Choose Your Own Movie Adventure… Again

from the sounds-familiar dept

A new movie has come out that’s being promoted for the ability to have a “choose your own adventure” path through the DVD. Apparently, the story’s been cut up into hundreds of pieces, and you get to click through to choose how you want to view the story. The movie makers note that no two viewing experiences may be the same. They claim that they spent a lot of time developing the software to make this possible, and while they’re happy with the movie they made, they’re hoping to sell the technology to others for similar movie projects. Of course, this isn’t a particularly new idea. Over three years ago there was a story about a very similar technology that apparently never caught on (since no one seems to remember it). It’s definitely a cool gimmick, but it’s not clear how practical it is for most movie makers.

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Comments on “Choose Your Own Movie Adventure… Again”

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RantMax says:

Yei for the "developers"!

Their technology is nothing more than a marketing ploy to rip an unsuspecting company.

It’s part of the core spec of DVD that you can chain a set of video clips any way you want, and provide the user with hot spots that trigger different clips.

The process of doing this is so simple even my cat can do it.

It’s been done numerous times on the extras of various DVD’s (especially for simple games on Disney DVD’s).

What exactly are these clowns trying to pull off here?

And please, before you post an article run the facts through your pocket BS detector, so you save us that crap.

Nobody Special says:

Several Things

1) In reference to comment 3, it has everything to do with core specs. If a Windows program follows the specs, then it will correctly play any DVD designed to the specs. Including the ones with jumps.

2) This whole idea will fail if for no other reason then it doesn’t fit Hollywood’s primary business model. You can’t take this to the theaters. To avoid any kind of mob scene at the decision points, it would require a new set of technology that theaters can’t or won’t afford.

3) I believe most adults would rather sit back and watch a good movie then decide the fate of some less well written movie. It would take a much better writter(s) for a really good choose your own path movie. And the budget would multiply with the choices.

4) I think the marketing point this time is that they are doing this with the new discs that few people can yet play because of competing standards. And what is supposed to make this better is all the additional content that can be put on said discs. But (oh damn) the idea isn’t really new at all.

RantMax says:


@The infamous Joe

“Your cat makes DVDs? How is this not news?!”

If figures of speech are news to you, I’ll have to break it you that the rest of mankind discovered them several hundred thousand years ago.

@TT denmark

Unfortunately there’s no law against technology redundancy I know of to prevent such products from occurring.

Why we had BetaMax and VHS?
BlueRay and HD DVD?
XBOX360 and PS3?
Chimpanzees and George W. Bush?

Anonymous Coward says:

Final destination 3

The DVD version of Final destination 3 has a ‘choose their fate’ option which lets you choose an alternate death (or not). Doesn’t add much to the film though

Technology – easy
Multiple interesting interwoven plots – Hard

There was a set of 3 french films with interwoven plots (main actors in one film were supporting actors in another) which could be recut for this sort of thing

RantMax says:

Watch me cry.

“Well now you have firmly established yourself as a retard. You were better off when you claimed your cat could make DVD’s.”

Who gave you the authority to judge me, brainiac?

If I gotta label people into “smart” and “retards”, it’s what they contribute to a conversation, versus just add noise.

I said what they’ve done is trivial on a standard DVD and will play on a casual DVD player.

If you want to argue THAT, you’re welcome.

Instead you wanna come here and pretend you’re fit to give scores to each poster, while completely ignoring what the article is about.

Boris Jacobsen says:

Incredibly bad idea

It kind of ruins the suspense element of a film if you choose how it progresses for yourself. If I were capable of writing a decent film script, I would do so. But I’d rather stick to what I’m good at and watch films scripted by people who are good at writing scripts like Charlie Kaufman.

I saw a comedian (can’t remember who) point out that it would have been perfectly possible for audience members to get up on stage and be interactive with the cast way back in Shakespeare’s day. I’m sure many audience members have tried this but it’s never caught on. Why not? Because it’s a crap idea.

Charlie says:

Good for kids

As a kid I used to read choose your own adventure books. They were all cheesy but I enjoyed it. The technology is availible to do the same thing on DVDs, and as others have mentioned this is nothing new.

On second thought, with video games and other options availible in the market, this may be a complete failure.

Chris says:

Re: Good for kids

Do they still sell choose your own adventure books? I agree that they were a lot of fun (“Inside UFO 54-40” was my favorite)

I’m a tremendous fan of interactive media and technology, but I think that we are taking away imagination and forcing what we think something should be like onto our children through the use of it.

RantMax says:

Interactive Shakespeare

@Boris Jacobsen

“I’m sure many audience members have tried this but it’s never caught on. Why not?”

I bet they were discouraged to do anything the first time they lost their heads for violation of the stage.

“It kind of ruins the suspense element of a film if you choose how it progresses for yourself.”

One can argue that the suspence is still there since you pick a cause, not result. So you still don’t know how it ends.

The results however are always mediocre. Moviemaking is not cheap, every frame counts.

When you have movies where the director is ok if the viewer missed 90% of the movie because in the opening sequence his choice was “main character jumps off building”, you just can’t expect that much of a good movie to begin with.

I played that interactive X-Files game few years ago base don the same basic premise.

I hated myself for missing half of the action, I hated the developers for not allowing me to just see all clips linearly, and I hated the director and cast for obviously not caring a lot what the hell they’re doing since it’s a silly game after all, not a prime time TV show or cinema.

Josh Baskin says:

Interactive Comic Books

I tried to get the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ idea built into comic books back in 1988 when I worked at MacMillan toys, but I panicked before the big meeting, and decided to leave my grown up big city life and go back to my family.

I should have stuck with it. I could have made millions!

Nightwind (user link) says:

Re: Interactive Comic Books

>I tried to get the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ idea built
> into comic books back in 1988 when I worked at MacMillan
> toys, but I panicked before the big meeting, and decided
> to leave my grown up big city life and go back to my
> family.

But thats because you realized that being a kid is way better than a business man.

Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop – Shimmy Shimmy Rock

MEoip says:


Maybe I’m missing the point (I didn’t RTFA So I could be). Here are my talking points…
1) This isn’t new for DVDs. It’s been done but not necessarily well, I’ve played a few of these games and clicked through a few choose your own extras. The lag is slow which would kill any movie of substance with more than one choice. If this does it well that would be worth using.
2) This seems as much about the films ability to randomly choose its direction as the viewer’s ability to thoughtfully choose the films direction.
3) Movie revenue is shrinking while Game revenue is growing, solution make movies more like games. A movie more like a game cannot be lost; each adventure you choose will result in a full length feature film, unlike a game where a stupid move can kill you half way into it.
4) This fits Hollywood’s model… Maximize revenue. Remember how Pixar releases movies then when the hype slows they send out a new version with ‘outtakes’ after the credits. By swapping 2 scenes with a pool of 5 alternate scenes each, this would give you 25 unique movies; imagine how LOTR, Harry Potter, and Titanic fans would re-flock to the theaters.
5)It’s been done on DVDS why not migrate to theaters.

Krisys says:

Definately not new...

I was doing this exact thing back in High School in ’95 with a PowerMac, a Media100 and Macromedia Director – and it wasnt a new idea then. Of course we were using (several) SyQuest drives insted of DVD’s… but the concept is the same.

As a concept, creating interactive video stories is a great way to learn the ins and outs of non-linier filmmaking, but it will never fly as a profitable product in the current marketplace.

The infamous Joe says:

UFO 54-40

Ha! That’s the one where the only way to “win” (that is, end the story not dying or being locked up as a loony) was to actually flip to the page. (Page 101, if I recall correctly)

It started the page with “Well, if you made it here, you must have cheated..”

It’s my favorite too, and RantMax has way too much spare time. (Which he could be using to teach his cat other neat skills, like software programming or handwriting analysis)

MCeeP says:

wouldn’t this actually just be like going back to the games we had in the mid/late 90’s…Phantasmagoria, Voyeur, et al. ? I loved those cinematic style games, and would like to see more of them. This seems like they need to make the decision of if they are making a movie or a game though. It’s one or the other, not both. Even if it is cinematic.

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