Another Internet Cynical Essay About FMV Games

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
To be fair, he does acknowledge that Wing Commander was the one franchise that got FMV right. He may not have liked the movie, but at least he gives WC3 and WC4 props. (Strange there's no mention of Prophecy...)
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
And like so many other reviewers, he writes only to sharpen his teeth on attacking something or debasing it instead of *writing an article*.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
What game is it they call "Rebel Assault" in the first screenshot? Doesn't look like Rebel Assault to me...

It's a screenshot from Rebel Assault II - which used FMV throughout, including in some of the action/gameplay sequences with preplanned movements and sequences.

EDIT: In retrospect I'd like to see him support his claim that the only articles about Video Games in those days were 'Nintendo Killed my Son' or 'Ban This Sick Filth'. What's interesting is that he tries to say that era is passed, but there's still a tiny but loud minority of people who are convinced that my owning Roller Coaster Tycoon is going to convince me I need to buy an AK-47 and shoot up an airport full of tourists.

Also, I agree, the way this guy writes is terrible.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I actually thought this was an interesting article. I agree that the prose is dreadful, but the guy dug pretty deep into the memory banks--he mentioned a whole mess of FMV games I haven't thought about in years.

I'm not even sure it's all that cynical. The success of Wing Commander and 7th Guest did spawn a zillion terrible variations that were all trying to come up with a unique way to involve a video shoot in a game.
 

Prometheus

Spaceman
I liked the article. I don't know what some of you are complaining about. FMV Games deserve it, at least most of them do. What Wing Commanders 3 and 4 did right was the FMV served a supporting role, while there was actual gameplay for the player. (But even that is a matter of taste, WC4 may have almost crossed the line, especially with having a dialog scene being the climax, deciding whether you win or lose). Command & Conquer did that as well, and this one not even bothering with dialog options for you to choose, but just being live-action cutscenes.

That's why I'm reluctant to count C&C or even WC3/4 as "FMV games", even if they're often counted as such. For me, the typical "FMV game" suffers from a serious lack of any real interactive gameplay. You watch a (poor) movie. Then at some point you press a button, deciding whether the movie will take path A or path B. That's not a game.


Please have mercy, opinions may (and should) vary. ;)
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
He was doing okay until this line:

(The star of that one? A then largely unknown actor called Clive Owen. Wonder what he’s doing now…)

...making fat sacks of cash starring in movies, apparently. He should have said they're taken as side gigs and then just left it alone.
 

Silanda

Captain
He was doing okay until this line:



...making fat sacks of cash starring in movies, apparently. He should have said they're taken as side gigs and then just left it alone.

It's an obvious joke, he knows perfectly well what Clive Owen is doing now. In 1996 anyone outside of the UK was unlikely to have recognised him.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I actually thought this was an interesting article. I agree that the prose is dreadful, but the guy dug pretty deep into the memory banks--he mentioned a whole mess of FMV games I haven't thought about in years.

I'm not even sure it's all that cynical. The success of Wing Commander and 7th Guest did spawn a zillion terrible variations that were all trying to come up with a unique way to involve a video shoot in a game.

Yeah, I didn't find it particularly disparaging to most of the games I remember from way back when. I didn't see much effort to be funny for the sake of cheap jokes.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
To be honest isn't Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain like the old FMV games?

Heavy Rain maybe. But Idigo Prophecy is probably closer to the old adventure games... So in a manner it's probably a little like some of those titles.

But it's fundamentally not like the FMV games in that it has no live action. The limiting aspect of FMV videos is missing as soon as you step to recorded dialogue that is mouldable to the context. This comparison is a little like saying Mass Effect is a lot like those old FMV games.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I think the article is interesting - it reminded me of a whole bunch of things that went wrong with FMV games. However, it suffers from the same problem the rest of the gaming press suffers - namely, the fact that it just doesn't bother collecting any evidence for support. I'd have *loved* to see this exact same article, only filled with quotes from the people who made these games.

Just yesterday, I stumbled by accident onto one of those youtube shows, with an interview with Robert Jacob from Cinemaware. It doesn't exactly uncover any amazing new facts, but it's fun.

I'd also love to hear about the benefits of FMV - but that would have to be an entirely different article. We know what went wrong... but what about what went right? Did the fact that we had horror film scholars writing articles about Phantasmagoria help the industry or not? FMV was a kind of evolutionary dead end, but it's not a useless one (I'm sure we'd all love to see an FMV WC title again... heck, I'd love to make one :p ). At the time, games like WC4 and the Command & Conquer titles were really amazing - what did they get right?
 

Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
I don't see a problem with the article really.
It praises Wing 3 and 4 and while it does rip into the movie, he says it bombed (which it did really) and 'deservedly', which is an opinion and he is allowed to have one.

He also praises the technical side, saying how impressive some of the programming was to get things to work in such restrictions.

All in all, I agree. The WC universe aside, most FMV games were a waste of time, though they get some points for pushing PC technology on a few steps.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
SOMEONE MIGHT LIKE THE WING COMMANDER MOVIE?! I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

Seriously, though, that's not why anyone is complaining about this article.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
I agree that the prose is dreadful, but the guy dug pretty deep into the memory banks--he mentioned a whole mess of FMV games I haven't thought about in years.

My problem with it mostly is his tone. I think it was you, LOAF, who made that great statement about how internet jerks write spoof commentary tracks after being raised on MST3k reruns but totally miss the point that MST3k people *love* b-films and the things they riff on. Meanwhile, we get weirdo jerks that write weirdo jerk commentary for Star Wars movies and think they're some kind of funnyman internet hero.

I like digging up old video game mentions like anyone else does. Just yesterday, I found out there was a Dirty Harry game for the NES that sounds like great fun (how does Dirty Harry regain health? Chili Dogs! And he uses harpoon guns!) but I think the internet community - such as it is - wouldn't get that this is something great and fun and only as one more target to tear down.
 

Prometheus

Spaceman
games like WC4 and the Command & Conquer titles were really amazing - what did they get right?

As I already said, FMV got a supporting role, while at the core there was some solid gameplay (3D space flight-sim / real-time strategy). That's what they did right.


Yes, in hindsight it's pretty much obvious what went wrong, but not so much why it went wrong. When FMV was new, almost everyone in the games industry got crazy, thought "this is the future", several companies released FMV "games" almost totally devoid of any gameplay whatsover, and thought just having videos in it would make people love it. Did they really think people are that stupid? I'd find interesting what exactly motivated the "early CD craze" like that.

Yes, most of it may very well be "hindsight bias" - now we think it should have been obvious it wouldn't work that way, but back then nobody could have known. But I'm not sure. There were at least some game designers who were critical about it even back then, but it seems most of their colleaques didn't listen (or didn't want to listen).
 
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