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  The Movies

The Movies is a simulation game currently for PC users created by Lionhead studios and Activision. If you've ever wanted to become a movie Mogul, ordering people around and running your very own film studio, then this is the game for you! And hey, even if that"s not the case, this game is a hoot regardless.

In The Movies, players have the opportunity to run their own movie studio, complete with actors, film sets, and of course, making sure that your movies get released on time and with great reviews. The game can be broken down into three areas of play.

First things first, you must create your studio. It all seems a little daunting at first and you might not have a clue what to do, but luckily there is a micro-managing voice over that provides frequent and hinting pop ups to assist you in your filmmaking journey. Once you’ve got the basics for your studio, including casting, crew and production offices, you can start hiring.

Forming the careers of your movie stars is your next step. You’ll be hiring actors, directors, extras, film crew, set builders, and many more. For the most part, it all relies on your best guess which person is best for what job. Don’t worry though, even if the person you hire for a particular job isn’t qualified at first, they will learn the trade by gaining more experience at your studio.

The last area of game play would be the actual making of the movies. Throughout the design of your studio, opportunities will arise to build various sets and it is on these sets that the magic really happens. The game is great in that it gives you the chance to stick to a standard script that one of your scriptwriters imagined, or you can throw caution to the wind and create your own script (which I might add is harder than it seems!)

I think the easiest way to tell you about the various benefits of the game and the array of fun things you can do, would be to break these features down into categories.

One way to really put your studio on the map (aside from making great movies of course) is to spend a little quality time with a shovel and some shrubbery. Well, basically, you need to focus a wee bit on making sure your studio is free of litter and that the overall layout is full of foliage, green grass and happy little shrubs. This will increase the 'prestige’ of your studio and encourage other actors, directors, and fellow film friends to flock to your movie lot for work.

There will be a vast amount of staff helping to run your studio (like janitor, extras, scientists, and crew members), but the most important ones to focus on are the actors and directors. If they’re going to make great movies they need to be in great moods. You’ll need to keep them happy with high salaries, spiffy trailers, and of course, recreation. As the game progresses and you make more money, you will have more chances to lavish and pamper your stars with gifts and various amenities like bars and spas. Of course, if all else fails, there’s always a makeover or if necessary, plastic surgery! If your stars are happy they will act well and in the end, become more popular, creating more buzz for your studio. Just make sure that their ‘look’ matches the movie era you’re working with or their popularity will go in the toilet.

        NOTE: There are a few hints for dealing with and training your actors. It’s important that you socialize them with other actors (especially if you are about to film a Romantic script), as a good relationship between actors can increase a movie’s quality. Also, make note that they all need down time to relax and recoup after filming. Don’t overwork your actors!

At the beginning of the game, scripts will simply show up on your studio doorstep, so to speak (in a variety of film genres). After the first couple scripts, you will need to build a Scriptwriting office and hire some scriptwriters. Once a script is written, it will move to the Casting Office, where you will assign a director and one or more actors (if needed) to the film. Once a film has its crew, and the actors have learned their lines, the production will begin. When the film shooting is done, the movie will move into post-production where it receives, if necessary, the sound effects, subtitles, music, etc. From there you move the film into release and it’s open to the public. The game will tell you upon release how much money your film brought in for the studio and how well it did with audiences and critics. Don’t take what the critics say to personally…after all…it’s just a game right?

        NOTE: You are able to view all movies that you make, so it can be fun to see the quality of films your studio is inflicting on the general public. The game has other features you can explore further on your own, including the ability to share your films online with other gamers. You’ll also find that occasionally awards ceremonies are held and you have the chance to earn a little prestigious honor for your studio.

Overall the The Movies is one of the best simulation games out there in my humble opinion. I may be biased seeing as how I love films and anything to do with how they’re made. Although at times I found the pop-up hints to be a bit annoying, they did come in handy on more than one occasion. It takes a while to get used to how the game runs and what to do when. Its important to remember that the point of the game is to make your studio the best out there, and you need to do whatever it takes to get it to that point. One of my favorite features of the game is the ability to zoom in on your studio lot to watch your actors and crew move about. The graphics are impeccable (thought make note of the PC requirements for the game for optimal viewing pleasure) and it won’t take long to realize why it’s so easy to get wrapped up in game play for hours.

I had a blast playing The Movies and am seriously looking forward to a second go around with the game. Trust me when I say that, like the addiction of The Sims, this interactive game will have you engaged for hours on end. You’ll have fun playing around with your actors fashion and look…just be warned that the game mixes some of the facial alterations for men and women in together, so watch that you don’t give one of your female actors a little bit of unwanted facial hair (unless that’s the look you’re goin’ for!).

So, in conclusion, have fun, create some films stars, boss people around and most importantly, make "The Movies” that people will pay to see!

Review ID Number: 639
  Product Details
Review Date: 2005-12-01
Reviewer: Kristin Sardy
Rating: 10 out of 10
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