Graev Rant: What happened to licensed games?

aladdin snesA long time ago licensed games used to be pretty bad, like with E.T. on Atari. Maybe some were good, but I don’t really care because I was either not alive or just barely sentient at the time. Later on there was a golden age of licensed games on systems like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Disney games were almost always great and stuff like Aladdin, The Lion King, and various Micky/Donald games were just awesome. Ninja Turtle games like Turtles in Time and Hyperstone Heist were the shiz. There were Batman: The Animated Series games and even a few decent ones based off of the movies. I think a lot of these games were made by companies like Capcom and Konami which seemed to print gold with every game. Maybe that has something to do with it or maybe I just have a very poor and selective memory of older games.

There were also several great licensed games on later consoles like the N64 and PSX. The Spider-Man games were incredible. Unfortunately I think I just invalidated these while recalling Superman 64. But I’m sure you get the point here. There used to be a lot of quality licensed games. From there it got so much worse so fast to the point where people just wrote off any game based on a movie, tv show, comic, or book. Every now and then there was an anomaly like Chronicles of Riddick and Spider-Man 2 but by and large it was mostly god-awful crap that got churned out. I think this kind of game-mill mentality really hurt Disney’s game image but fortunately that seems to be getting turned around with the release of stuff like Disney Infinity.

I just used to really enjoy the idea of “getting the game after you saw the movie,” if you get my meaning. It’s kind of like the next evolution of buying all of the action figures after seeing a movie, which I imagine probably ends up being a lot more expensive. Nowadays new movies come out and I always keep an eye out for video game tie-ins with the hope that a gem might slip through the crack. Unfortunately they just don’t seem to make too many console licensed games these days. Which may be a good thing depending on your perspective.

But to answer my own question… What Happened To Licensed Games?

Oh, they’re all on phones and tablets. Fantastic.

  • TMNT on NES was bad. I don’t think you can blanket statement licensed games. Some are good, some are bad. Most of the one’s I have played are bad, but then again most video games are bad. From my experience though, it seems that licensed games just try to make a fast buck off a movie or existing franchise.

    If we look at the reverse phenomena, are movies, comics, etc. based on video games of a better quality?

  • Yeah not all of them can be great but there sure used to be quite a few really good ones back in the SNES/Genesis days. Seems like a lot more good ones when you compare it to the last decade.

    And I liked TMNT NES… =\

    Edit: Seriously, Keen? “The Shiz?” If you’re going to edit profanity out of my posts then at least try not to make me look like an idiot. -_-

  • I always assumed it was tough for a developer to create the game while on the movie’s release date schedule. If the game was not that good or not ready yet, they had to push it out anyway.

    I loved Spiderman 2 and I am still looking for a game like that.

  • @Topauz Yes that seems to happen a lot which is unfortunate. I remember the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie game being really great. Supposedly a Wolverine game had already been in the works for a bit and when the movie came about they had to shoehorn it into that plot. You can really feel the rush job they had to do when some parts of the game just don’t hold up at all when compared to others. Still a fantastic title but it is depressing to think about what could have been.

    On the other issue, I’m a huge fan of Spider-Man games and so far none of them have held up as well when compared to SM2. The only ones that come close are Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Those are the last good open-world Spider-Man games. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was really awesome but that one was more akin to older titles that had linear level layouts.

    The biggest issue is that nobody can seem to get the web-swinging right since SM2.