Video games and movies have a long history. As soon as video games started to become popular, tie-ins with movies became a no-brainer. Video games could launch before a big upcoming title and act as a sort of immersive advertising – building momentum before the big movie premiere. If they released the game during or even after the movie and you know it would sell like hotcakes because they were tapping into an already engaged fanbase. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement and there seemed to be no downside.
At no time was this more prevalent than the eighties and nineties. Every blockbuster film had an accompanying big-name video game attached to it. Studios were running high and money was flowing in. Unfortunately, developers got lazy. It seemed like no matter what the video game was actually like, it would sell. So many stopped caring about making good games. And (to use a mixed metaphor) after flying too close to the sun the bubble burst. E.T. became the poster child of bad movie video games. Tie-ins slowed down to a trickle and quality took a nosedive.
As a big fan of both movies and video games, this makes me a little sad. I look back so fondly at my Disney’s Aladdin and Lion King games on the Mega Drive. Sure they were a little tough – but man, as a kid I felt like I was in the movies they were based on! I wish we had more tie-ins that worked. Today, we still get the odd video game movie release, but often these games are disappointing at best and barring a few modern exceptions (like anything the Lego team does) good video games based on movie licenses are few and far between. So let’s take a moment to reflect on the few movie games that worked… let us know – what’s your favourite game based on a movie license?