Why Movie Based Games Are Usually Bad And How To Fix Them

Movie Based Games

Ever wonder why movie based games are usually bad? How do you fix them? Well as someone who has played a fair amount of movie games, I have some possible solutions to this problem. First off we have to look at what makes a lot of movie games not worth buying/playing. One of the mains reasons for this is because the games deviate too much from the source material. A good example of this concept is the Back to the Future (BTTF) games on the NES.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of the Back to the Future movies, but the NES games? They were mediocre at best and that’s being generous. The first one was so bad even Bob Gale (Producer & Writer for the BTTF films) hated it. According to the game’s Wikipedia article, Mr. Gale said it was “one of the worst games ever.” He also instructed fans of the films to not buy the game and that LJN (the game’s publisher) refused to let him help with the game and give input. The game sees you have to collect clocks, partake in some mini-games, or get the DeLorean up to 88 MPH in the final stage. All of this would be okay in theory, but it’s not just very fun. The other NES BTTF game has similar problems, despite combining Parts 2 and 3 into one game.

Conversely we have Telltale’s Back to the Future: The Game, a point-and-click adventure (on PC, Mac, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One, & iOS). It is a much, much, much, much better game overall. They even got a lot of the original cast to do voices in the game. Obviously this wouldn’t have been possible in the NES days, but even if they didn’t have voices, they at least could’ve done 8-bit likenesses and made the games more fun. BTTFTG is definitely fun in my opinion and in some ways can serve as a Part 4 of the film franchise. The game’s story even picks up where Part 3 leaves off (with Doc & Clara traveling to an unknown time period). Unlike with LJN, Bob Gale was involved with Telltale’s game helping to write the story, a very important distinction. These things are what makes Telltale’s game a success where LJN’s were not. If you haven’t played it and like Back to the Future, I highly recommend you check out Telltale’s Back to the Future: The Game. It shows what can be done when a movie is treated with respect and when a movie game is created the right way.

So it’s really not that difficult to make a good movie based game, it’s just that a lot of the time either someone in the process gets lazy or just doesn’t care. Bob Gale wanted to help with the NES games, but LJN wouldn’t let him. Had he been involved from the beginning, I think those games would’ve turned out much better as Mr. Gale comes across as someone who doesn’t want to tarnish the BTTF legacy or his name.

One of the most important aspects of any game is that it’s fun to play. After all, that’s why most of us play games right? To have fun! So that’s how developers and publishers can fix their movie based games. Focus on making a fun game and make sure the people involved with the movie(s) are involved with the game. It’s really not that complicated. Sure this might be more expensive, but you’ll be more likely to recoup that investment in sales because fans of the movie(s) are far more likely to buy a game that is fun and has actual actors/characters/producers/writers/etc. from the movie(s) involved.

Here’s hoping one day we no longer have to worry about whether or not a movie based game will be worth playing or buying and can just worry about whether it’s fun or not.

Do you like columns like this one? Then please consider supporting Gaming Compass on Patreon! Our website can continue to grow and expand into more areas of content, news, videos, and more with your support.

Let Us Know What You Think

Website Malware Scan