You’re in the Movies – Wanna Go to Ninja School?

You’re in the Movies – Wanna Go to Ninja School?

This is the last game you’d ever want to play while you’re sick – lot’s of running, arm-waving, and opportunities for cheek-burning humiliation.

You’re in the Movies uses the Xbox Live camera to capture all of what you do and splice it with pre-rendered videos in its extensive library of genre-based clips to create your very own, very wacky, home movie. At the more “hardcore” level, the game works like video editing software, letting you record music and dub tracks and edit together clips to create incredibly long – and incredibly wacky – movies of you running, arm-waving and generally embarrassing yourself in the name of fun.

Despite my viral handicap, I made the most of what developer Zoe Mode had to offer, choosing the Ninja School clip from the massive movie clip library. The clips ranged in genre from Western to film noir. Then I followed orders barked at my by both the game’s simulated director and the PR reps who kept shoving hot tea down my throat to keep me going.

You’re in the Movies doesn’t seem as straightforward to me as “Lights, camera, action.” That’s probably because most of what you’re doing to create the action is motion-based mini-games. So instead of slicing and dicing ninjas, like I thought I’d be doing, I got to throw a paper aeroplane, run in place, and pull up a bucket full of treasure on the end of a rope. My “co-stars” were doing the same things too, and each mini-game doled out a score towards an overall total. This competition would have been more interesting if all the bugs had been worked out such that we didn’t keep getting the same score.

Besides the mini-games that seem more appropriate to the Wii than the Xbox 360, there were also “acting exercises” where the little in-game director demands that the player get pretty close to the camera (close enough to clearly make out your face) and act out emotions or mime coughing, etc. My favourite was the one where they had us strike a kung-fu pose – it reminded me that soon there’d be ninjas and then I could stop flailing around like a moron with a sore throat.

I lost track of time during the motion-capture phase – I want to say this was because I was having so much fun, but realistically it’s because the cold medicine wore off and time became an endless haze of sick. But at some point after about ten acting exercises and mini-games, I was allowed to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

And now, thanks to the portability of You’re in the Movies, so can you:

Above: Turns out a giant pink Jem and the Holograms sweatshirt was the best possible attire for gameplay – the camera shoots an image of the background and then allows you to enter the picture, so if you’re wearing something that looks too much like the wallpaper, you’ll appear as a severed head.

I was a little disappointed to find that you couldn’t take your homemade movies horrors with you everywhere and that you don’t have complete control during the editing process. For example, you can compile your clips and email them to yourself from your Xbox Live account so that you’ll have it on your computer.

But why would you want to do that? You can’t even edit it on any conventional software, and I’m not really sure you can post it to YouTube (and even if you did, what’s the point when you could post it Xbox Live?). The editing software will let you use different clips from different hard drives (so your friend could record a scene and bring it to you on a memory card), but but unless you’re all in the same room at the same time, you and your friend can’t be in the same scene.

The thing to remember is that You’re in the Movies is the kind of game you’d bring to a dinner party with your extended family – particularly if they don’t know jack about games. You can lie to them and say You’re in the Movies isn’t a video game, it’s a home movie maker – or you can stress that it’s a casual game meant for everybody. When you get to the editing part, it may be a little too complex to stick with the casual game argument – but watching Granny flinging shuriken at your little step-cousin in the final cut will definitely get a laugh from the whole family.

You’re in the Movies came out November 18 – right in the middle of my death cold – and it looks like it comes with the Xbox Live Camera.

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