The Definition of a Full Motion Video Game, Prior to the Kinect
February 23, 2011 7:42 PM   Subscribe

In the early to mid 90s there was a trend in video games to use newfound CD processing capabilities to make interactive movies. These were called Full Motion Video Games (wiki), and they are cataloged by the site FMV World. In addition to a blog, it also has writings about FMV games, systems that play the games, some recorded play-throughs, and a list of games from 1991 to present.

To round out the thread, here are a few playthroughs of games mentioned:

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Playthrough and Description

Sewer Shark: Playthrough and Description

Night Trap: Playthrough and Description

The X-Files Game: Playthrough and Description

If you'd like to try find others on YouTube a good search term is "Let's Play" followed by the game's title.
posted by codacorolla (23 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Essential viewing.
posted by tremspeed at 7:52 PM on February 23, 2011

Oh man, I grew up on these. Wing Commander. The 7th Guest. Privateer 2.

Privateer 2 might have been my favourite game of all time.
posted by geodave at 7:53 PM on February 23, 2011

posted by geodave at 7:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Remember Hell? With Dennis Hopper?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:01 PM on February 23, 2011

Wing Commander was emphatically not an FMV game. Fun fact: in Wing Commander III and IV, Colonel Blair (portrayed by Mark Hamill) was so named because in Wing Commander I and II, though you could name him anything you wanted, he had blue hair.

posted by lumensimus at 8:03 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well I mean Wing Commander 4, which certainly was. It had a 12 million dollar budget!
posted by geodave at 8:05 PM on February 23, 2011

I do remember Hell. I feel like macs got a big share of these games, I guess more Mac owners had CD drives in the mid-90s?
posted by tremspeed at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2011

Also some of the games on the list are not FMV per se, as they are animated, like Time Gal and Road Avenger. By that logic though, there's a massive omission: Dragons Lair.
posted by tremspeed at 8:10 PM on February 23, 2011

Whoops, it's on there- but it should be listed earlier, as it did come out in the early 80s.
posted by tremspeed at 8:11 PM on February 23, 2011

I spent way too much of my childhood (and my parents money) playing Dragon's Lair in the video arcades. But I still remember the amazement (and queues) it engendered - it was such a contrast to the other video games like Donkey Kong or Defender.

Now I've got a copy on my iPhone.

*sighs nostalgically*
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 8:23 PM on February 23, 2011

I'm not sure if it's really a Full Motion Game (or even really a game), but I still have my CD-ROM of The Madness Of Roland. One of the more haunting computer experiences I've ever had.
posted by hippybear at 9:00 PM on February 23, 2011

I played Phantasmagoria. It was disturbingly awesome, for 1995.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:01 PM on February 23, 2011

Oh my god the Sherlock game.

I played this, and in one of the cases I got tripped up on Anthony Uruburu. I couldn't go visit him because me and my friend couldn't understand the last name from the accents of the actors. We wasted so much time replaying the entire scene trying to figure out what the hell they were saying when they said "Mister Uruburu" which was like 5 minutes into it.

Fuck FMV, fuck Sherlock Holmes!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:03 PM on February 23, 2011

Man, I remember having quite the crush on Tia Carrera after playing The Daedalus Encounter.
posted by Mr Mister at 10:39 PM on February 23, 2011

ha, I just found my unplayed copy of the X-Files the other day and idly woindered what it would take to get it running.
posted by mwhybark at 11:44 PM on February 23, 2011

Don't forget about the LaserActive, an LD player with Sega Genesis and Turbographix 16 expansion modules. And tremspeed hit on one of the biggest exceptions from the list: Dragons Lair, the original LaserDisc-based game.

The RDI Halcyon was another LaserDisc-based system that came before the LaserActive. It sounded unwieldy and expensive, and only two games were made for it.

So, analog FMV, if such a thing isn't blatantly redundant.

I still hold a grudge against FMV for more or less killing the Sega CD. It was just so... awful. And it distracted from the system's potential. So instead of getting more games like Sonic CD and Shining Forces CD, we got Ground Zero Texas. Thanks, guys.
posted by gc at 11:45 PM on February 23, 2011

Also, I had (have) and completed a kind of hybrid FMV game called "Starfleet Academy" which mixed a variety of rendered gameplay with branching FMV scenes. The gaming content was intitially, you know, simulator missions in the Academy, and the FMV content was your character's progress through the Academy-related events.
posted by mwhybark at 11:52 PM on February 23, 2011

I seem to remember this genre of gaming getting a bad rap at the time, but I absolutely loved Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within when I was 16, almost as much as I loved the original Gabriel Knight. It's really too bad that old-school adventure games have mostly died out since then, but that's another FPP for another day, I suppose.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 4:39 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

This brings back terrible memories, thanks. I was programming PC games at the time, and there was this arms race where if you didn't have FMV in your cut scenes your game just wasn't regarded as cutting-edge. Halfway through our development cycle it was decided that we needed to add FMV to our game (Terra Nova), and it probably doubled our budget, was a giant pain in the ass, and resulted in some pretty embarrassing cut scenes. I can laugh now...
posted by dfan at 6:56 AM on February 24, 2011

Cripes! Why can't I skip past this FPP? There's no skip!!!

posted by Eideteker at 7:41 AM on February 24, 2011

Dr. Eigenvariable: "Gabriel Knight"

I love that Gabriel Knight 3, which went 3d, didn't use the actors from 2 for voice talent. Instead we had Mark Hamil doing his best Louisiana accent. :)
posted by charred husk at 7:55 AM on February 24, 2011

Well Tim Curry and Mark Hamil were in Gabriel Knight 1. They switched actors for the FMV GK2 because they looked nothing like their characters. GK3 was a return to the original (and most would claim better) actors.

Also, all the Tex Murphy games, several of which are FMV are available for download from GOG. You just missed their 60% off sale of them, though. (That's when I bought them!)

I love the Sherlock Holmes game, but it was HARD. I wish I knew what had happened to my copy of it because I would love to try it now.
posted by threeturtles at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2011

Don't forget Frankenstein: Through The Eyes of the Monster, with an FMV Tim Curry (something of a fixture in these during the '90s, it would seem.) superimposed into a Myst-like CGI environment as Doctor Frankenfurterstein.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:06 PM on February 24, 2011

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