Imagine a game in which you take control of a Hollywood movie studio beginning in the 1920s
Imagine a game in which you take control of a Hollywood movie studio beginning in the 1920s. You are responsible for the more tedious business tasks of staff recruitment, finance auditing and construction planning; however, you also have control over the fascinating movie making process: the script, the actors, and the themes. Now, what you have envisaged at this point is probably something that’s like Peter Molyneux’s The Movies but not as mechanical, generic and partitioned. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good game; but the game’s premise is so theoretically grand that it’s not something which can be transferred to game format without it becoming a shadow of its own expectations. So, forget the hype. What we have here is a good strategy/simulation game which is much like a cross between The Sims and the Tycoon/Theme Park genre with some bonus movie making features thrown in.
Scenary and decoration around a star's trailer improves thier reputation
Nothing wrong or special about the graphics
The most interesting feature of this game is that you can write the scripts to your own movies, and then succeed or fail on the merits or flaws of your creations. In practice the game doesn’t actually work like that. You *do* have the ability to customize many aspects of your movies – how many scenes it has, who acts in it, what actions are performed by who and when, etc. After writing your movie you can watch your actors rehearse and record it; and then you can even export the finished product to a PC movie format. The problem is that success within the business model of this game doesn’t actually depend on you creating something that you consider ‘a good movie. It’s much more mathematical than that. You can pump out movies that make absolutely no sense whatsoever and still be the king of in-game Hollywood. Why? Because movies in-game are rated on how many scenes they have, how long the scenes are, how good your employees are, and what buildings/research your studios have. How coherent and well composed the movie is means very little in terms of in-game success. My suggestion is to write off this feature as a bit of fun bonus content and concentrate instead on what actually makes this a good game.
There are two distinct elements of the game that separate perfectly into the mixture of genres I described earlier. A large part of the game involves whizzing around your studios chasing after your actors and directors and pampering them in a sims-esque manner. Help them build up relationships by going to the bar together, but mind they don’t drink too much and become alcohol dependent. Get them to practice certain genres of acting or directing, but watch they don’t get over-stressed. Build them trailers to live in surrounded by nice scenery, provide them with an entourage of helpers, and keep their wages on a steady rise; bearing in mind that other employees at the studio will be unhappy with a large wage gap. All this is in aid of helping them to perform better whilst making your movies. Good performances bring in cash for you and help them rise in popularity up the acting/directing charts.
The charactors perform thier work on set in impressive detail, but it's essentially pointless
A large part of the game involves repeatedly getting your actors to practice
The other major part of the game is a tycoon style construction/management aspect. For the most part this involves ordering scripts to be created, ordering scripts to be rehearsed, hiring staff, laying down building plans, placing flora around your studios, linking up paths, managing finances, and so on. There’s not much for me to describe about this part of the game because it’s very much as you’d expect – think Hollywood Tycoon or Theme Movie Studio.
There’s a little bit of innovation here and there. Throughout the ages the fashion trends will change, certain types of dress code will become trendy or undesirable. This requires you to give your stars makeovers every 5 years or so. Although the makeover system in-game allows you to change everything from haircut to eye colour, it’s actually only your star’s clothing that makes any difference to their image rating – which is essentially the only reason you’d be giving them a makeover in the first place.
Games of this type are almost always interesting at first and it’s generally longevity which is the major problem. Soon you either begin to see through the depth of the game or you realise you’ve built every kind of roller-coaster possible. Well, The Movies does better than most in this respect. The character depth of your sims-esque actors and directors helps with the depth, and the actual length of the game is filled out by the researching of new buildings, scenes, fashions, and move-making technology.
A neat historically based timeline which runs across the top of the screen throughout play. As well as being able to use this to predict when you’ll have completed such-and-such research or when such-and-such a movie will be ready for release, you can see on in historical events occurring in the world which will affect what kind of movies people want to see. For example, the mid-20s depression in America which causes comedies to be more desirable (people need cheering up).
Although the movie maker is very fun, there's no reward for createing a coherent story-line
Wannabe actors. Also known as "scum" by Hollywood CEOs
As long as you take it for what it is, The Movies is a fine game. It’s nothing really new, but more of a well composed combination of genres. As with other games of this type, unless you can forever be fascinated by demanding pixels strutting around the screen expecting to get a wage rise, it gradually loses its appeal. Eventually the money streams in, nothing could be going better, and you’ve researched everything in the game you could care to see. It’s fun while it lasts though.
TOP GAME MOMENT
watching your movies in action. Even though you know what it looks like
has no significant effect on how successful it’ll be in the virtual