Ten months in the making, "I Love Lucy" and "Honeymooners" games are on the way. And we have video proof.
Now, don't tell me you don't know these shows. Sure MTV isn't for the old, but have we no sense of culture or history?
Last week I spoke to Steve Bergenholtz, CEO of newly announced game development company Beanbag Studios, about how he's managing to turn two of the most famous shows in television history into video games — casual PC and cell phone games.
So you get the license, and then what?I asked this before proposing a bus-racing "Honeymooners" bus-racing game, mind you.
Bergenholtz's answers, his comments on prospects of the game appearing on the Wii and a video of "The Honeymooners Bowling" follow...
"We start by doing an extensive amount of research," Bergenholtz said. "We also speak to small groups of people in focus test environments and we ask them what comes to mind. For example, [with] "I Love Lucy" that's how we were able to find out which episodes to work with. A lot of people remember the Vitameatavegamin episode, the Grape-Stomping and the Chocolate Factory."
Bergenholtz said he secured the licenses by contacting the children of "Lucy" stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, their agents and CBS. He said development of games by his previous company, Sandbox Studios, helped convince the rightsholders to let Beanbag make some games.
After the licenses came the game designs. While Bergenholtz is based in Texas, his 30-person development staff is located in London, Ontario, Canada. Bergenholtz said that his team tested various ideas for two weeks at a time and settled on a trivia concept for the first three "Lucy" games. The opening "Lucy" titles from Beanbag will each involve one of the three cited episodes. Video-based challenges include trivia, filling in missing lines from edited clips, and putting parts of the show in their proper order. More "Lucy" games are coming in the second quarter of 2008, including one in the style of "Diner Dash."
The "Honeymooners" game is a bowling title. No bus-racing? "We'll do other games with the property. That just happens to be the first one."
I asked Bergenholtz if there were plans to bring any of these games for the Nintendo DS. He said there are plans for some of Beanbag's games to appear on Xbox Live Arcade and that Microsoft has offered his studio a development kit. As for Nintendo options, Bergenholtz said he's targeting the "Lucy" "Diner Dash" game for the Wii's upcoming WiiWare downloadable game service and says the Japanese gaming giant has been sharing information about that program.
At least two of the "Lucy" games and "Honeymooners Bowling" will be available this holiday season. Look for updates on the official Beanbag Studios site.