Full motion video (FMV) has allowed video games to incorporate realistic graphics into their stories almost since its inception. Pre-recorded video allowed real humans to appear on LaserDisc arcade games in the 1980s, but such games were prohibitively expensive to make for home systems and difficult to fit onto a floppy disk. Most games relied on sprites and models to visualize their action, and as graphics improved there was little need for FMV. However, some games leaned towards the appearance of actual human actors in their fictional environments, sometimes to increase verisimilitude and other times to increase gimmick.
FMV has never really gone away, and the recently released Immortality, from veteran designer Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid Productions, shows how games can take advantage of these pre-recorded videos to increase immersion and bring their stories to life. Here are five games for gamers who loved Immortality and are looking for their next FMV title or just want to see what’s possible with the genre.
Solve a murder with your story
2015’s Her Story was Sam Barlow’s first foray into film-editing video games. It introduces players to an old-school computer interface, complete with a trash can, readme files, and a simple version of reverse. However, the mainstay of this computer within a computer is a database of images from police interrogations. Players must search the database for keywords to uncover full interviews and piece together the crime.
The similarities between His story Y Immortality they’re immediate: short movie clips of real people (the FMV portion of the game) presented out of order, ghostly footage, and even dropping the player into the game with little direction. While the story is not as immersive as Immortality‘s, the gameplay remains interesting and the focus on trusting the player to develop their own story makes His story worth playing
At Dead of Night offers terror and immersion
A popular horror game of 2020 developed and published by Baggy Cat Ltd., In the darkness of the night drops players into a creepy hotel and makes them run away from the murderous owner. As players run through the hotel and hide from the owner, they talk to ghosts to learn their haunted stories and chase them throughout the building. what are you doing In the darkness of the night just as immersive (and terrifying) is the first person point of view and the perfect combination of FMV with the interactive environment. It really feels like the evil owner is stalking players, and getting caught feels really dangerous. In the darkness of the night provides Immortality fans with a different vision of what FMV can bring to gaming: a different kind of horror and immersion.
Enjoy the Early FMV of Return to Zork
If the text adventure game Zork is often considered a standard and the origin of interactive fiction, the 1993 sequel return to zork helped bring that genre to the graphic world. return to zork is an adventure game in the truest sense, taking players into the fictional world of Zork and asking them to investigate the sinister power that seems to have taken over the land. Players must interact with occasionally goofy FMV characters to progress, collecting items and information to help them on their journey. return to zork it’s a showcase of early FMV that doesn’t feel entirely interactive but certainly brings the colorful characters of the fantasy world to life.
The 7th Guest Helped Make FMV Mainstream
The same year that return to zorkplayers also had the opportunity to wander through an FMV haunted mansion in the seventh guest, solving puzzles and learning what happened to the ghosts in the mansion. The game offers simple mechanics and puzzles that are not always integrated into the story, but was very popular at the time as one of the games (along with Myst) to speed up CD-ROM sales and the switch to the new format. What the seventh guest offers modern gamers a fun integration of FMV characters, played in an immersive environment with reduced opacity to increase creepiness. It’s an early example of FMV horror, setting the stage for a title like Immortality.
Simulacra brings FMV terror to your phone
However, modern FMV games are not limited to consoles and computers. 2017 phone game drills, from Kaigan Games, recreates the interface of a mobile phone belonging to a missing woman, Anna. Players chat with Anna’s friends via text messages and substitutes for Twitter and Tinder, uncovering some unpleasant relationships in her past in hopes of finding out what happened to her. They must also hack into their personal accounts, recovering passwords by searching other apps for important dates and names.
drills It ends up being a truly immersive and fun puzzle/text adventure, but every now and then, the phone crashes and hints of something far more horrific beneath the mystery begin to surface. drills will feel familiar to fans of Immortalityboth for allowing players to interact with images of a missing woman and for the creepiest secret behind the truth.