THE MOVIES: Still Great A Decade On

The premise of LionHead's The Movies is simple enough to fit into one quick and simple sentence ("Take charge of your own Hollywood Studio; Build the sets, Hire the screenwriters, Cast the stars and Shoot the next potential blockbuster movie!") but advanced and different enough to surpass most of the management and tycoon games out on the market today.

The Movies is basically similar to The Sims in the way that you're managing people and their baggage (Mood, Temperament, etc.), but instead of controlling their every move in a house and constantly burning beds or couches with a fireplace (Come on, we've all done it!), you're letting them loose in a studio full of Sets, and Production Buildings that you've skillfully spent the last half hour creating. "Them" being your staff (Actors, Builders, Crew, Directors, Extras, Janitors, Research & Development Monkies and Screenwriters) instead of Sims obsessed with creating another bowl of Mac & Cheese and fixing the stove used to create the endless bowls of Mac & Cheese. Although, what was probably best appreciated was the Custom Movie Creator which allowed you to do basically what Source Filmmaker can now but much in much more awesome detail but simpler too, there was a period of time when loads of people were making machinima in it and releasing it on YouTube. 

The Movies was Lionhead Studios' (primarily famous for the Fable Franchise) last game before being bought by Microsoft in 2006, with only one (Yes, ONE!) expansion pack titled "Stunts & Effects" coming months after in July '06, which included some extra outfits, sets and stuntmen. It's possible that Microsoft didn't see it as a big hit, despite it being well-received and there being outcry from fans for more expansion packs or some form of a sequel in the years that followed.

Even the greatest games (Especially 3D Games released in the first half of the previous decade) do develop flaws or problems in later years, though. The 3D models don't look the best anymore, the game suffers sometimes game-breaking bugs such as player models sometimes entirely turning black or a game crash with an error message mainly due to it's use of DirectX-9 and a custom-made engine and even more game-breakingly the game uses SafeDisc or SecuROM CD-Protection which has been entirely blocked since recent Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 Updates which means an unplayable game due to the requirement of a CD in-drive, without using a modified game executable.

Even with all the flaws, I'd suggest picking up a copy of The Movies from a bargain bin, or more successfully from somewhere like Amazon or eBay, with or without Stunts & Effects. My belief though, and the reason for this article, is that with the increases in technology and graphics that have occurred over the past decade (and Microsoft's closure of LionHead earlier this year), it seems like the right time for a sequel just as great as the original. So, I'm creating a Call to Action: EA / Maxis (because of their involvement on The Sims) or any other Big-Name Developer interested, please buy the rights to The Movies from Microsoft and do something with it.

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