The Hunger Games Becomes an Adventure Game

By on February 15, 2012

In an associated pairing of entertainment mediums, a new social media game will be released the same day The Hunger Games hits theaters. The game, like the film is based on the popular young adult book series by Suzanne Collins. It’s called The Hunger Games Adventures; Games-Game would have been silly; and will be launched on March 23 of this year with the movie.

It used to be Saturday morning cartoons, action figures and cereal.  Social media games are now the new ploy to capitalize on something that is popular right now.

Funtactix, an independent game developer is no stranger to movie tie-in games. Previously they’ve put out online games based on the animated movie Rango and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

This focus on creating games based on movies comes at a time when others in the industry are wary of touching that game genre.

Which doesn’t come to me as a surprise. Games based on movies have never been good, unless it’s sub-based on Lego. Then it’s cool. Yes, the children do make certain titles popular, but it’s only because parents buy these games for them, hoping it’ll shut them up or win them points with child services. My nephew for example will go absolutely nuts for anything based on the animation Cars. He’ll play a Cars game, but then he’ll drop it after five minutes in favor of angry birds. Anything beyond the age demographic of 6 – 12 is reaching for a developer hoping to make a movie based game.

THQ announced last month that it will no longer work on kids licensed games like Kung Fu Panda 2 or Up. Which makes sense as the initial market was for child fans of the movie back in 2008. It’s been 4 years since, so they might have upgraded to murder simulations and car jacking.

Two years ago, Take-Two Interactive Studios’ then-CEO and president Ben Feder declared to attendees that “Licensing content is dead.” according to Gamasutra. Well the same can be said about movies based on games. Take the Super Mario Bros. Movie of 1993 up to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time in 2010; How was Jake Gyllenhaal Persian?

Funtactix doesn’t think movie tie-ins are dead though. Sam Glassenberg, the CEO of Funtactix had this to say to Gamasutra about the problems with games based on films:

“The console-based film games business is rapidly disappearing. The game quality has fallen for years, and consumers have come to realize this, resulting in a collapse of the console-movie-games market.”

“The production cycle for a good console game has grown to two to three years, which is longer than the production window for a film… Hitting day-and-date on a quality game is a near impossibility.”

Glassenberg however points out that social game developers; say games for Facebook; can bring a Facebook title to market in months, instead of years. This makes it possible for those developers to put out; what is considered high-quality for social media; games at the same time with a movies debut.

Console games are at a distinct disadvantage due to product shipping, selling and review. Social media games on the other hand are instantly available online and free; so long as you don’t buy the credits to give you the needed advantage over others.

Game development is a tricky business overall and requires knowledge of trends, cost analysis, marketing and great workers. Then maybe a decent game on top of all that. I should know. I beat Dev Story, the 8-bit simulation where you manage your own game company and try to create a million-selling game.

About Leo Choy

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Leo Choy stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Leo can see and hear. And so, Leo finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.
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