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The Movies is a PC game in which you run a movie studio starting back in the early 1900’s and working up to present day. It plays sort of like The Sims, but it much more fun and has just as many options. Fans of strategy simulators will surely enjoy this game, as well as movie fans who may have dreamed about how they’d run the show. This is the type of game that will keep you busy for many hours and has a high replay value.
The game starts out on a big open lot where you have a little bit of money and a few people waiting outside for jobs. You first need to construct a few buildings, such as a main office for the studio, and of course a movie set. You then hire some actors, a director, writers, and so on. Each person has a big part to play in the way the studio works, and you can train them as time goes on. If you become successful, you’ll have more money to build bigger sets and produce more films. Your job is to run a profitable studio, create lots of hit films, and even win some major awards. How you perform this job is what the game is all about, as you have to manage every aspect of the studio from the image of your biggest stars all the way down to the janitorial staff.
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Managing your actors can be a lot of fun, but also a little bothersome. Like real life actors, some of them can turn into divas and require a lot of extra attention. The main thing you need to do at the beginning is to train them well and get them set in certain genres. If you think about Hollywood and the way many actors work, a large number of the more popular ones have certain genres that they fit into better than others. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger and action movies. Sometimes they try to branch off into comedies and you get stuff like Jingle All the Way. In this game, you can train your actors to be popular in more than one genre, but you have to be careful not to spread their skills too thin or you’ll get an actor or actress who can’t carry a movie so well, though they do work better for supporting roles. On top of that, actors get cranky if they don’t get to play the lead once in a while. It’s kind of complicated, but not hard to figure out how things work as you play the game.
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Make a Movie
The process of making the movie is pretty straightforward. First, you need to get a screenwriter to prepare a script, and you can choose the genre you wish to explore. The game also has time periods when certain genres are the big sellers, so you’ll need to pay attention. After the script is ready, it is sent to the production office where you get to choose a director and the actors. This is where you need to have the cast and crew who are good at the genre of the story. Once everything is ready to go, you can watch them all go over to the appropriate set or sets and make the movie. When it is finished, you can actually watch the movie they’ve made.
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Watch Your Movies
Before you get all excited about making movies within a game, don’t think the movies you make are all that special. You’re mostly just watching a set of pre-programmed routines on different backgrounds, but there is a good bit of variance in how things work. Being able to watch the finished movie is a nice touch for the game, but it doesn’t really do much for how well your studio is run. Just be careful how you cast your roles, because I accidentally put two actresses into a romance movie and ended up making a lesbian Western. The game didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that my movie had two female leads, but I did get a few bonus points for originality.
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Graphics and Sound
This isn’t the type of game to really push computer graphic cards, so don’t expect a whole lot of fancy bells and whistles. It still looks pretty good for being a couple of years old, and you can zoom way in or out of the sets and people. A lot of detail was put into building the sets and the scenery around the studio, so it is all easy on the eyes. The sound is also decent with the ambient effects that play through the studio lot, and there’s lots of good music that fits the time periods in the game.
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I was never a big fan of The Sims because I found it boring. That being said, I think this game takes a lot of the concepts developed in The Sims and makes for a much more entertaining strategy game where you manage people as well as resources. If you are into movies and like resource management type games that put you in full control, I think you will definitely enjoy playing a studio boss in The Movies.