Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better!

 Hey there Pixel Lovers.  Today we're going over the subject of Video Game tie-ins... the good, the bad, and the downright disastrous. Our usual soundtrack is today brought you you by 1986 Amstrad classic - Aliens (CLICK LEFT!)

Over the years, there have been many, many video games tie ins... Possibly the most famous of these, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has gone down in history as the game which broke Atari and the entire gaming industry back in the '80s (though, this isn't strictly true, it certainly did help) entirely down to the ethos which is still apparent in some games today.

Unfortunately, in a way quite similar to the annual sports releases, movie tie-ins are mostly a way to just rake in some extra cash. From my time working in games retail I can say with certainty that a good 90% of games released with a link to movies or television shows are not worth picking up. Some of them are not even worth picking up for free, with completely broken game mechanics, awful animations and often horrific voice acting.

It came as a nice surprise to see games such as Arkham Asylum break the mould and provide consumers with a game that was solid, gripping and, above all, fun to play. Unfortunately though these games do come along once in a while, they are bobbing heroes amid a sea of floating failures. Even in the days of the cassette tape there were some good tie ins, and those have continued to be a rare gleam in the filth throughout the years. The Aliens game above was excellent (and Isolation was also fantastic) and we've had maybe one or two every few years which have been made with love and affection... but it's definitely an exception, rather than the rule

The reason they are so bad all seems to stem from the same thinking that made E.T. bomb so hard, and though you would have thought developers and publishers would learn from their mistakes. Everybody seems to have forgotten the 29 year old lesson which Atari provided...

A good game, can not be rushed.

It somehow gets worse when a game comes out which ties in with a film which in itself was sub par. Jumper, for example, was a pretty bad film...  but the video game version released shortly afterwards was nothing short of gaming hell. In fact, its only redeeming feature was that you could easily complete it and get rid of it in under two hours. Saying that, a good film or show doesn't mean any guaranteed improvement when making the leap to gaming... I'm looking at you The Walking Dead (not the Traveller's Tales one though, that was awesome)

I wish these companies would learn that (to paraphrase Hank Hill), You're not making gaming better, you're just making your brand worse. Consumers, please learn... If it says anywhere on the box "The Official Videogame", leave it alone.

And what about the other way around? Movies from games?  Max Payne, Hitman, Tomb Raider... I'll leave that one with you.

Please, I'm begging you. If you're not going to invest in good script writers, good programmers, good actors and good testers... don't bother... It'll save all of us some time, money, and above all, dignity

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