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Do you ever find that a brilliant film leaves a gap behind and you’re left wanting more? Video game adaptations should fill that hole but unfortunately they aren’t always what you’re looking for. Often the video game following the movie doesn’t live up to its silver screen counterpart. After all, what is seen as the worst video game ever made was in fact, a movie tie in game.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 was initially believed to become a very successful game, achieving high sales figures due to the connection with the film when it was released in December. But the E.T video game was a commercial failure with very few units sold. Why did it do so badly?
Initially planned to be an innovative companion to the movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial tasked players with moving the titular protagonist from a top down perspective through a variety of levels in order to locate pieces of a phone. Funnily enough, the objective of the game is to phone home.
Set back by poor controls and sub par graphics of the time, E.T. just didn’t sell as expected. Many believe it was a contributing factor to the video game industry crash in 1983, where there was a surplus in video game cartridges and consoles, the market was saturated. The unsold copies of E.T. are rumoured to be buried in New Mexico, as Atari had nowhere to store the cartridges.
Edit: The copies of E.T. have been found in Alamogordo, New Mexico after a recent excavation according to video game website, Kotaku.
Clearly, this didn’t set the bar high for video games that are tied in with movie releases. Since then, many of the games that have centered on recently released movies and typically, haven’t done all that great. Catwoman on the PlayStation 2 for instance, was atrocious, marred with clunky animations and god awful game mechanics. In the game, the character model barely resembled the lovely Halle Berry.
Movie tie in games have a (often true) reputation that they are rushed in order to coincide with the release of the movie. The big wigs tend to see them as cash grabs, something they can make some quick, easy money from, regardless of the quality.
However, not all video games that are tied with movie releases are bad. There are a few that are generally fairly entertaining and worth a mention. Spiderman 2 for the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox coincided with the release of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 2 movie. The game allowed players complete freedom of exploration of New York City, with really well-crafted web swinging mechanics. Spiderman 2 the video game showed us that it’s certainly possible that movie video games can be done right, if care and attention is applied.
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Whilst you’re more than welcome to pick up a movie tie in video game, I recommended to make sure that you don’t go head first into your purchase and do your research beforehand! Check reviews from video game websites and others who have played the game. You don’t want to be spending your hard earned money on another game like E.T.