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30 Genres of Christmas
Full-Motion Video
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 29, 2009   |   Episode 4 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!



Hey Don Bluth, where is that big screen Dragon's Lair movie we've been waiting for?
How Do You Know You Are Playing a Full-Motion Video Game? Have you ever played a game and wondered if you were actually "playing" it? You sit there staring at the TV screen and wait for something to do, but there's very little for you to do. Maybe you have to hit a button at the right time or change cameras to surveil a new room in the house? If any of this sounds familiar, then you've played a Full-Motion Video game. Think of it as a TV show you can kind of sort of interact with.

Patron Saint: Television, movies, cartoons and stage plays.

Typical Story: Something horrific is going to go down tonight and only you can stop it. There are a bunch of people in that building that are going to die and it's your job to make sure that doesn't happen. But you

I would much rather play with the empty Night Trap box than the actual game that came in it!
can put down your gun and running shoes, because you're going to be doing it from the luxury of this surveillance van. Instead of running and gunning, you're going to be switching channels and trapping anything that looks suspicious. Get your butt pad and thermos ready, because we're about to have the world's dullest TV party!

Is Full-Motion Video Really a Genre? What's this, you think I'm just making genres up? Well, I'm not. For many, the term "full-motion video" has nothing to do with a specific genre. These days we see interactive cinemas and real life actors in all sorts of different games. But 15 years ago the term meant something completely different. Games like Night Trap and Dragon's Lair revolutionized the industry by introducing graphics and animation unlike anything that came before it. However, these stunning visuals came at a price - gameplay. Instead

Is Heavy Rain the Full-Motion Video game of the 21st century?
of controlling a character, you were pushing buttons on cue or switching various cameras. This style of game is unique to the full-motion video visual style, and as far as I'm concerned created a genre that we don't see much of these days.

Not a Full-Motion Video Game: I don't care what the naysayers say, Metal Gear Solid 4 is NOT a Full-Motion Video game. Oh sure, you end up watching more than playing, but at least you get to control a character from time to time. Xenosaga, another cinema-intensive game, is also not a Full-Motion Video game. Just because the first ten hours are video doesn't mean that it's in the same league as Phantasmagoria.

Then vs. Now? For all intents and purposes, the Full-Motion Video genre is dead and buried. But just because we aren't playing Night Trap 5 or Dragon's Lair XIII, that doesn't mean that we're free from this god-awful sub-genre. Games like God of War and Resident Evil 5 feature quick time events, moments in a game where you are told to push a specific button or suffer the consequences. What's more, a game like Sony's upcoming Heavy Rain blurs the line between what is video and what is interactive. Full-Motion Video games were trash 15 years ago and if they were around today they would continue to be reviled by gamers and critics the world over.
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