The folk making the new Snoopy vs. the Red Baron video game have been sending us press materials, asking if the AAUGH Blog wantd to interview the development team, things like that. That’s outside the standard realm of this blog, of course. But it all got me to thinking.
The game is an actual shooting-at-things flying game; the screenshots and videos make it look like a reasonably well done thing, although of course you can’t really judge gameplay until you hold the controller in your hand and try to make the plane go in a direction you can see.
But it got me thinking about the nature of licensing (which, as the creator of Licensable BearTM, is something that I do with some frequency). There are two common ways of thinking about licensing – starting with the property and thinking “what can we build from this?”, which is how one looks at, say, Snoopy Come Home and say “maybe we should make Snoopy-brand jaw harps”. The other is to start with a product and figure out what you can license to make it stand out in the market; Snoopy neckties are more along that line.
This game seems to be oddly between the two. If you start with the Peanuts strip or even the animated versions, you have to move several steps conceptually to get from an imagination-filled dog sitting on a doghouse to a dog with a real Sopwith Camel that fires Woodstock missiles. On the other hand, if you start with wanting to do an airplane shooting game, going to a humorous comic strip built around human foible seems an odd direction.
I haven’t played the game yet. My suspicion is that if you want someting that captures and enhances your Peanuts experience, this game won’t do it the way a good DVD or even a nice bit of statuary does. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a flying game with a non-standard point of view, then (presuming they implemented it well) this could be a bit of fun.