First show to get one of these wins.

The most explosive entertainment medium of the last several years, which shows no sign of slowing down, is the home video game market.

We’ve come a long way since I played Asteroids on my Atari and Donkey Kong on my Colecovision.  There have been upteen game systems and a zillion and a half games since then, from Pong to Pitfall, from The Godfather to E.T.

But in the 30 years of the home video game market I can’t name a single video game based on a musical.  Can you?

It’s not surprising, I guess.  In addition to the monster brands that are usually made into games (i.e. James Bond), video games are still mostly played by young men, who aren’t exactly the target audience of the musical.

Still, if Universal expects Wicked to be one of their most profitable entertainment ventures, why isn’t a video game a part of that mix?  And why No Mamma Mia! game for all the women who play Nintendo Wii?  (You would be Sophie and your goal would be to find out who your real dad is and then get married?)

Forget the potential profit – think of the marketing value.  A good game will get a player in front of a monitor for hours, which means your characters, story, music, and message are getting continual exposure.  It’s the ultimate form of content based advertising.  You can’t tell me that if you were Val Jean, and after rescuing Marius from the barricade and confronting Javert in the sewers, you wouldn’t want to run out and see Les Miz again.

(That was our idea at Altar Boyz when we developed our own simple game – ‘Don’t Wreck The Van’.  I’ll post the link tomorrow).

I don’t expect the vid game industry to ever embrace us.  Video games, like top 40 music, is an area of pop culture that the theater just can’t find our way (back) into.

That’s a pretty disappointing fact.

Although, in some cases, that’s probably good.  Can you imagine what the Spring Awakening game would be like?

Comments
  • BG says:

    High School the Musical has a game for the Wii and Nintendo DS. It is almost a game for every movie they released. I think with the popularity of Guitar Hero you could release a Broadway Star game where you have to sing songs from several musicals battling your way to the starring role. The story has been written a thousand times now you just move it to a new media. I feel it wouldn’t sell millions of copies but it would trickle down to a few people who never knew they loved musicals.

  • Paul says:

    The Disney Animated Musicals “Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” all had action platform games based on the films before they hit the stage. The soundtrack incorporates the musical numbers. It’s a start. There’s also a terrible game based on the film of “The Wizard of Oz.” It wouldn’t be hard for a “Wicked” game to improve on it.
    The LA Times reported that Lloyd Webber is planning to make a karaoke style game structured as an audition for his musicals.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/andrew_lloyd_webber/

  • Will says:

    Here’s to the women who play Wii, everyone take note.
    Standing there devoted beside their TV, clutching a Wiimote.
    One must admit, they loved the Fit, so here’s to Ken’s idea—
    A Wicked game, then maybe Mame, and onto Mamma Mia.

  • Gil says:

    You mean you haven’t played as Jean Valjean, Javert, Cosette, Thenardier, Eponine, Marius, or Robotic Jean Valjean in “ARM JOE”, the inexplicably-named video game that based on Les Miserables?
    I am not making this up:
    http://www.lesmisgame.com/arm_joe.html
    It’s Street Fighter 2, but with Les Miserables The Musical characters, and it’s free.

  • Keven says:

    I agree with games like Sing Star and High School Musical sing along I think that it would work great for gaming consoles. And since a large part of the broadway theater goers are Asian tourists it would sell! I think that they should create a game like Broadway Star.

  • Richard says:

    What I can’t figure out is why there aren’t (more) slot machines in casinos based on musicals.

  • There have been video games made from some of Disney’s animated musicals, such as ALADDIN, HERCULES, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS, THE LITTLE MERMAID, and THE LION KING.

  • Troy says:

    There was also “The Rocky Horror Show” which had two lives as a computer…once for the ancient Commodore 64, then as an interactive game for PC.

  • Seems to me “Mamma Mia” ought to be a karaoke game as well. Perfect for the Wii. I know entirely too many people who would buy that, including some in my own house…

  • BG says:

    I stumbled upon this article.
    http://ping.fm/OJEht

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