Tag Archives: ET

The Black Tie Events Presents… Why Movie Licensed Games are Doomed to Fail

Is that tie looking a little ragged? How old is it? 2 maybe 3 months? Time to get a new one, my friend. You don’t want to be seen in public looking like that.

There are also quite a few games that have been released to the public that shouldn’t have been. Mainly, video games developed from popular movie franchises. These little gems make their way into our homes with innocent intentions designed to entertain.

Many, if not all, of these movie licensed games fail. Whether they be well deserved games with interesting aspects or not, these games have never seem to work out in a gamer’s eye.

Why, you ask? Lots of reasons. You’ll be surprised to find that some of these games are doomed from the beginning, or in case of our first entry, is actually a good game, but gets roped into being a bad game because of it’s movie tie-in.

Tighten that tie because it’s about to get classy.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th, released 1980 in America, is about a crazed lunatic that decides to take her vengeance out of a few teenagers who are working to reopen the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. (For those who may not remember, Mrs. Voorhees, Jason’s mother, was the knife wielding psychopath in the first installment.)

The Nintendo Entertainment System installment was released 1989 some nine years after the first movie. That puts the game released around Friday the 13th VIII: Jason takes Manhattan. Rather than trying to convey a twisting plot around Mrs. Voorhees, Atlus (developer of the game) decided to go back to its roots and emerge the player into the nightmare that is Jason on the familiar ground of Camp Crystal Lake.

Friday the 13th for the NES is considered by many to be one of the worst games ever released. But underneath all of the hype, the game actually performs well in its constraints. Let’s take a look at some of the most common complaints.

Things aren’t all clear to you at first and you are left aimlessly wandering around the camp whacking zombies with your knife.

The game makes you learn how to survive by supplying the player with cryptic messages as you battle your way through the camp grounds looking for Jason. This is before the ever popular (/sarcasm) ”How To Play” tutorials that you find in most modern games. Most players don’t want the game to hold your hand. Instead they opt for “Learn as you play” techniques which include deciphering puzzling notes strewed throughout the game. Sounds like well designed game play to me.

See, everyone has split up so they can “cover more ground,” or something equally brainless, so they’re situated all over the encampment.

Anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie especially those deemed “slasher”, know that the first thing a group does is split up. That way the killer can take them out one by one. You run up the stairs not out the front door when the killer is in the house. If the group stayed together and the victim ran out the front door, the movie would end wouldn’t it? Why would the game, being based off of said movie, be any different? A video game is designed to bring the player into a world that doesn’t exist in their own reality. Making stupid decisions as a group is part of this reality.

The issue here shows that the movie series was already on its last legs before the video game was released. Atlus noticed this and decided to create a spin off of the movie rather than following a movie story line. This was to give the game a chance to burst past the movies. But as society will show time and time again, that if one bit is bad, it’s all bad.

Imagine how this game would have performed if it had a different title?

Street Fighter: the Movie — the Game

Sometimes, a franchise is so popular you really start running out of things to do with it. In the thoughts of the Street Fighter series, creating a movie with a very impressive casting list was a no-brainer. Or so one would think.

Street Fighter: the Movie will always be considered a terrible effort to turn a video game into a movie. An early attempt to cash in on a very popular video game franchise; the opposite of our first entry.

So, first, let’s get the idea confusion out of the way: this is a game, that’s based on a movie, that’s based on a video game. Get it? Hard to wrap one’s head around.

All and all, the idea was sound, take a popular video game turn it into a movie then allow the players to play as the actors themselves that played the characters in the movie who were portraying their video game counterparts. Wait… I think I just confused myself.

The biggest issue here was the movie didn’t fair well among viewers bringing in only a score of 13% on the TomatoMeter from Rotten Tomatoes. So the movie didn’t work. Why would anyone make a game based off a failing movie?

With a bad taste in our mouth, we headed to the arcade to play the first installment of Street Fighter: the Movie – the Game. With expectations all ready low, this game was doomed from the start.

But is the game that bad? Short answer: yes. But it was built upon a structure that, in my opinion, was already a failing attempt at game design. Mortal Kombat was one of the first games that became popular that used real actors for digitized images. Using this kind of technology limits the game to few frames for a proper animation. The moves look jagged or slow; unnatural at times.

Sprites themselves allow a programmer to make the motion fluid without taking up too much space or having an actor stand around for hours on end taking photos moving one inch and then another… and then another… Take a poor idea for a movie, turned video game, with some of the worst ideas for a head to head fighter, the game was pitted against itself and lost.

One thing I can say about this game… Akuma… super cool.

E.T. – Extra-Terrestrial

What’s cuter than a lonely boy to befriends an extra-terrestrial named simply E.T. that is stranded on Earth? Answer? Nothing. Pulling in just over $11 million dollars on opening night back in 1982 and stayed number one for six more weeks! Huge. Why wouldn’t the game be just as good? Right? Anyone?

E.T. for the ATARI 2600 is constantly cited as being the contributor to the video game crash of 1983. Developed and programmed by one man, Howard Scott Warshaw, was given only five weeks to have the game ready by the Christmas deadline. Talk about a raw deal.

But what he created was an extremely emotional piece of video game art. Not again will these styles be copied until the release of the popular Metroid for the NES.

Stay with me…

Warshaw decided to go against the grain and create something new with the title of E.T.: rather than bumping around as Elliot trying to help E.T. get back to his home planet, you play as E.T. On the quest to get there yourself.

Within E.T., you are pitted against your own solidarity, feeling helpless, abandoned. Around every corner is a man in a yellow suit and hat trying to capture you. You only have some much strength to keep going. Being on a strange new world, everything blends together making it difficult to plot your points and know if you are heading in the right direction or in circles.

When you cry out for aid, you have to incite the one who found you in the first place with candy before he will give you a piece of your planetary space phone. He holds the very key to getting you home but you have to bribe him with candy before he will comply. Taunting you with only 1 piece at a time until you bring him the necessary amount of payment. What a cruel world you are traveling through with E.T. You have no attacks, no power-ups, nothing. You are just a scared alien trying to get home.

After only struggling against the odds do you come out victorious in your adventure, your home planet’s ship comes to pick you up and are taken back to where it’s safe, where people love you, where you are no longer in danger.

A masterpiece…

Let us know what are some of your favorite movie licensed games that didn’t cut it with the mainstream but still holds a special place in your heart?

As always, stay classy.