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November 2012 Retro Gaming Article

November 5, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Digital Pictures unreleased FMV game, Maximum Surge, went to DVD as Game Over

We recently wrote a post about the peculiarities behind the release of the video game Night Trap for the Control-Vision - a VHS tape based console that never came to market. Part of the interest in the story is the availability of digital technology that one would have assumed better suited to video gaming than analog tape - why didn't they choose the superior Beta format?

Game Over film There was a time in the early 90s when full motion video (FMV) was gaining momentum in gaming which led to the Control-Vision console (never released). The idea was to integrate FMV via traditional video formats, since gaming hardware wasn't up to the job of presenting realistic motion video. As a result, segments would be filmed in a traditional manner and later integrated into the video game.

Digital Pictures was a US video game developer, founded in 1991, who planned on pioneering FMV in video games. Choosing VHS as the storage/playback medium was likely an early sign of their latter demise. However, plots were designed, scripts written and footage was filmed. Before Digital Pictures began to develop for interactive CD, they had footage for several games completed - sitting around.

One such dormant game was Maximum Surge which, along with other titles, was sold to Cyber Cinema Interactive who dumped it onto DVD and re-titled it Game Over. So, Game Over is actually footage to be integrated into a FMV video game, but wound up as a stand-alone film. As a gamer, it's interesting to see this sort of flick (via DVD), since the game never came to fruition, but you can sort of see how it might have been created.

Before I go farther, let it be known that this movie is awful... just dreadful.

Game Over starred Yasmine Bleeth, although the real star is Dominika Wolski as Elaine Barker, but Bleeth sported Baywatch fame among other recognizable features. It's fun to watch from the perspective of a gamer, but it's cinematic value is somewhat lesser than most straight-to-DVD releases. When a super computer is hooked into a gaming network, the programmer who designed the game has to enter the virtual reality world of his fantasies and defeat the computer before it causes worldwide catastrophe. Um... yeah, OK.

I can't say you'll enjoy this as a movie experience, but you may find it interesting as the footage is readily discernible as film and game segments. Bleeth appears in the game footage and Wolski stars in the film footage. Check it out while it's still available on DVD.

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