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Atari 2600

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(ARA) – Gearing up for big Hollywood blockbusters, no matter what time of year, is an exciting time for movie-goers of all ages. The fun of lining up for midnight releases, putting on the 3D glasses and settling in for an exciting adventure is a rite of passage. The problem, of course, is when the movie ends – that’s it. Or, at least that’s how it used to be.

For several years, a growing trend with blockbusters is to release not only the film itself, but accessories to go with it.

Toys and board games

Going back at least 35 years, action figures were one of the first ways to connect with a film outside the theater. If you still have some of those childhood toys today, they can be very valuable, depending on their condition. If you want to relive that part of your childhood and reacquire some of those toys, buying them on auction sites could be very costly.

Video games

While action figures remain a solid product for younger fans of a film, teens and young adults may want a different kind of experience.

The trend of developing video games that tie into movies isn’t new – some movie-related games go back to the days of the Atari 2600. Many of them take you on a virtual scene-by-scene recreation of the movie itself. If you’ve already seen the movie, it can be a challenge to find the game enjoyable because it’s the same thing.

Consumers know that buying games that don’t have a long shelf life isn’t how they want to spend their hard-earned money. The key is to create a product that offers a tie in that is less connected to the shot-by-shot action of a movie.

Video game publisher Activision/Blizzard is one company that’s accomplished that with their release of the game “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The game is tied to the movie release in that it plays as a prologue to the movie of the same name, rather than a scene-by-scene version. It features an original storyline that lets players experience the events that occur before the film and learn backstories of key characters.

Also new for this game is the innovative “Stealth Force” combat mode. In addition to playing as one of the robots or their vehicles, players can also instantly convert to a third, hybrid form that combines the weapons and firepower of robot mode with the agility and maneuverability of vehicle mode.

Food tie-ins

For almost as long as action figures have been connected with big movie releases, fast-food restaurants have connected with movie releases, either with toys to go in kids meals, or “special” versions of food associated with the movie – generally regular menu items renamed. Either way, it’s proven to be a winning strategy for both restaurant and movie company alike.

Just because the closing credits roll, it doesn’t mean that movie fun has to end. With the right toy, meal or video game, the fun can last for years.

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