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…
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.
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…