Revenge of the FMV

Tracking the sordid history of interactive movies

Deep in the bowels of gaming’s bargain bin, somewhere between Smurf: Rescue and Daikatana resides a peculiar oddity: the FMV interactive movie. Sporting titles that wouldn’t look out of place on the Playboy Channel - Voyeur, Tender Loving Care, The Dark Eye - these rusty relics promise titillation, mystery and comedy moustaches. But, needless to say, they never really lived up to expectation.

Interactive movies may be an odd cultural throwback to rival virtual-reality headsets but for some people, like Robert Paulsen of “The Coalition to Bring Back FMV,” they are visual Viagra.

“These games combined the campy cult movie experience with the interactivity of videogames,” he swoons. “In theory, the only thing more fun than watching a movie is controlling a movie, right? In these games, you’re not dealing with sprites and polygons but real people and real-world environments. There’s really nothing else like it.”