I lived in a whole different universe than most kids. My favorite thing was video games, and I was passionate about Sega especially. Using my lawnmower money to buy a Sega CD was my defining moment.
CDs helped lead to a new universe. No longer would games be created by computer pixels. Instead, we now had the option of full-motion video (FMV).
Game companies could use the massive storage of CDs to allow video to be saved. For example, my Sega CD came with Sewer Shark, a game where you piloted a ship and shot rats off the walls of a sewer.
While Sewer Shark grabbed my attention, the game that opened my mind the furthest was Night Trap.
You played the role of a security team member who had to protect a group of young women from being attacked by a family of vampires. Ok, the plot didn’t really matter. You had to switch between multiple security cameras in real-time and set off traps. It was like interactive channel surfing. I had been practicing my whole young life for this moment.
You got to watch actual people have their actions changed based on the buttons you pressed. Sure there was some Dragon’s Lair lag and frustration, but it was a whole different gaming experience. I wouldn’t even say the game was good at the time, but it gave me hope. I was expecting a flood of FMV games to come into the market.
I was wrong.
Where Has All the FMV Gone?
There are hardly any full-motion video games around anymore. But after 1998, there was a sea of nothing. So instead, board games are thriving, people are hooked on mobile games, and you can buy more games during Steam sales than you’ll ever play in ten lifetimes.
2015 brought, Her Story and 2017 had Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker. These studios have produced follow-ups, but they still feel more like Netflix choose-your-own-adventure movies rather than true video games.
Video games production seems only to have two levers now. Ads and Graphics. Game frameworks have been created to allow developers to make games faster and appeal to a broader audience. The level of effort necessary no longer matches the consumer demand.
Make a Full-Motion Video game based on time travel.
To be continued.