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The Movies puts the player in control of his own movie studio, which he must run from 1920 to the present day. Along the way, the player researches new technologies, such as sound, color and special effects. You hire actors, directors, writers and crew members, assemble sets and produce movies. As history progresses, new events change the movie going public's appetite for films: gangster movies in the 1930s, sci-fi films in the 1950s, etc. Making good movies allows you to make more movies, unlocks new sets and can even win you awards.
The real draw of The Movies is the powerful but intuitive Machinima tools. The player can create a custom script, drop actors into roles, and control their emotions and actions. When you're done shooting, you can drop the film into post-production, where you can edit the footage with a drag-and-drop interface similar to professional tools. You can add sound effects, music and dialogue (which the program lip-syncs). Then, you can export your movies to a WMV file and share it with the world.
Some criticisms of The Movies are that the simulation and tycoon elements never come together, that the simulation has too many responsibilities for the player, and that there aren't enough scenes and costumes to make varied movies. Recently, the online component has been dropped, and Lionhead will no longer be hosting movies on its Web site. Fortunately, there are plenty of fan sites where you can still upload movies, such as The Movies Underground, as well as YouTube.
There is also an Expansion Pack called Stunts and Effects, which adds new special effects, scenes, costumes and sets to use in your movies. The biggest reason to get it, though, is that it allows you to control the camera angles in your movie, which greatly adds to the variety of shots you can get in your film.
- The Alcoholic: Actors and directors have the annoying tendency to become this.
- Ambiguously Gay: William McDuff, the thespian-turned-radio announcer from the 1920s. He speaks in an effeminate, posh-sounding accent, gets excited about the most trivial of things, and says that a guy named Ralph is taking him out for a meal. He also openly resents Hollywood for causing the decline of theater.
- Buxom Is Better: And the bigger the chest of your actress, the bigger the payday... heck, you can force them to plastic surgery to get their jugs bigger. For profit.
- Command and Conquer Economy
- Dance Party Ending: If you let the computer AI generate the scripts for you when your writers are still inexperienced, you'd almost inevitably end up with a script with this.
- Game Mod: There's a fairly large and devoted modding community.
- Hollywood California: The setting of the game.
- Hollywood History: Literally, in this case. You move from The Roaring Twenties to Next Sunday AD.
- Politically-Correct History: Women and People of Color can have the same positions (and expect to be paid the same) as White Men despite this being historically incorrect until the Women's and Civil Rights Movements.
- Prima Donna Director: Your directors can turn into these if you aren't careful.
- It's Always Spring: Given the setting, perfectly justified.
- Machinima: The whole point of the game.
- Real Time with Pause: Only mildly useful, unfortunately. It doesn't allow picking anything up, so at best you can have a look at your actors' stats and maybe interact with your buildings. It would really have helped, given that game-time goes by so fast.
- Simulation Game: Most of the game is a business sim, but is also contains elements of the Raising Sim genre. You have to keep your actors and directors happy if you want to make them into big stars.
- Speaking Simlish: A kind of half-assed version that sounds like mumbling. Fortunately, you can turn it off.
- Which leads to Gameplay and Story Segregation, as your movie lot staff and cast speaks this simlish-like tongue, but the radio announcer and the award announcers, as well as the narrators, will always speak proper English (or a proper version of whatever language the copy of your game is localized to)
- Summer Blockbuster/Oscar Bait: In this case, they're one and the same. The most popular movies will win the most awards.
- Virtual Paper Doll: You'll have to keep your actor's fashions up to date.
- Wide Open Sandbox: There is a mode that lets you start in any era with an unlimited budget.
- You Fail Film School Forever: Scenes will be shot in a single take with no obvious camera movement (Justified as this is more of a technological limitation). They will also be shot in order--if you have two films going at the same time that use one scene, the film that gets there later will simply wait. This gets pretty annoying, as it means that you need to keep unused actors occupied.