

While not actually a movie, does anyone remember the cartoon show Jackie Chan adventures? It was about Jackie Chan and his niece collecting magical chinese talismans that they could use to get super-powers (Super speed, telekenisis, fire-breath, etc). A game was made of it and it worked like Okami actually. I thought it was pretty fun, mostly because it took the shows premise of "Collect the talismans" and just went for it. PLus the fact you gained new abilities as you progressed already helped it as a game.

I would also like to say that, while it was one of the worst games I have ever touched, Iron man 2 did snag me an easy PLatinum trophy, so there were some merits to it

The Star Wars series of games has such a vast background that a company can take any aspect of it and make it into a successful game, ranging from the Old Republic (KOTOR), the Clone Wars (Republic Commando, which incidentally is in my top ten games), the Empire (The Force Unleashed), and the New Republic (Jedi Outcast). Another example Enter The Matrix, which looks at two minor characters from The Matrix series and focuses on their path.

Similarly, games based on a main character (e.g. James Bond) can work incredibly well if they do not focus on a particular film (I personally loved Nightfire), with an exception to the N64's GoldenEye, which used film sequences by developing them further, adding new sections to the ones used in the film (I have yet to play the Wii Remake).

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