A Unique Sim Experience

User Rating: 8.5 | The Movies PC
The Movies really packs a lot into one game. You start with an empty lot, and place your buildings, bathrooms, trailers, production buildings, etc. onto the lot provided. Space is limited, so you need to make good use of it, as you'll gain new movie sets and more buildings as time progresses. It's a bit like Tetris in some regards, as each set or building has a unique shape. You begin in the early 1900's and continue to make movies and build up your lot ranking until the game ends in 2005. You can also add decorations and plants to your lot to add to it's aesthetic ranking. I would like to have seen a little more information given in regards to the effects of these items. In many ways, the game expects you to figure out what certain things will do, and with all the variables it becomes a bit crazy.

You're also tasked with hiring actors, extras, directors and maintenance personnel. Each actor or director develops ability in different movie types: horror, action, romance, comedy. You must hire writers to develop scripts, or you can write them yourself. Unfortunately, the game has no way of judging your actual scriptwriting ability, so its quality rating is based upon things like length, the variety of sets used, and the novelty (level of usage) of your sets. Actors age, and must stay up with the times by getting makeovers, which are released as time progresses. They can also get facelifts and implants to improve their image.

After a few decades, additional buildings become available: you gain a laboratory for researching movie content and productions techniques, which can add to your movie's overall rating; a PR building, which can improve the public's awareness of your film; restaurants and bars to relieve the stress your stars acquire from working on their films.

The voice work on this was decent, with small radio clips inserted into the game flow dealing with events of the the times. Music was adequate but added nothing fantastic to the experience. Graphically the game was very good for its time. Most of the time I used wide angle view in order to manage the hectic pace, but it looks great when you zoom in to take a look at your actors and get a view of the lot from their perspective.

I had a difficult time getting my actors into the top rankings. I would liked to have seen actors "interact" a bit more on their own. Every aspect needs repetitive micromanagement. For instance, in order to place two actors at the same table together in the bar or restaurant, an inordinate amount of time needs to be spent dragging and dropping them near another actor to build up their relationship. By the time they build up significant relationship, they're usually about ready to retire, at which time you need to hire and train a new actor.

The best and worst aspect of this game was the amount of possibilities. It was fun to tackle the wide array of possibilities; on the other hand, there were so many possibilities that some were rather weak and not as developed as they could have been. Overall, an ambitious effort and a truly fun game to play. A play-through probably takes about 20 hours, which is a bit short for some, but I feel it was worth playing through at least once.