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Q: What is an FMV game?
A: FMV stands for Full-Motion Video. When a video game features pre-recorded live-action video, that video is known as FMV and the video game is categorized as an FMV Game. These games are also called INTERACTIVE MOVIES, INTERACTIVE FILMS, or LIVE-ACTION INTERACTIVE.

Pre-recorded animated video can also be referred to as FMV, though there is debate about which type of pre-recorded animation (traditional 2D cel animation vs. computer generated 3D animation) and how much featured animation would classify a video game as FMV. For example, a game like Dragon's Lair is universally accepted as an FMV game whereas, despite hours of pre-recorded 3D animations, the Final Fantasy games are seldom referred to as FMV games.

Q: Isn't all video full motion? Why are these games called Full-Motion Video?
A: In the 1980s, live-action and animated video was popular in laserdisc arcade games but had not yet made it to home consoles. In the late 80s, when home computers became powerful enough, developers began to tinker with the idea of adding live-action video to consumer video games. Initially, developers simply used photographs converted to digitized sprites, then showed the photos quickly in succession and called it "video." These quick slideshows of digitized sprites are what we affectionately refer to as PARTIAL-MOTION VIDEO.

Once CD-Rom technology was brought to home computers and consoles, developers used the technology to add real video files into games. The term FULL-MOTION VIDEO was used to differentiate between the "partial-motion" videos of years past and the "full-motion" videos used in CD-ROMSs.

The term "FMV" only truly makes sense from this historical perspective, but it is still widely used to classify interactive movies and video games with live-action video.

Q: Why are some FMV games entirely video, like a movie, while others are just regular video games that have a video introduction?
A: FMV Games all feature live-action or animated video, but the video content can range drastically. We break down the differences between these games using the terms below:


This refers to any pre-recorded content that is in a video game. It can be live-action or animation but does not use an in-game engine to render the animation in real time.

Games with FMV fall into three categories:


Although all 3 types are called FMV Games, it is much more useful to categorize each type based on the products Video Interactivity.

VIDEO INTERACTIVITY or "VI" refers to the interactivity of the full-motion video as opposed to the interactivity of the game as a whole.


These are FMV scenes within a video game that help tell the story but do not necessarily impact gameplay. They are played when you reach a certain checkpoint or finish a level. You could, in theory, skip the cut scenes and still finish the game. These games are referred to as "Video Games with Cutscenes."
Video Interactivity = None

Examples: Need For Speed, Command and Conquer, Street Fighter IV.


These are films/games in which you can view video and then make choices based on what you have seen. These, in general, have:

1) much more video than gameplay elements and

2) viewing the video is a necessary part of understanding the story and/or finishing the game.

An interactive movie with minimal video interactivity would be a "choose-your-path" film, or Navigational Cinema, in which you make a choice which prompts a new scene to play.

Also called Selectivity.

An interactive movie with medium interactivity would be a film/game that allows you to "choose-your-path" but also includes other factors that can affect the outcome (e.g., time of day, items equipped, or order that you make your choices.)

Video Interactivity = Minimal - Medium


Minimal (Selectivity) = I'm Your Man, Return to House on Haunted Hill, The Outbreak

Medium = Dracula Unleashed, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Clue


In these games viewing the FMV is the primary gameplay.

Video Interactivity = Medium - Maximal

An FMV game with medium video interactivity would be a game in which less than 75% of overall gameplay is video and the video is an integral part of the gameplay.

Medium = Ripper, Burn:Cycle, Snow Job

An FMV game with maximal video interactivity would be a game in which 75% or more of overall gameplay consists of video.

Maximal = Night Trap, Dragon's Lair, Mad Dog McCree, Ground Zero Texas

Q: What is FMV World?
A: FMV World is a website dedicated to showcasing Full-Motion Video Games and Interactive Films.

Q: There are plenty of FMV games that are not on your Games List. Why?
A: Our list is not a comprehensive list of FMV games, but we are continually working to add more games.
If you'd like to bring a game to our attention, please let us know at [email protected].

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