Space Ramblings

Movies and TV Shows Using Games for Promotion

And by games I don’t mean tie in licensed games, which are almost invariably terrible but a separate issue, instead I mean movies and TV shows trying to figure out how to promote themselves on the internet by offering small online interactive games. Recently we have two poor examples of this from The Spirit’s online henchman game to Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Ambush.

The basic problems are pretty straightforward. Doing a small scale decent combat game on a website is pretty tough and not even worth trying unless you have a pretty clear idea of how to make it work. Also with the abundance of free online flash games and open source downloadable games, it’s doubtful that adding a crude game to your website is really gonna pack them in. It’s mostly pointless, unless you genuinely come up with something clever and implement in a way that really encourages replayability.

Even if your IP is unique, and the sort of thing that really appeals to people, wrapping it around an annoying little game will only diminish it. Sure the Family Guy vs American Idol characters fighting game was good for a few laughs but after about 5 minutes or so, it was pointless because of the poor design. The more serious games such as The Spirit henchman game which seems to want to be a fighting game by way of Spore or TTSCC’s Ambush which was just outright terrible, can’t even count on the laughs. It’s entirely possible to make addictive and entertaining games, but it’s hard and it helps to keep it simple and look at what works. Space Invaders and Tetris are both simple classics that never get old and are easily ripped off. Avoid character fighting games unless you can actually design an enjoyable replayable game. And be sure to take a look at WTF, it was done by people in their spare time for no money. Hint, hire them.

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