Quotes / The Problem with Licensed Games

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"You buy them, though, don't you? Nobody's making you, nobody's standing there with a gun at your head, but you still flock down to the shops and fork out money for the latest dull-witted Stallone action platformer (except it doesn't have Stallone in it, because that costs extra, and why bother when the dumb saps will buy a box of dismembered dog's organs as long as it's got the film poster on the box?) as soon as you see the nice pretty pictures on the nice glossy advert."
Stuart Campbell, Amiga Power, "Ready For Your Close-Up"

"Game publishers seem to think that having a recognizable brand name will hypnotize players into ignoring bad graphics or nonexistent gameplay. History has repeatedly proven them wrong... Part of the problem is that every dollar spent on acquiring the license is money not put into making a fun game."
"Richard Del Medio" (pseudonym of Blues Brothers 2000 developer Jared Baierschmidt), Electronic Gaming Monthly, "How Bad Games Get Made"

    Web Animation 

"Hey, comic books, why don't you stop hopping into that big cold film industry bed and come snuggle up by the fire with games on more permanent basis? You know all he can offer is Green Lanterns and Catwomans and he's just gonna waft you out like a dutch oven the moment you stop making money.

We'll never ask you to change for us! The Arkham games will let you have all the dumb villains you can come up with!

Aw, don't be like that, baby,
Superman 64 was YEARS ago!"

    Web Original 

"The studios want them to be commercials, the game designers haven't seen the movie yet and the only people who buy them are confused grandparents late for a birthday party."

"Movies have always been a questionable source for video game adaptations, partly because they have plots and stories, and partly because people in movies don't jump around a lot or pick up power-ups very often."
Josh "Livestock" Boruff, Something Awful

"To be frank, most games based on films tend to have the same effect on me as being stuck behind a really slow driver who’s either asleep at the wheel or possibly deceased."

"A movie can be action packed, but not in a similar way that works in a video game. The movie Jaws is suspenseful and ends with a literal bang, but most of it deals with character interaction, mostly in speech, or watching a slow buildup to a swimmer's death. Ergo why the video game takes on it have you instead swimming and harpooning fish or playing as the shark yourself."

"People loved Wayne's World. They loved the skit, they loved the movie, so they should have loved the game, right? No. We were tools enough to jerk our pelvises at nearby women and scream, "Schwing!" for a couple years, but weren't tools enough to buy this."

"Before Fred Durst's sex tape, X-Men on the Nintendo was the most terrible thing you could do to your TV. And like Fred Durst's sex tape, it starred undersized, underpowered creatures no one could properly control, and only the worst possible people completed it. "

"The movie Waterworld lost so many millions of dollars that it would have been cheaper and less embarrassing if Kevin Costner spent $110,000,000 hiring crowds of people to watch him cry during sex. While he was filming Waterworld, MC Hammer was holding Oakland money eating contests that were more fiscally responsible — and more watchable. The movie was made into a game for the Super Nintendo; a game that's historically considered less fun than playing with a small pox blanket. It was also released for the Virtual Boy, but wasn't received as well there. In fact, 'Waterworld on Virtual Boy' is now how you tell a computer to fuck itself in machine language."

"I don’t think I can hold your suspense on whether this movie is bad. But the real question is how bad? I gauge the absolute worst on the level of the Rocky and Bullwinkle NES game which I actually played btw."

"It is as though they took two-level demos of five games deemed unworthy of further development, reskinned them to include Marvel characters, and released them as an omnibus. The connections between levels and the five playable superheroes are often tenuous at best. Cyclops is randomly thrown in a mine-cart level. Storm is trapped underwater, seemingly mainly so nobody would have to figure out how to get good controls for a flying character."
Dr. El Sandifer on Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, "You're On The Global Frequency"

Chris: It’s worth noting that there was a video game made of this movie, which I only know because a 'friend’ of mine threatened to give it to me for my birthday. Do you think anyone actually played that game?
David: The actual first two paragraphs of the walkthrough:

"Why are you playing this game? If you have already spent your hard-earned money on the game and insist on beating it, fine, this walkthrough is for you. Otherwise, cease and desist now and go find another game. You know, one that might actually be fun. Catwoman, the game, is worse than Catwoman, the movie."
— Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Catwoman

"After all, what is Holmes' hallmark? An eye always open for details, a strong grasp of scientific matters and a mind able to piece seemingly unrelated clues together. Put that into a game, and it translates as: pixel hunting, obscure knowledge and leaps of logic — not exactly an engaging prospect."
Johann Walter, Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel review on Adventuregamers

"While bad movies often make bad games, it's when a great movie spawns an interactive atrocity when things hit rock bottom."
Gametrailers, Top Ten Worst Movie Games

"Presumably Sega took a look at the Famicom catalog and note that games based on cartoons were supposed to be slapdash, generic affairs."
Doctor Sparkle, Chrontendo, on Zillion II: The Tri Formation

"They don’t make games like this very often anymore, but there’s a good reason for that. Because people wised up about buying licensed games when they were full retail titles. Let’s hope they’re still smart enough to do it when they’re $10."
Ben Jones of PSNStores.com, on R.I.P.D.: The Video Game

"Making games was an experimental process in 1989, even more so than today, when so many established formulas have proven successful. Couple that creative spirit with antiquated tech like the then 6-year-old Famicom, and developers had to be imaginative in how they brought movies to life as games. “Imaginative” is putting it gently, in fact. They had to get weird."

    Web Video 

Somewhere in a distant land
Beneath a thousand tons of sand
It lay dormant, undisturbed
In decade-spanning slumber
Its sole composing parts
Were Atari plastic carts
Of staggeringly large and intimidating number
It recalled a time unclear
Before it had been buried here:
A time of flashing lights and noise
And wonderful excitement
It had been made to entertain
But in practice had caused only pain
And so was exiled to this pit
With nary an indictment.

"You know a game's gonna be something special when it's got 'The Video Game'' somewhere in its title."

"What's he catching hearts for? I suppose it's like in the movie where Lorraine has a crush on Marty. Why isn't he avoiding the hearts then? Oh, I see. I guess he's catching them in a book or something. It's the most literal interpretation of a movie. "It's about time, so let's have clocks! It's about romance, let's have hearts!" Was this game designed by a human being?"

"I understand that back then, if it had a face, they made a frickin' game out of it, but really? Home Improvement: THE GAME? I mean, for shit's sake, have some restraint! That's about as good an idea as making a FPS out of Sister, Sister."

Spoony: Just like O.J., when you're wanted for murder, "Everybody Runs". So that's exactly what I do; beat up a few guys along the way and run for the front door—but door's locked.
Anderton: I've got an override card upstairs in the Ready Room.
Spoony: (sputtering) The alarm goes off, the guy locks down the briefing room so you can escape out the front door, which is locked. And the key...is in THE BRIEFING ROOM, kiss my ass!!

"Ocean truly realized how lucrative these licenses could be, and started buying up everything they could get their grubby little mitts on... The games weren't bad, but people quickly grew tired of them because they were damn near identical... Basically, Ocean's games started to feel as if they were coming off an assembly line, and they also ended up making games that were just flat-out total shit... Although they still produced some cracking arcade conversions and original titles around this time, the licensed games are largely what most people remember about them anyhow, because they continued to pump them out to the bitter end of the 8-bit machines and beyond, by which time their once pristine reputation had taken a hell of a beating."
Kimble Justice on Ocean Software, "The A-Z of Licensed Games: Navy Seals"

    Real Life 

"The game had a completely fixed deadline, there was no possibility of extension and communications with the American lawyer took ages (I think everything got proposed to either Arnie himself or to some sort of image consultant... either way a simple question like 'can he punch' took a long time to get answered)"
Pete Baron, lead developer for Last Action Hero

ProtonJon: Where did the idea of Superman going into a virtual world to save his friends come from?
Eric Caen (developer): Political reasons, as the licensor refused to let Superman kick “real” people…
Jon: Why was the decision made to limit the use of Superman’s powers in the game when that is one of the primary draws of the character?
Eric: Again, it wasn’t our decision
Jon: What took up the most development time?
Eric: Politics!!! Approval process! ...I am not allowed to detail what we had to remove, but it was a lot.
Superman 64 interview (archived by John Szczepaniak)