Many of us have a piece of media that might be considered "old-fashioned" or "outdated" by modern standards. People still prefer to watch VHSes over DVDs for example, some people prefer tapes or vinyl records over CDs and even to this day, there are people that still value a good DVD collection over just getting everything via streaming services. And let's not forget how many gamers still have a soft spot for retro consoles and games in spite of everything that's come since the days of old. But here I'm going to talk about a piece of media that is often overlooked in the entertainment industry. A piece of media that doesn't really get made anymore. And that my friends...is DVD Games.
First developed in the late 1990s, DVD games were essentially video-games that you play on your DVD player. These games tended to be interactive games that the family could play together using only the DVD remote to make all the decisions. During the late 90s and the 2000's decade, many of these games were developed and released including AtmosFear, Scene It?, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and much more. There was a clear market for DVD games for a while but nowadays, they seem to be a forgotten form of media. DVD games don't really seem to get made anymore, having become a more niche form of entertainment these days and whenever you go looking for them, you're likely to find them in your local charity shops than anywhere else. I can see why DVD games aren't really a thing anymore, especially with the rise of today's video-gaming industry making DVD games pretty obsolete and of course, streaming services can give you interactive gaming in place of DVDs with Carmen Sandiego: To Steal Or Not To Steal being one such example. It is still a pity that they're not really around anymore as they were always fun to play on occasion and nowadays just serve as a neat feeling of nostalgia whenever I play them again.
For this post, I'll be giving a collection of mini-reviews all about DVD games that I've played myself. Who knows, maybe this list will tempt you to give these a try yourself, or maybe you've played these yourself and want to hear what I think. So let's get down to this little collection of reviews for a lesser known form of entertainment...
1: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
It probably won't come as any surprise to you that this show of all things got the DVD treatment. I mean it's practically gift-wrapped for a DVD game!
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is as simple as it gets for DVD games: it's like you're playing the actual game and you're the one in the hot seat while Chris Tarrant delivers the questions you need to ask in order to win the £1,000,000 jackpot while offering the usual lifelines to help you along the way. The DVD games perfectly capture the look and atmosphere of the show, especially since they filmed it in the Millionaire set with the host Chris Tarrant reprising his role, albeit he's talking to us now (or actually the camera that's filming him for this DVD game). Also, despite being a DVD game, it surprisingly feels as intense as the actual show at times. No joke, whenever I get stuck on a tough question, I feel the way the contestants do whenever they come across a tough question, even though I have nothing to lose because it's all virtual money and I'm not actually winning anything! It doesn't help that the game features the show's famous soundtrack too and it's just as intimidating to hear in the game as it is in the actual show!
Now although the cash prize is virtual, the DVD games DID come with an actual prize to win if you beat the game. These prizes would always be a luxury holiday you could win for yourself and your family. Naturally the competitions have all expired by the time you play these games so don't even bother. I wonder how many players were able to go on these holidays back when they were available to win...?
The fun part for these DVD games is that starting from the 3rd edition, we get to pick the difficulty level of the questions (adult or junior) and we get a new feature that the show didn't have: picture questions. They are what you think they are: questions with an additional picture added to them to maybe give a clue or two to the answer. I always enjoy it when we get these questions as they tend to be more fun than the regular questions when you have a picture to look at too. The 4th and 5th editions still have these but don't use them as much as the 3rd edition sadly. The 3rd edition would sprinkle a few after you reached £1000 and once you got past £32,000 it was picture questions all the way. Not so for the 4th and 5th editions. The 5th edition would add a little more by giving us four lifelines instead of three (the fourth lifeline allowed you to switch the question to another one) and would also give you questions that have video or audio clips to go by. It was a cool idea on paper, but in execution it was...lacking. Not only do these questions BARELY ever come up in the game but they tend to be the same cycle of video clips or audio clips over and over. You can go some games without coming across either of them, they're that sparse so why even have them at all? It just seemed like a flashy new gimmick to get people to buy the game but they didn't do enough with it.
One thing the 4th and 5th editions did do well to make the game more enjoyable and inclusive was that they included categories you could choose from, these being General Knowledge, Entertainment and Sport. Of course, the questions you get will cater to these categories depending on what you pick so that was definitely fun and a nice way to make the game more inclusive as anyone with a specific interest like entertainment or sport could play a Millionaire game with questions they were more likely to know than others.
If you're a fan of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? like I am, you'll definitely enjoy these games. And that's my FINAL answer! XD
I imagine many people outside of the UK won't even know what I'm talking about here so I'll just give a quick summary: Bullseye was a quiz show released in 1981 and it was a unique combination of a quiz show and a darts game. And weirdly enough, I don't think this would even make it on a list of Top 10 Weirdest Game Show Ideas in spite of that. XD
Anyway, Bullseye got the DVD game treatment much like other quiz shows did but sadly, I don't think it translated all that well to the DVD interactive game format. The problem with this game is that it's hard to really bring darts into a DVD game. What you do is use your remote to press when you want to throw the dart when the highlight goes over the part of the board you want to throw it at, and that only gets you so far as you're not always guaranteed to hit where you want to. A set-up like this works so much better for a Wii game rather than a DVD game. Like imagine using a Wii Remote to take aim at the dart board and then swing it down to throw the dart. That would've made this game much better as an interactive game rather than making it a game for your DVD player.
The quiz aspect itself is hardly any better than the dart game. There is no difficulty setting unlike the Millionaire ones so you end up with a bunch of questions that nobody that was born after the 20th century ended is going to know, meaning that this is not the kind of DVD game that families can play together as the kids are going to be left high and dry while the adults have all the fun. Also it means that this game has a pretty dated feel, especially for the time it came out so it's not one that I think modern players could get into. As for the presentation, they didn't get Jim Bowen or Tony Green back for the game. They got just some guy who admittedly can do a decent Jim Bowen impression but it's just not the same. But I can at least give the game one thing: it does capture the spirit of Bullseye well despite there being no people and everything's mostly animated. They use the usual catchphrases that made the show famous and even the prizes kinda feel like something you could win in a game of Bullseye, especially the lame ones so they got that right at least. XD
Still, this is a DVD game that shows that not everything can translate well into DVD interactive format and as a result, wins nothing. But we can give it its B.F.H., its bus fare home.
3: The Weakest Link
It shouldn't be that surprising that The Weakest Link had a DVD game too. I mean the merchandise it spawned is very similar to the merchandise Millionaire was generating so why not give it a DVD game too?
Much like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Weakest Link is a quiz show that translates brilliantly into DVD interactive format. The gameplay is the same as in the show and Anne Robinson reprises her role as the host in this game to further give the DVD that authentic feel to make us feel like we're playing the actual game for real. They even filmed all of Anne Robinson's interactive host scenes in the actual set too so that was really awesome. Like in the show, The Weakest Link allows up to 9 players to play the game so this is a DVD game that could easily be played at parties or big social gettogethers given so many people can play it together. I can't imagine it being much fun for the players to vote off The Weakest Link though and many betrayals resulting in some unfair voting off for some people. XD
One neat change to the gameplay that makes logical sense for this edition of The Weakest Link is that when the question is given, you have multiple choice answers. I mean you can't just say an answer you think of like in the show so of course they'd do that for an interactive DVD version of the show. Each question gives you a choice of three answers and you only have so long to answer the question before it's passed onto the next player (although it's easy to cheat at that by just pressing pause to give yourself more time to answer the question). Sometimes the question will have three answers that could be a possible answer and sometimes there will be one obviously right answer and two obviously wrong answers to make it easier to get them right.
If there's any critiques to give this game, it's the fact that like Bullseye up above, there is no difficulty setting. It's not as bad as Bullseye as some questions are easier than others but it still feels like this game is more for a group of adults to play together rather than kids or families as a whole. When you get to the final and it's two players competing for the grand prize, the questions especially get more difficult (just like in the show). I just wish that like for the Millionaire games, they AT LEAST had an Adult or Junior setting instead of it being mostly for adults. Difficulty settings for these games just make them more inclusive for everyone instead of making it clear the game is for one specific audience.
Still, this is a fun DVD game to play and I can easily say that in this case, it is NOT the Weakest Link. Goodbye!
This is a DVD game that I was only just made aware of. Seriously, I didn't even know this existed until this year! My brother discovered it one day and we both thought it looked fun to try out so he got it from eBay and we played it together. So was it worth a buy? Most definitely.
The Cluedo DVD Game is the same as the usual board game in a few ways, being set in Tudor Mansion and we have to solve a mystery involving some colourful suspects and a crime that's been committed but it also has some differences to make it its own thing. The crime has been changed from murder to theft this time around, there are places outside you can go so it's not just in Tudor Mansion all the time, there are ten suspects instead of the usual six and you have to make four suggestions instead of three, these being the suspect, the item that's been stolen, the room and the time it all happened at. The DVD portion comes in with 3-D animations of a character named Inspector Brown occasionally popping in to say something or help push the case along in some way. Other features involve 3-D animations of the player going through secret passages and a piece of text will come up to say something that will help or hinder your gameplay, the Inspector occasionally writing notes that you can read that may give clues to who did it, what they took, what time they committed the crime at and where they did it and you can ask Ashe the Butler in which he will give testimonies that although they may not always be obvious, they will have some kind of clue hidden in them that can help you figure the case out.
The game also comes with a red magnifying glass that allows you to see letters or numbers through it when you look at a specific coded square that might come up on the screen such as when you read an Inspector's note or make an accusation. I like that feature as it prevents the other players from getting the same help you're getting and requires them to do it themselves. Cluedo itself translates really well into an interactive DVD game I feel and the interactive stuff honestly makes the game more fun to play than regular Cluedo. Not only is there more stuff to do in this game, but the interactive content can even require you to use your brain more than the regular board game as you have these clues the game gives you to analyse and mull over. There's even one feature where an item will be placed in a room by the Inspector and you can do a memory test to earn the right to see it. All this really further emphasizes the detective aspect of Cluedo and really makes for a fun playthrough.
I also love the atmosphere of this game too. Tudor Mansion is nicely detailed with the rooms all looking big and like this is the luxurious home of a wealthy man and the music has that suspenseful feel to it throughout the game that makes you feel like you're in a tense detective story. Even when you go through the secret passages, the music gets pretty ominous and sorta makes you worry you're going to run into something, even if that never happens. It's bizarre like that. XD
The only downside to this game being the way it is is that it's an interactive game that's not all that re-playable. You have 10 cases to solve in the game and once you've solved them, that's it. It's the same outcome for each case every time so next time you play them, it's more a test of memory to see if you can remember the solutions for each of them. I get that making the outcome different every time you play would've been really hard for a game like this so it's not really the game's fault this is the case. You can play a general case in where there's no set solution so that gives a more re-playable game for players but also locks you out of all the fun stuff that the 10 cases give you so it's not quite as enjoyable and just feels like a more general Cluedo game. Also the 3-D animations themselves are...yeah, not that great honestly. I know DVD games don't have huge budgets but still. Personally I think the game would've looked better and more timely if they used live-actors in sets instead of animation but what can you do? It's not the worst animation I've ever seen anyway.
In spite of its flaws, Cluedo DVD Game is one of the most fun versions of the classic board game you can play out there. You don't need a detective to see that this DVD game is a must-have for Cluedo fans or fans of DVD and board games in general.
5: The Beano Interactive
Now THIS is an interesting one to talk about.
The Beano Interactive DVD is based on, what else, The Beano comics from D.C. Thomson & Co. and is just what you'd expect from this kind of game. You get a whole new story created specifically for this game and it features all of the usual Beano superstars that we all know and love from Dennis the Menace to Minnie the Minx to Roger the Dodger and even the Bash Street Kids. The story itself is just pure simple Beano fun that we expect from the comics and I honestly have little to critique about it as there's not much to say other than that. I can at least say the story captures the feel of reading a Beano comic down perfectly from the comedic tone to the style of humour that you often see in these comics. I wouldn't be surprised if the story of this game was even penned by an actual Beano writer with how well they made it feel authentic to the source material.
What also helps is the presentation. The visuals even take on the appearance of a Beano comic, only with a few animations here and there so you're not just looking at still images all the time. It's not often you see The Beano in motion-comic form so for Beano fans, this was probably interesting for them to see. The art-style is that distinctive Beano style that you can't get anywhere else and all dialogue is delivered through speech bubbles rather than spoken aloud to further capture that comic look.
Now where does the interactive stuff come in as this is an interactive DVD game? Well, the story comes with a bunch of activities to play through in order to progress further in the story. The activities themselves are really simple to complete, which is perfectly fine as this IS a kid's game and thus it has to be easy enough for them. In fact, unlike most of the other DVD games I've covered, this one really is for kids rather than adults, although I can see adult Beano fans enjoying this game anyway as they'd probably enjoy the game's authentic feel to a Beano comic and getting to experience their favourite comic in a whole new way.
But here's the best bit of Beano fan-service this game provides. There's a bonus feature in where you can actually watch The Beano Videostars cartoons. The cartoons were their own compilation video released in 1994 so to see them all here on this interactive DVD as a bonus feature is a big surprise and a huge treat for Beano fans playing the game. They can either play the game or watch the cartoons, which gives us two ways to enjoy this. Neat, huh?
One thing that confuses me about this game is the voice-acting. While there IS voice-acting in the game...it's REALLY lazy voice-acting. No joke, ALL the dialogue coming from the characters is just them going "meh, meh, meh, meh" over and over. Nobody says actual words as the speech bubbles come up on screen, it's just mumbling and gibberish for no reason. Why even have voice-acting if the actors aren't going to get to do ACTUAL voice-acting? They may as well just not bothered with voice-acting if the characters aren't actually going to say the words that appear onscreen and just mumble gibberish throughout the story. It's a bizarre creative choice and again, feels really lazy to do. I mean even Cluedo went out of its way to have actual proper voice-acting for ITS DVD game so what's this game's excuse?
Lazy voice-acting aside, this game is still a fun game for Beano fans alike and I imagine many of them will enjoy playing it, or if you have children to entertain they might get a kick out of it. This game is no menace to play, that much is certain...
6: Telly Addicts
Now this is an interesting one for me as unlike Millionaire or The Weakest Link above, I have NOT seen the original show that this game is based on. Heck, I only discovered this game when going through a charity shop (or thrift store for you Americans) in 2021! I'd never heard of Telly Addicts before playing this game so I can only judge it as a DVD game with no comparison to the show. Although playing the game does make me think Telly Addicts might be fun to watch.
From what I can gather, Telly Addicts is a quiz show hosted by Noel Edmonds that's meant to test people's knowledge on TV shows and pop culture. This quiz on the other hand has a variety to its questions and testing one's TV knowledge. Up to two players can play the game. There are seven rounds in total with an occasional bonus round that may pop up from time to time. They go as follows:
Round 1: Screen Test. This round has the player (or players) pick a TV screen and they'll see a picture of a clip and then have to answer a question about it. Each right answer gives you a point.
Round 2: TV Ties. This round shows you three famous faces and you have to guess which one is missing from the group and then you have to answer two questions about what ties the famous faces together. Each right answer earns a point.
Round 3: Classic Clips. The game shows you a clip from a show and you have to answer three questions about what you've seen. Each right answer earns a point like before.
Round 4: Odd One Out. The game shows four famous faces and you have to pick the odd one out. You can use up to two clues for help but using clues will deduct how many points you can earn in total. If you guess right without any clues, you get three points overall.
Round 5: Theme Tunes. The game plays a theme tune and you have to guess what show it's from. A right answer earns you two points.
Round 6: Guess the Show. You'll see a clip of someone describing a show with vague clues and you have to guess what they're talking about. Guessing it right on the first try gets you three points whereas using clues will deduct how many points you can earn.
Round 7: Spotlight. You have three questions to answer and you only have 10 seconds to answer each of them. Each right answer earns a point.
Naturally the aim of the game is to earn as many points as possible and if two players are playing, the team with the highest score wins. I like the variety of different rounds in this game as it makes it more challenging in that regard. Some rounds will be easier than others for some people by the nature of the categories presented and each round will have some kind of puzzle that some players will do really well in more than others. As a result, it really does make it so anyone can win this game and the only advantage to your performance is how knowledgeable you are on the world of TV. Like the Millionaire games, this game also has a difficulty setting with Adult and Kids questions to answer, making this a family-inclusive game and open to more players which is always great. Although I question some of the questions in the Kids category at times as I feel they ask questions about shows no kid would ever watch...
Also like the Millionaire games, Telly Addicts gives you the chance to win a real prize, a two week holiday abroad but just like before, don't bother trying as the competition's long since ended so you'll only look stupid trying to enter it. XD
I haven't seen the original show, but this game gives me a good first impression of Telly Addicts. It's a fun quiz show for media geeks like myself and I imagine many others who love their TV and media will have some fun with it too. This is a game where a love of TV can help you win something...
7: Disney Scene It: Magical Moments
I'm sure EVERYONE has played at least ONE edition of Scene It? in their lives. It's the same basic premise for each edition: it's a board game with interactive DVD features and the theme is different for each edition of Scene It?. You can get Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Friends or just a general Scene It? where it has no set theme. The one I have and have played the most in particular is the Disney one as you can see in the picture.
The game has all the same basic rules as your usual Scene It? game: You roll two dice (one numbered, one category) and move across the board how many spaces the numbered dice rolled while also answering a question depending on what you rolled and that can be something you do on the DVD or a question you can answer on a card. The Category Dice has plenty of different categories to answer from and different ways to answer questions from your usual playing of clips or listening to a sound from the movie or just answering trivia based questions on the cards in the game. Getting the questions correct can either move you further across the board or get you an extra turn. The winner is the first person who can get to the Winner's Circle.
This version of Scene It? is perfect for Disney geeks out there as it really is the Scene It? game that's truly for them. Not only is there questions for the usual mainstream Disney films out there, but there's also questions for Disney's lesser known works and they don't always keep it animated either as you can get questions about their live-action content as well. This makes the game inclusive to Disney fans of all kinds and to make it more family-friendly, not all the questions are simple either as some might require a deeper knowledge of Disney to know the answer to. The rules of the game are easy enough to follow, especially if you regularly play Scene It? or its many other editions so those players will have no trouble understanding how to play it. This version however has some new features to add a little extra to it. These include Bonus Activities that can be played in teams or groups and they include Sketch It, Act It and Say It. Sketch It is a drawing challenge, Act It is a typical game of charades and Say It requires you to guess a phrase based on word clues given by a team member without using names of actors, characters or films. An extra way to play the game while adding something new to this specific edition of Scene It? is a nice way to make it stand out from the crowd while keeping the gameplay fresh for die-hard players.
Oh and another feature I like about this game is that for that extra Disney authentic feel, they even got a Disney veteran voice actor, Jason Marsden, to be the narrator for this game. And yes people, it does sound like Max Goof is giving us these questions whenever he talks. XD
I don't really have any critiques to give for this game. It's just a fun, enjoyable edition in the Scene It? series of games and I think it's a game that Disney fans and Scene It? fans will enjoy. Definitely the kind of DVD interactive entertainment that we can expect from the Magical Kingdom itself...
And that's all I have for the DVD Interactive Games I've played. I hope this collection of mini-reviews was enjoyable to read and may even tempt you to play some of these yourself. Are there any DVD games you yourself love playing or at least have grown up playing in your life time? Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Next time, I'll be conducting an essay all about the battle with Ash and Cynthia and Pokémon Journeys and whether it was good or not. See you then, media fans!