5 Great Movie-Making Videogames

If given a chance, would you run your own film studio?

Admit it - you'd be drunk on the power and all too ready to start pumping out better pics than half the tosh you see down the local fleapit.

Movie-making games have been available for PCs and game consoles for a while now, so we thought we'd round up some of the best and see how much control they give you.

Will you be the next Spielberg? Or even the next Ron Meyer (he runs Universal, and his daughter's married to Tobey Maguire, in case you were wondering)...



1. The Movies

Play It On: Windows PC, Mac OSX

Gameplay: The Movies is one of the better business simulation games out there, and essentially allows you to control every aspect of running a major motion picture studio.

Kicking off during Hollywood's 1920s birth, you slowly build the physical studio, hire staff and start getting the pieces in place to actually make films.

You get the chance to write scripts - or choose from those already available - and pick talent, including directors and actors.

Choose wisely, though, since the thesping types can be moody, demanding and chaotic. Just like in real life, then.

And you can even output the finished films. For a while, the game had a dedicated website to let you publish in a specific forum, but it was shut down a couple of years ago.

If you're wanting to run the game on consoles, however, you might not want to hold your breath. Despite several assurances, it has yet to arrive on anything beyond personal computers.

Can You Expand Upon It?
Yes - one expansion pack has been released so far - Stunts And Effects, which brings CGI and better stunt teams to the table, along with the ability to create custom camera angles.

Next: The Sims 3

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2. The Sims 3

Play It On: Windows PC, Mac OSX, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android

Gameplay:
While it's not a dedicated movie-making title like some of the others on this list, the wildly popular Sims series has several advantages.

For one, it's the latest release of any we've looked at and therefore boasts impressive graphics and some nifty tech under the hood.

Your created Sim characters can now wander a much wider space without the crippling load times of other, previous releases.

And there's a lot more AI on board, which means they're more intelligent and can enjoy a much more realistic life.

So you can use the characters to create mini-movies of your own choosing, albeit ones restricted by the world they live in.

They'll still be better than the average Paul WS Anderson film.

Can You Expand Upon It?
Since it's new, this in itself an expansion, though given the huge popularity of the Sims series, we're sure there will be more packs on the way.

Next: You're In The Movies

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3. You're In The Movies

Play It On: Xbox 360

Gameplay: Using a camera and a green screen, You're In The Movies provides a series of mini games that allows players the chance to act in several short movies.

The concepts are ripped straight from some big blockbusters (though without the copyrighted elements that would require licensing fees!) and let you play-act in a variety of genres.

Ever wanted to be a superhero? A scream queen? A cop? You can do all of it and more, but be warned that the novelty can wear off fast.

And while there are plenty of genres and shorts to choose from, it's not quite as endlessly playable as the business simulator-type games, nor does it give you control over much besides your mates' mugging performances.

Still, you can always make your friends/family members into stars (or embarrass them for life) by sticking the results on YouTube...

Can You Expand Upon It? Not yet.

Next: Hollywood Pictures 2

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4. Hollywood Pictures 2

Play It On: Windows PC

Gameplay: Much like The Movies, this follow-up to the 1990s game gives you control of an entire film studio.

This time, however, you're not quite building from the ground up but taking over a small, scruffy, underperforming little outfit and trying to turn it into a success.

So it's important to make the right choices when decided which projects to make and which talent to hire to do - can you find that genius, but cheap director? Or find that star among the hundreds of wannabes?

And once you've made it, can you stay at the top of your game, winning awards and ensuring that top creative types will want to work with you?

Can You Expand Upon It?
Since it's a sequel to the original Hollywood Pictures, there's no sign of more releases just yet.

Next: YooStar

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5. YooStar

Play It On:
Windows PC (Mac coming later in 2009)

Gameplay: This one is like a more advanced version of You're In The Movies - you hook up the camera to the computer, stand in front of the green screen and act in shorts.

But YooStar has an advantage in the deals the company has signed with major studios to allow their movie footage to be used in your work.

Among the snippets available are Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Blues Brothers, Rocky Balboa, Some Like It Hot, The Terminator and more.

And the quality is decidedly better since it uses a much more sophisticated camera to capture your image.

So if you've ever wanted to insert yourself into scenes of, say, The Godfather, this system will let you live that dream.

There are a couple of major downsides, particularly for UK readers - so far, it's only just come out across the pond. And it currently costs around $170, so it's not cheap.

A UK release is apparently on the cards, but there's no firm info yet.

Can You Expand Upon It?
It came out this month, so we're going with... no.

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