Remember the 90’s? God I sure hope you do. I’m not ready to feel old yet. For those who weren’t though let me paint you a picture: Console gaming has just hit it’s biggest innovation since making the system look like a VCR to survive the video game crash Atari brought on the world; CD’s. Developers went from having a few megabytes to having 750 of them. Filling that space felt like the right choice but how? Uncompressed audio helped as did voice acting but there were still a lot of wasted space. The solution? Movies.
Soon the market was flooded by interactive movie games; later known as FMV games. Sega CD, the 3DO, and the CDI leaned Heavily on this potential future with classics like “Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties”, “Virtual Puppet Reika”, and “SEX”. Most of the time these were little more than horribly compressed movies that you occasionally pressed a button to progress. press it too slow or highlight the wrong thing? you died. Looking back it was a lot like guitar hero if the song had a note every 30ish seconds or so. Unsurprisingly This pile of garbage was widely ignored on their respective consoles as true classics like Hotel Mario kept FMV games from being seen as anything more than a novelty.
That was nearly 30 years ago now. What has become of the not so noble FMV game? Well I’m proud to say they are still here and they got a lot better. The genre has become far more inventive as well so let’s stop wasting time and talk about some must play FMV games!
Made by Wales Interactive; Bloodshore is a comedic FMV that is pure 90’s feel with a more modern plot. You play a washed up actor who signed up for a competition where everyone is gunning, literally, to win a huge cash payout. Think demolition man but without the cheesy one liners. this style of FMV game is literally just a movie with timed decision making. Will you get the good ending or will you die in a ridiculous way? It’s up to you. Great for beginners as your progress is saved but also has a branching plot depending on who you choose to be your co star.
If Bloodshore was for a fun night with friends, She See’s Red, made by Rhinotales, is for those looking for a more serious film. The great thing about this movie game is it has a chapter select and demands you explore other decisions to fully flesh out the film. More transformative than Bloodshore and more satisfying. This is what one should expect from the this style of FMV game
Looking for something more immersive? maybe you want to play D&D but don’t have a group? No worries; Deathtrap dungeon, by Branching Narrative LTD has your back. A posh, but great sounding narrator, will coax and lead you on a campaign made just for you. Can you survive the gauntlet and be the sole survivor at the end to have your wish granted? give er a go and find out. Make decisions, fight monsters, and collect things along the way. This one demands multiple play throughs though as you will miss things that lead to the good ending and there are a lot of bad ones. if you played the lone wolf game books you know what to expect here.
Getting funky with the limits of what an FMV game can be; The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, by D’Avekki Studios, is a randomized murder mystery. You take over for the titular Dr; as he has been MURDERED!! His clients still need therapy after all and your goal is to try and get as much info on the Dr as possible from his clients and try to solve the mystery in the process. The murderer is randomized, the means of murder is randomized, heck certain scenes only occur on specific play throughs. Lot’s of replay value to be had here. The best part? You actually ask your clients the questions by typing them out. the game understands what you wrote and responds accordingly. so be sure to pay attention and make sure you find out who murdered Dr. Dekker.
Remember classic FMV games like night trap? Not For Broadcast, by Notgames, is that but on steroids. You will be the operator for a broadcasting company during a sensitive moment in the history of the games’ world. Your decisions will showcase the kind of person you are and in turn shape the story into something of your own choosing. You do this by censoring language, choosing ad spots, changing the program entirely, and other seemingly mundane tasks. There is nothing mundane about Not For Broadcast though. it has such things as: an Alex Jones parody, weird sports you’ve never seen before, behind the scenes shenanigans and more. Def worth it if you wanted longer than a few hours of game play from the genre.
And there you have it; 5 different kinds of FMV games from 5 different companies, proving once and for all that you can take some of the worst games known to man; and evolve them into something truly wonderful for all tastes. Which game are you most interested in trying? let us know in the comments below!