If someone told me that there was a madman out there who was threatening to take equal parts The Sims and Sim City and throw them in a Hollywood blender I wouldn’t have cared at all. However, say that the man is Peter Molyneux of Black & White and suddenly I might give a damn. That his latest highly imaginative effort has a classy title, The Movies, is icing on the cool cake of creativity.
Going into The Movies I wasn’t sure that real-time strategy base building (and research) was going to mix well with Sims-styled "Sally loves Bob, but Bob lusts for booze" interpersonal relationship management. Now I can’t imagine a videogame that takes on Hollywood that wouldn’t mix tycoon style studio building with the joy of managing intoxicated stars and their entourages.
Sadly, one doesn’t become the Donald Trump of movie studios on their first day on the job. Instead you’re just another start up with big dreams and a dusty lot to work with. I tip my hat to the developers, Lionhead Studios, for how quick and smooth getting into The Movies can be for players. A calm soothing voice guides you through the act of setting up a casting office, building a set, and even instructs you to pick up your first nobody and make them into an actor.
I actually chuckled when I realized that in this game you literally pick up nobodies with the cursor and carry them around in a god sized hand. I wouldn’t have minded if you could toss people around Black & White-styled to relieve stress. Creating a star is as easy as dropping a ‘nobody’ into a colored square. The same goes for creating crew members, directors, janitors, and builders. From here things do get a little more complicated.
Let’s say you build a bar on your lot for your hard working employees to relax at; sounds nice on paper right? Well, slowly the more easily stressed actors and directors will develop an addiction to the bottle. This results in you spending more and more time hunting them down, clicking to pick them up, and dragging them back to the set so a movie can be finished before the end or the virtual decade.