Great video game tie-ins are few and far in between. The last truly great tie-in was…what exactly? What made it such a great game? Did it add to the original property? These are the questions to ask when considering video games based on movies.
The idea of a flight simulator based on Red Tails came to mind immediately after watching the movie in the theatre last week. CMrok93’s comment posted on my review cemented in my mind that this needs to be shared. So, LucasArts, I hope that this somehow is brought to your attention. I can help with the game and scenario design. Don’t worry, I’ve got great references.
Obviously, a more thrill and dog-fight focused simulator like Ace Combat or LucasArts’ own X-Wing and Tie Fighter family of games would be the overall basis of the game, but it would benefit from interactive elements on-base like those found in the Wing Commander series. These interactions with other pilots and crew wouldn’t be laughable, toss-away scenes like that, though. This game focuses on the Tuskegee Airmen and the slow improvement of opinion of black pilots.
I would want this to be the first truly racially charged video game released to a mainstream audience. Updates from the Pentagon might come from Colonel William Mortamus (Bryan Cranston’s character), and thus would have to be peppered with condescension and disapproval. Radio chatter that your character might just “happen” into out on missions might involve pilots from other squadrons complaining about how they have to rely on “colored” support. Failed missions, and I think you should be able to fail a mission in a game but continue playing, could lead to proving the Tuskegee “experiment” a failure. The game should allow you to fail your race.
This is the part of the game that will ensure it never gets made. Video games, in their current stage of cultural development, are only allowed to be meaningless distractions. A game that ultimately aims to culture and educate its players through experiential means don’t generally get made. How will the masses, who turn to games for wish-fulfillment and power fantasies, respond to a game in which a character continually faces racism – and ultimately come out of the war still facing racism?
LucasArts needs to make this game. It’s a huge risk, and it’s ultimately one they will not find worth taking. It’s a nice thought, though. I long for the day when my Red Tails game can get made. And by that point we can end the debate about whether or not games are art.