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?