Game Spotlight: The Movies

06oct_03

So with Lionhead Studios being closed by Microsoft after the cancellation of Fable Legends, I thought I’d use this time to talk about one of my favourite games I played on my PC. The Movies.

The Movies was a super cool idea. I was always interested in the behind-the-scenes of television and film and this was a great mogul/tycoon style game that did just that, exploring the history of cinema from the 1920s onwards. You essentially owned a studio at the forefront of the boom in film. You hire actors/staff, build sets, make movies. But beyond that, you also have to make sure you keep your staff and talent happy and keep up with the trends of the current audience. It’s more than just making good movies, you have to have a good business model along with the good movies you create.

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The game itself is probably the best blend I’ve ever gotten in a tycoon-style game where it’s not too hard, but offers enough challenge to keep you going all the way until the end. The game also isn’t super complicated if you’re just using the easy way of creating films. You can just let the game make the movie for you, which can result in some hilarious nonsensical films. Or, you can do it all yourself, pick the scenes, the costumes, the sound effects, even add subtitles into the film to make some clarity to what’s going on. It’s the one thing that some may find it hard to get past, obviously with the many combinations going on (and the fact this is a much older game), there isn’t proper speech, having something similar to the Sim language. But then again, it’s the nonsense that you see on the screen that makes a lot of these movies just ridiculous and hilarious.

It’s also addictive as hell, for me it was very hard to drop the game, wanting to get one more picture out that might get five stars. Then when you get to the end (the game can keep going in the new millennium as long as you want, technology just won’t advance any further), the ability to make your own movie however you want also applies. I found that I let the game do what it wanted until I got to the end and then started making my own films that made zero sense.

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The only thing I found myself having some trouble with was keeping all my actors/staff happy. A lot of the time I would have my top actors and directors super happy and the people underneath pissed off all the time, cause I couldn’t manage them all at once, so I had to concentrate on the ones who would make me the most money. Sometimes as well, your movie ratings drop for silly things like releasing a horror movie instead of a horror/action hybrid, because apparently releasing a horror movie 6 movies after another horror movie is still too often. But for the most part, the game is pretty fair and the only person to blame is you for not being as in-depth on your decisions as you should have been.

There’s really not much else I can say without overdoing it, so I’ll just finish by saying how sad I am that we never got a second release of this game and never will now. This is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite tycoon game of all time, I was severely addicted to the game, hell you know how good it is, that the second I heard Lionhead was being closed, I didn’t think of Fable, I immediately thought of The Movies first. If you’re able to get this game to work on your system today, I suggest trying that, it’s a phenomenally good game and if you have any interest in the film business, it’s a no brainer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a romantic horror movie I’ve gotta make.

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