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Pixar vs Dreamworks

We’d call this another instance of GR fanning the flames of Fanboy War, but let’s be honest… Dreamworks Animation doesn’t have any fans. Shrek and Co have graced a few bed sheets here and there, but that studio’s name alone carries almost no weight when compared to the globally beloved institution that is Pixar. Yet while Pixar’s movies always out score Dreamworks in the Metacritic department, how exactly do you think the games stack up?


Above: By the end of this article, you will know the answer to the question no one ever asked: Whose games are better, Pixar or Dreamworks?

With next week’s release of Toy Story 3 (SQUEEE!), Pixar and Dreamworks are poised for more than a battle at the box office. We’ve done our damnedest to pit the most comparable movie games from both companies head-to-side-grinning-head using their highest ranking game. And only the first game to stem from the movie. No spin-offs, sideshoots, and most importantly, no Game Boy Color games! That sad sort of shit has been thankfully relegated to the iPhone App Store.

WARNING: POTENTIAL BIAS! While I carry a deep affection for almost every Pixar film, I consider every Dreamworks Animation movie that isn’t Kung Fu Panda to be a derivative puddle of pop culture-spewing, donkey piss. However, the games were not selected so as to rig the contest in either company’s favor.


Toy Story vs Shrek

For the most part we’ll be looking at movies/games that came out within the same time period, but how could I not kick things off with these two heavyweights? Shrek is to Dreamworks what Woody is to Pixar. Each icon is synonymous with the studios’ most recognizable films, and their successful execution would pave the way subsequent theatrical CGI would be realized in terms of tone, style and production. The toys take the win here, but obviously, there are several years between the two games. And to be fair, Toy Story for Genesis came out during a time when mascot platformers were still all the rage, whereas Shrek didn’t have that luxury while being developed by a company known primarily for manufacturing blank cassette tapes. The playing field from here on out will get much more balanced…

Toy Story



“This game may be geared to a younger audience, but it's hard to ignore its technological achievements… It's the Donkey Kong Country of the Genesis, showing that the machine is still capable of making advancements.” - Game Players

Shrek



“The game play appeals to the young and hopelessly naïve gamers who think they're reliving the movie experience. Good luck to them.” – Hot Games





A Bug’s Life vs Antz

Ah, and thus we see the emergence of a notorious rivalry. Did Dreamworks rip off Pixar, or was it just a case of parallel thought? Neither, actually. Jeffery Katzenberg left Disney well aware A Bug’s Life was in development at Pixar, but greenlit Antz anyway soon after creating Dreamworks, as it had been in varying stages of development for some time and character textures on insects (as opposed to animal fur or human skin) seemed far more doable given the current stage of CG technology. Both movies were different enough to enjoy success, but the fact that Antz was rushed through production, seemingly with the sole purpose of beating A Bug’s Life to the box office, remained a point of contention between the two animation companies. Oh, the games? They’re both utter dog shit barely worth revisiting.

A Bug’s Life



“…This game can be simplified to walking around while constantly pressing the berry-throw button.” – Ben Stahl, GameSpot

Antz



“What kind of lesson are we teaching our kids when we make them play a game that has smarter bugs abusing larger ones for the sake of their own personalized sports entertainment? I don't think me riding on the back of another human down a racetrack is very funny. I'm all for enslaving other people and species, but shouldn't we wait until the teen years before we instill those values into our children?” - Ivan Sulic, IGN





Finding Nemo vs Shark Tale

Having almost cleared Dreamworks of plagiarism charges above, here we find them at their most rippy-offest! Antz proved that they can crank shit out faster than Pixar (Fact: Dreamworks has already produced more theatrical films than Pixar did with a three year lead!) but the similarities here start to get… Christ, I’m really trying not to say “fishy” because that would imply it wasn’t outright theft. As if the aquatic copycatting weren’t enough to have Pixar fans throwing poisoned McDonalds glasses over the gates of Dreamworks HQ, kindly note this tidbit: The Shark Tale game scored higher than Finding Nemo on all platforms! Attentive readers may already know why…

Finding Nemo



“Very plain and ordinary, and without the Nemo license there wouldn't be much reason to actually own it.” – Dan Wong, Game Critics

Shark Tale



“If you loved the movie, enjoy funky retro dance music and contemporary hip hop, and want to experience some of the best computer generated undersea graphics to ever grace the GameCube, take Shark Tale for a swim.” – Mark Smith, Game Chronicle

54 comments

  • archnite - June 19, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    An oldy and a goody, plus now I know how Toy Story 3:The Game turned out...it was Great!
  • zigs - June 22, 2010 2:14 p.m.

    Finally got around to reading this article. Fantastic stuff, really interesting read :)
  • oscarpiggy - June 18, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    At least pixar make better movies: http://features.metacritic.com/features/2010/pixar-vs-dreamworks-animation-comparison/?tag=topslot;title;1
  • solidushepherd - June 14, 2010 7:57 a.m.

    Nice article. The fact that Dreamworks games are doing so well is a sin.
  • Marterfarker - June 13, 2010 6:30 p.m.

    Without a doubt, Pixar is the superior studio. I like/love all their films with the possible exception of A Bug's Life, and the first 20 minutes of Cars. The only DW's film that don't make me wretch are the two excellent films, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. Those two DW's films were not the cultural-reference-cesspools the the rest of the their pictures tend to be. The only game from this feature I actually played was the one for Ninja Gaiden Panda, I mean Kung Fu Panda, and I thought that game was very good.
  • VirAetas - June 13, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    I saw the headline and immediately knew it was Antista Feature. I will admit that Pixar creates masterpieces while most DW are merely entertaining wastes of time. Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How To Train Your Dragon are excellent though. But Toy Story 3? That's gonna be magical. Good work, Chris. Keep up the work and let's see more articles comparing rival companies. May I suggest Pepsi-Man Vs That Creepy Burger King guy?
  • Fro4show - June 13, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    pixar is better with the exception of Ratatouille and Dreamworks is worse with the exception of Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. The Guy looses an effin leg! HOW COULD U NOT LIKE IT?! Why wasn't How to Train Your Dragon on this list by the way? Was it that bad?
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  • JuliePeesgood - June 12, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    Seriously, though. Who doesn't love a good animated movie? Animated movie games are another story. Well constructed article Chris! Good read.
  • SenatorPepper - June 12, 2010 1:53 p.m.

    Stop apologizing for your obsession, you pansy! It was a great read, even for someone who didn't know Shrek was a Dreamworks franchise or that there was a Shark Tale. Good stuff. Next time you feel embarrassed about writing another article on Disney, think about the relationship between the two words reCAPTCHA is making me type so I can post this comment: "outsell" follows "believe."
  • KnightDehumidifier - June 12, 2010 4:54 a.m.

    Pixar and Dreamworks are reminiscent of the Nintendo and Sega of the early 90s. Think about it, Pixar is known for being innocent with a meager bit a bite. They're mad creative, and the inner workings of their projects are often quiet aside from the announcements. It was also Pixar that led animation into a brand new level of entertainment. However Dreamworks has movies that are rambunctious, and in your face. They also claim to debut abilities to the genre and boast their prowess. (Shrek is the first 3D animated film to properly animate fire)
  • FatRat - June 11, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    Dreamworks has made some great movies How to train your dragon was great as was Over the hedge, and i LOVED Monsters vs Aliens am i the only one that thought Antz was Better than A Bugs Life?
  • Phazon117 - June 11, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    I fucking remember Disney Extreme Skate Adventure! I loved that game when I was like 12!
  • bekkilawrence - June 11, 2010 6:51 p.m.

    maybe pixar? Dont really know, i've played about 3 of these and i got bored after 10 minutes.
  • Mechamorbo - June 11, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    Dreamworks movies can be fine, funny even, but at the end of the day they're fluffy meaningless entertainment. Maybe that's why they're easier to translate into a light and airy game that scores well.
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - June 11, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    You must have loved writing this article! (I enjoyed reading it).
  • Styrophoamicus - June 11, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    What about How To Train Your Dragon? Never played the game, but the movie was fantastic recaptcha: workshop guerrillas
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