Tom Chick goes to the movies!

You’ll find my Yahoo preview of The Movies here. Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios, which must be pretty huge, has been cranking them out: Fable, Black & White 2, and now this. Those guys are nothing if not busy, but I think I’d rather see them do one game as good as Populous rather than three separate games as good as Fable, Black & White 2, and The Movies.

Tom, can I make porn flicks? Can I be the new Larry Flynt of the sims world? Is hairy Ron Jeremy in the game? I can’t believe you didn’t add any of this in your review.

Naw, just kiddin about the review. Sounds like a “fun” game. :)

Those guys are nothing if not busy, but I think I’d rather see them do one game as good as Populous rather than three separate games as good as Fable, Black & White 2, and The Movies

Ok, I’m a dullard but I beleive thats a hint…right?..RIGHT?

Perhaps. Then again, “It’s not as good as Populous” is pretty faint criticism. Few games are that good.

For some reason, I am less excited about The Movies after reading that preview.

Troy

I absolutely want this game. As Tom says in the first paragraph, there’s nothing like it out there. Everyone who bemoans the lack of innovation and sea of “me too” games should at least be paying attention to this, if not picking it up. I just pray it actually turns out to be good.

Only if you have a very clear return policy.

That’s how I felt, too. This has been on the top of my must-see list for a while. But the more I read about it, the more worried I am that this will turn into a lame tycoon sim with a crappy Sim-lish movie element patched on.

Troy

Hi, my name is Hollywood Mogul. My design is identical to The Movies. Well, that’s not true. You don’t film your movies in Hollywood Mogul. But otherwise, it’s almost identical. (People from Lionhead repeatedly deny having seen this game.)

Apparently, it’s “fabulously entertaining.” And last time I played it, it was. After a string of big budget failures, I managed to put together a movie that grossed $1.8 billion in box office.

I’m still alittle skeptical of Lionhead, after being disapointed with Bnw2, I think I’m going to wait to get it, besides by then I should be playing Civ4.

Why is Populous so fondly remembered? It was a neat enough idea, but suffered from at least as much lack of execution as Molyneux’s more recent games. I recall needing to spend more than half my time repeatedly raising and lowering land to get anywhere, and it just being brutally tedious in general.

This strikes me as nostalgia, as opposed to games like Star Control 2 or Xcom where you can actually go back and have a ton of fun playing.

Ah Hollywood Mogul. I remember making a cheap film with the cheapest of everything, staring one old guy and it was highly sexual and erotic. I can only imagine it was just 2 hours of some old guy jerking off in front of the camera. Made 600 million.

Only if you have a very clear return policy.[/quote]

So you say you watch porn flicks, but not my porn flicks. I am not sure if this is an insult, but I suspect it is. [hairy eyeball emote]

Eh, so the idea has been floated once, that Hollywood Mogul game looks pretty low budget, so to speak.

Heh – Steve, Rob and I are the only people in the world who remember Hollywood Mogul. There’s also the little Movie Studio Boss.

It is low budget. It’s all text, in fact. But it’s practically the same game in the sense you pay for a script or develop your own ideas, pay for re-writes, hire directors and actors and such to work on the movie, deal with problems, pay for marketing, determine release dates, release the film, get the reviews, watch your box office, etc. It’s a cool game; seriously.

But Peter Molyneux constantly says, “This game has never been done,” and the press repeats it. And people like Tom Chick say “There’s nothing like it,” and people believe it. But neither is true. It has been done, and there’s a game out there right now that’s pretty much exactly like it.

Well, not quite exactly. There are two differences with The Movies: the Sims-style personality stuff and the actual moviemaking. The former might be fun, though it requires a “studio system” to remain in place long before Hollywood actually ditched the idea.

The movie making is actually pretty nifty, but since there’s no way for the computer to “rate” the quality of a film, it still uses the same sort of qualitative evaluation that Hollywood Mogul uses: if you pay for a better script, actors, sets, and director, you make a “better” movie that might make more money.

So really, it’s only the Sims stuff that makes The Movies different from Hollywood Mogul. Everything else is nearly identical. Which isn’t really a surprise, since we are talking about running a movie studio and making movies. It would be hard for them to be that different.

I know you’re eager to be all cool and dismissive, but The Movies is nothing if not unique. Your Hollywood Mogul comparisons are weak enough that you actually manage to undermine them in your own post. Way to go!

Not only are you incorrect, but you’ve completely missed the point that the moviemaking stuff you’re so quick to dismiss will result in player-made movies. Lionhead has posted some online. You can take download them if you don’t believe me.

Well, someone must be working really hard at it then. The Movies “is pretty much exactly like [Hollywood Mogul]” in the same way Doom is pretty much exactly like Nethack. Good call, Bauman.

-Tom

It is low budget. It’s all text, in fact. But it’s practically the same game

I’m with Tom on this. You can’t just dismiss the graphics and UI like they’re not important to the game experience. That makes no sense. You might as well say the first version of Flight Simulator is “practically the same game” as FS 10.

oooo! For a bonus 5 points can I mention Lula?

You got to build a porn movie empire in that one. Design the “storyboards”, hire the actors, director, deal with humourous technical problems like your lead not being able to get it up etc etc.

Mind you, banging your head repeatedly against the desk was far more interesting than actually attempting to play the game.

The Movies? Pffft, been done.

I’m not trying to be cool and dismissive, but you’re just wrong.

Seriously, isn’t this how The Movies basically works? You start a studio. You have seed money but need to stay in the black or take out loans to fund movies. You have regular monthly/weekly costs. You either develop scripts (you name the movie, determine its genre(s), assign a writer rated in certain types of screenwriting, send it back for re-writes to that writer or others, etc.) or you buy completed ones.

Once you have a script, you put it in development. You hire a director, and they’re rated for their skill, genres, etc. You hire actors, which are also rated. You determine the budget based on the type of movie it is and whether you think it has box office potential. You choose location shooting or build sets.

Once it’s shot, you determine its release date and spend money on marketing. Once it opens, you get game-generated reviews and box office results.

Oh wait, that’s Hollywood Mogul.

Not only are you incorrect, but you’ve completely missed the point that the moviemaking stuff you’re so quick to dismiss will result in player-made movies. Lionhead has posted some online. You can take download them if you don’t believe me.

I wasn’t dismissing it. It will likely give The Movies legs, I can’t wait to see what people do with it, and I suspect more people will use that aspect of the game than actually “play” the thing. But it’s kind of its own thing. The ability to shoot your own movies–as cool as it is–has almost nothing to do with the “game” part of The Movies.

Unless they’ve changed something in the last couple of months, The Movies doesn’t rate what you shoot by the quality of your directing. (Users will be able to judge that when they upload them to the website.) Even if all you’ve done is shoot a wall, the game looks at value and ratings of the movie’s component parts–sets, actors, script, etc.–and says “It’s a good movie.”

This is the exact same criteria Hollywood Mogul uses for determining a “good” or “bad” movie.

Yes, that’s exactly it. Oh wait, no it isn’t.

A more reasonable comparison is this: Nethack is to Diablo as Hollywood Mogul is to The Movies. The concepts and structure are similar enough–despite the difference in presentation–that you can’t help but make the comparison.

I’d rather play Diablo than Nethack, but I wouldn’t run around promoting Diablo as 100% original or say there’s nothing like it. To completely dismiss the connection is silly, which is what Lionhead–and as you like to say, “less critical journalists”–routinely do with The Movies.