New FMV Game Zine Now Available

Next month will be ridiculously busy for me so I made a quick little zine about modern games using FMV for the Zine Month alternative jam using Electric Zine Maker. FMV Will Never Die is a free zine on covering recent games with FMV. I created it for the Zine Month alternative jam, which I think was ending tomorrow but I guess not, oops. But that’s fine, I doubt I would have finished it if I sat on it for any longer.

I basically have a 40 page version of this sitting on my computer but I keep slacking off on doing a nice cover and formatting so this goofy version is what people will have for now. I had fun finally making something with the Electric Zine Maker though and doing all those bad doodles and I suppose an expanded version of this is something I can look forward to getting out there in another month or two. That will also feature reviews of older games as well as reviews for more modern games and expanded reviews for some of the games in this.

Electric Zine Maker is just a blast to use though. Sometimes it’s nice just to make a thing very quickly and get it on Itch before you get tired of the idea. Highly recommend checking that out.

Anyone Can Make a Game with FMV

When the use of cd-roms for games became mainstream in the 90s, there was a massive explosion of people taking advantage of all that extra space by adding full motion video to their games. A lot of great games were released during this time but it became a short lived trend since there were also a lot of bad games released. Having grown up playing a lot of these games, I’m now (mostly unironically) a fan of FMV in games and love seeing what new games are using it on Steam and Itch. While FMV can limit what kind of games can be made, I think it also has advantages. Video of real people or things can possibly help players connect to the story being told and even low budget or bad FMV can be charming. While it sounds intimidating to record something for a game, it doesn’t mean it must be a big production and there are a lot of tools to easily add video to your game.

Adventure Game Studio
Adventure Game Studio is a free and open source game engine for making point-and-click adventure games. While most games made with the engine are 3rd person adventure games, the engine can be used in a variety of ways. This excellent tutorial by Space Quest Historian shows how someone who has never used AGS before can make a first-person game that uses FMV. Even if you have no interest in using AGS, there’s some good advice in here.

  • Anyone can record video for a game as long as you have a smartphone. Making FMV doesn’t mean you need to have massive camera, people doing makeup and lighting, and a cast of actors. I’ll talk about it later but last year I made a game with my cat and an iPhone.
  • Plan all the video you’re shooting in advance – Make sure you know everything you’ll have to film before you start shooting your game. It will be a massive headache to go back and get more video once you’re halfway through coding the game and realize that you forgot to film something.
  • Organize your videos – Make sure you have a good folder structure and naming scheme for your videos. If you have a lot of little video clips, it can quickly become overwhelming to figure out what videos are used for what.

Charles Engine for Unity
If you are more interested in doing a Choose Your Own Adventure/branching narrative game, I can recommend the Charles Engine plugin for Unity as an option. The Charles Engine was made by Charles Games, developer of games like Attentat 1942 and Svoboda 1945. I made a very tiny FMV game using this plugin with my cat last year and while I would maybe recommend having an actor less difficult to direct than a cat, making a game with the plugin was very easy and the engine provides an easy to use tool to plot out all the nodes and branching that your interactive story will use. But the plugin can do more than just interactive movies and the tutorial that comes with the plugin has you eventually creating a game set on a fake computer desktop, kind of like making your own version of Her Story.

a picture of my cat and asking if she stole my chicken nuggets
A screenshot of the game I made with Charles Engine

Narrat is a lovely tool for making interactive fiction games, with a layout that seems to be inspired by RPGs like Disco Elysium. But that’s not all it can do. The creator of the engine also made A Walk Through the Forest, a short interactive fiction game where you walk on a trail through a forest while the narrator talks about their personal thoughts. Parts of the game can have you looking at video of parts of the trail. Narrat also has integration with Godot if you prefer to work in that engine. Hopefully one of the takeaways from this post is that your game doesn’t even need to have people in it, it can just be video of nature or animals.

screenshot from a walk through the forest showing a trail in a forest
A screenshot from A Walk Through the Forest

Even Twine can be used to play full motion video. Issue 36 of Wireframe magazine (RIP) has a tutorial on how you can do this. The article’s author also has two demos of this on their Itch page. One demo uses footage from the film Plan 9 from Outer Space while the other one recreates the dialog system from one of my favorite games The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery.

plan 9 from outer space playing inside of Twine
Twine can play video like this clip from Plan Nine From Outer Space

Ren’Py is the game engine of choice for Oh, A Rock! Studios, who has made a few games with video like Internet Court and The Awkward Steve Duology. The functionality to play video in games is built into the engine and from reading the official documentation, doesn’t seem too difficult.

a bearded man laying on the floor with the choices "Answer the Door", "Get in Box", and "Ask the internet"
Screenshot from The Awkward Steve Duology

I was recommended the tool GDevelop by game developer Damon L. Wakes. They added video into their golfing game Nine Hole Ninja because they felt it was the easiest way to add a story in the final hours of the game jam. What they liked about using GDevelop (link to Mastodon post) was that videos are game objects just like sprites or particle emitters: you drag them where you want on screen, and then there are events to start/pause/show/hide them based on conditions you choose. Nine Hole Ninja plays them over top of each level when it starts, then deletes them when they’re done.

I hope this post was useful and you’ll consider putting video in your next game, whether it’s a personal story or a total schlock fest. I also recommend this article that lists 10 tips from folks that have made games with FMV before. If there’s other tools that you use for this type of thing, please let me know in the comments!

Indie Game Roundup (Jan. 26, 2024)

Aren’t games great? So many exciting ones came out this week too! I sure hope a civil war doesn’t break out in the United States this weekend! If you recently released something that you want included, always feel free to send me an email, message me on social media (see About page), or just reply to this post with a link to your thing to let me know it’s out. Or even if you didn’t make it and you just think it’s neat, let me know!

a pixelated photo of walter becker

Look at a Picture of Walter Becker for 1 Hour
In this Game Boy and browser game you must look at a photo of Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame for one hour without doing anything else? Can you do it?

cassette tape for the game An Outcry

PIZZA PRANKS Videogame Tape Club
The creator of indie game compilation zine Indiepocalypse has started a program for distributing games on USB drives inside tape cassettes. There’s already a few games for sale and it seems like it’s pretty easy to get your game distributed through it, and he’s also been very open about helping you start your own tape club if you want.

creepy hallway with windows giving an orange glow

The Pony Factory
The Pony Factory was originally a game in the first Dread X compilation created by the same designer as the retro looking FPS Dusk. This is a standalone release that adds a tiny bit more to the game as well as some additional polish. I enjoyed the original release of the game, as well as the rest of the Dread X compilations.

Until the Last Bullet
Does this game look “good?” No, but it is a FMV rail shooter now available on Steam so I am required by law to include it on this list.

a grid of objects and pirates on the left and right sides of the grid

Sunken Stones
A game that does look “good” is Sunken Stones, which has just released a new demo on Itch. It’s a puzzle strategy game with roguelike elements where you are a pirate captain and fight foes.

Other random things
There’s also been a lot of Pokemon related discourse I have no interesting in but I did enjoy this post on Cohost recommending indie games inspired by Pokemon. This free Pokemon coloring book that was uploaded to Itch is also fun.

I don’t know if it qualifies as an indie game since it’s licensing a huge franchise, but I think the release of Stargate: Timekeepers is interesting. I never watched the show but we now have a stealth tactics game based on a show that ended over a decade ago. Reviews on Steam are mixed but most of the complaints seem to be that it’s a stealth game and not something else, which seems pretty silly. FWIW, IGN seemed to like it.

top down view of someone walking

The first Megami Tensei just received an English translation. The article on Time Extension goes into a lot more detail about the history of the games and where you can download it.

Lost Game: When Oranges Attack

Being involved with the Michigan game dev scene means that I’m aware of plenty of smaller games that may not be at the top of every games preservation list. One of these is When Oranges Attack.  When Oranges Attack was a game developed by PixoFactor (now known as Pixo VR) and playable on Facebook to promote Minute Maid orange juice. Players created Rube Goldberg-style contraptions, similar to The Incredible Machine series, to help oranges tip over Minute Maid orange juice so actor Ty Burrell cannot drink it. FMV of the actor would play while you were trying to solve puzzles and whenever you completed one successfully. There were five levels, each with a different theme. Between levels there was an orange juice themed clone of the game Pipe Dream. Players could also enter a UPC code from Minute Maid orange juice to unlock a bonus 6th level.

The game was only online for a short period of time before being taken down and no one has dumped the game so it can be preserved. My understanding is that the code for the game was hosted on Minute Maid servers so I couldn’t just ask someone from Pixo to anonymously dump the game to the Internet Archive. That said, if you do happen to have access to the game, could you uhhhhhhh dump the game to the Internet Archive?

There’s not much proof the game even exists online except for a couple of websites that mention it along with a handful of screenshots. This first website is a blog that had a paid post to advertise the game and features a few screenshots and a description of the game.

There is also this website from someone who has worked in various advertising campaigns that also has a handful of screenshots.

Once again, if you have any additional knowledge about this game or if the game mysteriously ends up online, let me know!

Indie Game Roundup (Dec. 1, 2023)

Screenshot from Markus Ritter of two women talking in a hospital and dialog options below for a report about a murdered couple

It’s the first of December and this year is coming to an end. Hope it’s been going well for you all. There was some really exciting stuff this week.

Not indie game related, unless you count indie game soundtracks, but today is Bandcamp Friday so consider buying some music. Spotify really doesn’t pay anything and buying music (or at least use a streaming service that pays better royalties) is the only way they can really keep doing this for a living.

Going to the Store for Baby Formula at 6AM on Black Friday
Going to the Store for Baby Formula at 6AM on Black Friday is a good and very relatable Bitsy game for any parent.

The Lawnmower Man
In the early 90s it felt like the film adaptation of The Lawnmower Man had a video game on every single platform so it makes me happy that there is now one for PICO-8.

Annie May – Pixcrew
Rose has made a ton of great character creators and the newest one is worth your time too.

Markus Ritter – Ghosts of the Past
Markus Ritter – Ghosts of the Past is a FMV point-and-click adventure game described by the developers on the Steam page as “queer cheesy trash” and that is a 100% accurate description. Fortunately I am a goblin for FMV trash, especially ones inspired by Gabriel Knight 2, so this is absolutely for me. That said, it is EXTREMELY cheesy and might be too much for some people, so I would maybe recommend playing the free prequel game first to see if it’s your thing.

Madvent Calendar 4 – End of the Line
Since it’s December, we also have a new Madvent calendar from the HauntedPS1 community. Every year they release a free anthology of small horror games with a Playstation 1 aesthetic, with a new one unlocked each day. They’re really nice collections and it’s impressive that they manage to put together one of these every year and for free.

Myst Parodies

When Myst came out, it was a gigantic hit that made its way into pop culture. There were books, a board game, and even some discussions with Disney to do something in one of their parks. So it’s not surprising that a game as popular and challenging as Myst also had a few parodies.


screenshot of Pyst showing the starting area of Myst covered in litter
Screenshot taken from MobyGames

The most well known of these Myst parodies is the game Pyst, released in 1996. The game was written by Peter Bergman, a member of the Firesign Theatre, and the first game developed by Parroty Interactive. The Firesign Theatre was a surreal comedy troupe that was around from 1966 to 2012. The concept for Pyst isn’t too bad. You explore Myst island after millions of others have already visited it and see how trashed it has become. The problem is that it’s just not a very good parody. The jokes all fall flat and even a short cameo by John Goodman, who was friends with the comedy troupe, couldn’t save it. It’s not very long either. You navigate the rooms in a slideshow-like format by clicking the left and right arrows to navigate to other cards, clicking on various elements in each card to find jokes, until you reach the end. That’s all there is to it. There’s no puzzles or any real sense of navigation, so the game takes about 30 minutes to play through. If you have an interest in the game, you can watch a playthrough on YouTube and probably get the same out of it as I did and with less work.

The game is not available for sale anywhere so I feel ok with linking to The Collection Chamber if you really want to download a version of it that’s already setup to work on modern PCs. Personally, I got more enjoyment from watching the bizarre Making of Pyst video and listening to the theme for the game featuring John Goodman on vocals.

Negative reviews of the game didn’t stop it from being a commercial hit. The game remained on the cd-rom best seller list for a long time due to its low cost and availability. I remember seeing the game at the checkout counter at CompUSA when it came out. The success allowed Parroty Interactive to develop a few more games:
Star Warped (1997), a parody of Star Wars.
The X-Fools (1997), a parody of The X-Files
Microshaft Winblows 98 (1998), a parody of Microsoft Windows 98

There were also plans to develop Driven, a parody of Riven: The Sequel to Myst. This would have had more of a car theme but was never completed due to the studio closing after being acquired by The Learning Company. A demo of the game exists on later Parroty Interactive and you can watch a playthrough here. Despite my criticisms of the game, I do think the Firesign Theatre is worth listening to if they sound interesting to you.


About screen for the Myst parody MYLK. It has a photo of the authors face and says "(It does a body good. Pass it on!) Myst is conceitware by Bart Gold. If you think it's cool, send a postcard to (address here) and tell him how cool you thought it was. PC conversion by Wayne Twitchell!. Special thanks to Ivan Cockrum and Rob Friedman for helping MYLK PC become reality. Mylk was created entirely in Macromedia director"  then it has copyright info and then says "And remember - it's not a parody, it's an 'homage'"
About screen for Mylk

Pyst wasn’t the first Myst parody. Mylk was a freeware game released in 1994 with a dairy theme. You find the trapped Farmer Ben and Frances the Chicken, who have little videos just like the two brothers in Myst, telling you to bring them bring pink and yellow pages that you find by exploring cheese-themed areas. It’s a fun little parody with some cute cartoon graphics and like the About screen states in the screenshot above, it was made as a tribute to the game instead of being angry at it like some of the other Myst parodies out there. If you want to check it out, it’s playable in the browser on the Internet Archive. The creator of the game would go on to write a lot of Shrek-related cartoons.


screenshot from the page saying "The Mysterious World of Missed" using the Myst font and showing a screenshot from the original game

Missed is a browser game created by Jason Bloomberg and published in 1996. You navigate the island using buttons at the bottom of the screen with a text description telling you what each button will do, with jokes about how Myst is too hard and other frustrations people had with it at the time. Fortunately the game has been preserved in the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine has also preserved the page detailing the making of the game and a walkthrough that you can read here.


screenshot of MYSTy, featuring an island with sand and docks

MYSTy is a parody released for the Macintosh in 1995 by Twin Software. You enter a Powerbook and explore an island similar to Myst. The game is playable on the Internet Archive.

Modern Parodies

screenshot from lyft showing chairs and tables in an office
Screenshot from Lyft

People are still making Myst parodies and tributes today. In 2016 there was a Myst jam on where there were dozens of entries, most by fans of the game. There was also the attempt to make Myst more exciting by making it a FPS. It has been interesting seeing the things people take from Myst and having a more positive view of it, when it doesn’t feel like it’s everywhere and have had more time to understand the design of the game.


After publishing this post, I was made aware of Mast, a porn parody of Myst, thanks(?) to Phil Salvador and Frank Cifaldi from the Video Game History Foundation. As far as I know, this ad from an adult cd-rom magazine is all we know about it. Hopefully we’ll see it uploaded to the Internet Archive one day so we find out what this game is actually like.

an ad for mast saying it's an adult cd-rom game and who stars in it
Scan of a magazine ad by Frank Cifaldi


Thanks to Lori on Mastodon, I am also now aware of Nacah. Nacah is a Bible-themed Myst clone by Virtue Games where you explore a group of islands that you are stranded on and solving puzzles based on the Bible. It’s not a parody of Myst but is strongly inspired by the game and is marketed as a “Biblical alternate to Myst” so it deserves a mention.

cover of Nacah with a view from inside of a cave looking out at an island and a sticker saying it's a biblical alternative to Myst

There are far more Myst parodies and tributes than I could have imagined and I suspect there’s plenty more out there. If there’s a Myst parody that you don’t see here, please let me know in the comments.

J.B. Harold: Blue Chicago Blues – English Patch

J.B. Harold is a series of Japanese adventure games that started in the mid 80’s with the game Murder Club. As you can guess, each game involves you playing as the detective J.B. Harold and you investigate murders. While some of the games have received official English translations, a lot have not. So I’m thrilled to see that the 1994 game Blue Chicago Blues has just received an English fan patch. This was one of the later entries in the series and most importantly, it’s a FMV game!

a man wearing glasses and a cozy sweater
Screenshot taken from MobyGames

Most of the game is made up of interactive movies and making choices whenever the movie stops. Each choice advances the clock and it’s up to the player to solve the murder before time runs out. If you’d like to check the game out, the English fan patch is available here.

FMV Friday for August 4, 2023

The power was out at my home for two days last week so I was unable to do one of these, so here’s the FMV stuff I’ve been into lately. It’s a short one since I’ve only played one game but I thought it was cool. I previously mentioned that the game engine Narrat now supports video for its scenes and character portraits and the first game to use it was submitted to the Narrat game jam that just ended. A walk through the forest is a game where you walk on a trail, identifying plants and reading thoughts from the developer. I thought it was a pleasant game to play and it inspired me to work on two different things so hopefully I can share one of those in the next few weeks, depending on how busy I am. It’s a really nice and short game that’s playable in the browser so go check it out.

screenshot from the game featuring a photo of a forest and some things in the forest being highlighted.

FMV Friday for July 21, 2023

Here are some of the FMV games I played this week and other various FMV things that may be of interest.

After Hours

After Hours is a short student game released in 2019 by Bahiyya Khan. It is a vignette game about a young woman who was molested as a child and suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder as a result. I thought the game handled the subject very well and the performance by the designer was good too. I’m hoping that it gets a more public release someday but I believe you can still get the game by subscribing to Humble Choice and downloading the game through the indie game collection that subscribers get.

Virtua Bird Trainer: The Game

Virtua Bird Trainer: The Game is a short adaptation of a Youtube video which replicates the aesthetics of Sega Saturn games. It’s a short, fun game by the creator of Indiepocalypse, which you should also check out.

Murderous Muses

Earlier this week the Youtube channel Conversations with Curtis, which is hosted by the lead of the 90s FMV game Phantasmagoria 2, had an interview and Let’s Play with Tim Cowles from D’Avekki Studios for the studio’s newest game Murderous Muses. It’s a good interview and the game looks interesting too. Turns out it just went on sale on Steam yesterday so I guess I’ll pick it up now.


Last night I saw that the interactive fiction/rpg game engine Narrat now supports video. From looking at other things made with the engine, the dialog and text usually seems to follow a format more like you’d see in a game like Disco Elysium so it seems like some really interesting stuff could be made in it.

My New Game

I also released a FMV game earlier this week. The game isn’t anything amazing (outside of the lead actress) but I had a good time working with the engine and want to use it more. I used the Charles Engine, a package for Unity that lets you easily create choice based FMV games. The engine was created by Charles Games, who previously made some other games I liked. I bought the plugin when it first came out and then just….sorta forgot. But I really enjoyed using it and the game got many more downloads than I expected so I’m hoping to make more FMV games in the near future.

FMV Friday

For research for something I’m working on, and also just because I genuinely like them, I’ve started playing a lot more games with FMV in them and I guess I should write about them so people have more games to check out. No idea how often I’ll do this but maybe you’ll discover some neat stuff.

Internet Court

screenshot from Internet Court showing a web call between a big group and a caption from someone saying "There's only one way for me to win this trial - I have to like like crazy)

A pleasant surprise this week was Internet Court. I had seen previous games by the studio show up on Steam before but never really heard much about their games but a positive review on Adventure Gamers was enough to get me to check it out during the Steam sale and I’m glad I did. If you watch the trailer, you can tell that it’s extremely low budget and maybe doesn’t feature the most professional actors but even with its lack of polish (or because of it?) it is extremely charming. It’s just very silly fun but never leans into doing an intentionally bad thing on purpose. The game’s Steam page jokes about the game only having one actual actor but everyone involved, including the moms of the developers, gives it their all to delivery genuinely funny performances and I’m looking forward to checking out other games by the studio.

Markus Ritter – The Lost Family

This is a weird one. Markus Ritter is a short FMV game inspired by 90s adventure games like the Gabriel Knight, and especially the second Gabriel Knight game, down to having the player character having the last name Ritter and at least one other Gabriel Knight reference thrown in there. I have no idea what to rate it. It plays fine. The game takes itself so seriously but the acting is pretty goofy, and not all of it intentionally, that it ends up being amusing and charming in its own way I guess? Even the rough edges are unintentionally charming, like the many shots where the lead actor walks back to the camera to turn it off and it shakes a little when they do that and they just don’t clip that part out of the final product. I guess it has a sequel in August and I’m curious about it so it did something right. I’m being rough on it but it’s free so check it out if you’re really into 90s point-and-click adventure games with FMV like I am. It has some nice quality of life stuff in there too, like a built-in hint system and being able to highlight all the spots you can click on.

Aran’s Bike Trip

I wasn’t sure if I should put this in here since I don’t think there’s really any FMV in here, just 360 panorama photos you can interact with, but it’s neat so I’m putting it in here anyway. Aran’s Bike Trip is a game by Sokpop Collective, a small group that has been making a variety of short games for years, where you follow someone along on a biking trip one of the developer’s took. All you do is look at panoramic photos of the Dutch countryside while looking at notes from the designer and listen to calming music but it’s very nice. Sometimes a game can just be an excuse to look at photos of beautiful places in the world.

Date Me

I also wanted to check out some of the FMV games on Itch so I downloaded Date Me, a very short and gay dating sim created (I think) by university students. It’s funny and free so you might as well try it if that sounds like something you’re interested in but my biggest takeaway from it was mostly that I’m very jealous of college students doing goofy games like this instead of the boring, massive projects that people in my computer club were trying to push when I was in school. Where were the people like this?! This is far more exciting and was actually completed. Oh well.