The Movies Review

On the surface The Movies has the look of yet another tycoon game. Start with a pile of money, build a bunch of buildings, hire staff, make pile of money bigger, yadda, yadda, yadda. The Movies does start you off with a bankroll, an empty lot, and a list of buildings that you can create, but there’s more to the gameplay here than you find in your standard tycoon game. If you’ve ever lagged towards the back of the tour group while visiting Universal Studios then you know that most of what goes on in studio backlots is actually pretty boring and would not make for a very interesting game. The real magic in Hollywood is in the final product that you see on the screen and The Movies knows this quite well. The Movies’ magic also lies in its product – you can actually watch the movies your studio empire produces and even share them with others on the Internet. This is a pretty cool idea indeed, but is it a hit or a flop?

Your studio's backlot.
Let’s start at the beginning. You are given a patch of land, a nice pile of money, and the challenge of building a world class movie studio. This may seem like a daunting task at first, but the game does an excellent job of walking new players through the game’s basics and providing advice throughout the game as their studios continue to grow. Once you have the basic structures in place you’ll need to hire people into the three major areas needed to run a studio. First of all there is the talent, your directors, stars, extras, and writers. The next group is your crew, the people who run the cameras, prepare the sets, and such. The final group forms your labor pool of builders to create new structures and janitors to maintain your studio’s grounds. Once you hire your employees and talent, you’re ready to make your first film.

Movies always start with a script. At first you’ll receive unsolicited scripts literally dropped on your doorstep. They won’t be of the highest quality and you don’t have any control over their genre, but at least you’ve got something to shoot. To begin producing a movie, you need to drag the script to a special building that lets you know how many actors and extras are needed to film this movie. You can grab the talent you want to assign to these roles right off of your lot and drop them into the building and then pick a director and do the same. They’ll busy themselves rehearsing for a little while and when they’re ready you can move the film into production. Shooting takes places on sets you build on your lot, and you should make sure that you have the proper set for your new movie’s genre or the resulting film could suffer for it – the world’s just not ready for “Cowboys in Space”. While filming is taking place you can zoom in on the set and watch the movie being made. Yes, you can actually watch them filming the scenes that you’ll see in your movie and this is indeed pretty cool to watch. Once shooting wraps up, you can release your film, watch the final product in a private screening, and then watch the money come in. The film’s performance at the box office will depend on its quality, which in turn depends on a number of factors such as the script quality and the talent of your director and actors. In one final cool touch you can read critics’ reviews of your film upon release and see what they liked and what was panned.