Extending the thrill of cinema

Cinema & Gaming

Extending the thrill of cinema

If you are crazy about both masala films and online or mobile gaming, you probably are having a whale of a time these days. And why not? — with gaming portals discovering that the goose laying the golden eggs in their case could be games derived out of Bollywood fantasies, the Quick Gun Murugans, Kamineys, Bhootnaths and Bal Ganesh’s are expanding their presence far beyond the big screen, as games playable online.
As gaming becomes an increasingly popular — and serious — pastime among kids, teenagers and even adults worldwide, online gaming companies in India are slowly but surely realising the huge potential that lies in Bollywood-based games as a business proposition. And with mobile phones penetrating the interiors of the country at a rapid pace, film-based games have a huge potential market to offer themselves, the cliental comprising film-mad millions.

Take Indiagames and Zapak, arguably the two biggest players in the business, for example. Both, in recent times, have launched a number of film-based games and say that the response has been more than just encouraging. With the country coming out with around 1,000 movies every year, with a little less than 150 of them being in Hindi, while Telugu and Tamil industries release more than that number, the opportunities to go filmy-gaming seem to be endless. And from the signs of it, the trend is picking up fast.

If Indiagames has almost simultaneously released games based on the movies Kaminey, Quick Gun Murugan and Aagey Se Right recently through a tie-up with UTV Motion Pictures, Zapak, a Reliance ADA group-owned company, has come with ones based on films like 13B, Luck By Chance and Aa Dekhen Zara. Says Arun Mehra, Chief Marketing Officer of Zapak Digital Entertainment Ltd, “Zapak started associations with the Bollywood world first by associating with the biggest stars in the industry — Salman Khan and Bipasha Basu.”

The nature of film-based games naturally depend on the theme of the film. So, the game inspired by Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey matches the film’s action-packed theme, with chases, fighting cops and  taking risks populating various levels. And to give the player an adrenaline rush, he or she gets to don the avatar of Charlie, the ‘bad’ Shahid Kapur! The game based on Quick Gun Murugun replicates the South Indian cowboy’s ways with the gun, with players getting to play on his misadventures, their shooting speed and reaction time getting tested. The game based on the film Cash similarly is an adventure game going with its theme, while child-friendly games developed out of the themes of Bal Ganesh and Bhoothnath successfully targeted the children with their themes.

“Movies in India have a huge fan following and it gives us an excellent opportunity to extend the experience of films like Kaminey, Quick Gun Murugan and Aagey Se Right to the user’s mobile screen, giving the fans and core gamers alike an opportunity to relive these films while on the move,” says Bangara, whose company, with tie-ups with over 80 telecom operators in 67 countries claims to have a 55 per cent market share in the mobile gaming industry in India.

But not all movies can possibly have games based on them. As Mehra explains, the concept has to be such that it can be integrated into a game, which means action flicks, sports-based movies or suspense thrillers would generally make good games. “The basic idea is to give the user a virtual experience of the film by capturing its essence,” says he. But the fact is that a movie-based game has its biggest visibility while the movie is playing at the theatres, which is why a game is promoted heavily about two weeks before the release of the film.

The logic behind choosing a film for game development depends on how the theme can be developed for gaming. As Bangara says, “The strength of a good game designer lies in his capacity to create a good game on almost any subject. For example, for Ghajini we did a memory-based game and also an action game, and it proved to be enormously successful. For Kaminey, we worked on its association with horse racing. Usually action, racing and cricket are the most popular themes.”

Indiagames has about 20 to 22 film-based games in its kitty, and plans to launch another 15 to 18 this year. “While the Ghajini game has been most successful so far, games based on Jodhaa Akbar and QGM have been quite popular,” says Bangara. His company is also developing games based on Ram Gopal Varma’s upcoming Rann as well as Wake Up Sid and Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Another one just released is based on Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Rashee?

But it is not only Bollywood-based games that are attracting gamers. Zapak, for example, has created games based on Hollywood movies too, apart from a game based on Tamil hit Kireedom. With the craze for films replicating onto the gaming world, and with mobile devices and the Internet penetrating the interiors of the country more and more, the future looks only rosy in this wedding of gaming and movies.

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