Are you a Han or are you a Muppet? – Game crossovers

It seems the interwebs are awash with the horror of a much revered franchise, Star Wars, over stepping the mark of good taste and decency with respect to its characters. The recent Kinect Star Wars appears to not just be the light sabre and force push gestures that fans were looking for, but instead has thrown in some dancing sections where you get to boogie on down with Han Solo and the Princess.

After the backlash of the recut Darth Vader “Nooooooo!” moment and the amazingly tacky Vodafone Yoda adverts, combined with PC World representing the Evil empire it seems that nothing is sacred in Star Wars anymore.
It is easy to get po faced about the seriousness of a beloved icon that many of us grew up with, I was 10 in 1977 when Star Wars came out so it, along with Star Trek and Blakes 7 shaped what I do. I have fond memories of the characters and of the science. Games and games marketing has often had bad film tie ins, yet Star Wars has generally had a good run. The Star Wars lego games in particular would at first seem a disruptive cash in but they played more to playfulness of recreating the Star Wars universe as we all did after we had seen it for the first time and played Jedi. They are tongue in cheek because they are outside the actual virtual reality of Star Wars. The video above though is aiming to be photo realistic, not a lampoon and, along with Yodafone take something away from a cherished experience that then gets tainted with a cashing in bad taste.
For once I decided not to pre-order a game and left Star Wars Kinect for another day. I had heard tales of the content and style and I thought do I actually want to pay for the privilege of being annoyed by how a game does not fit.
This is an example of the sort of crossover that we often talk about not doing in Virtual worlds. Whilst people want content from place x in place y, unified avatar logins etc they really can mess things up for everyone culturally.
A crossover that does work is Little Big Planet Muppets. In a way this is like Star Wars Lego in that it is a cartoon lampoon of the muppets. Of course the Muppets are themselves cartoon lampoons so it manages to re-enforce the fun that is the Muppets. They are comedy characters that are based around odd things happening. Yoda was of course heavily related to the Muppets too. I think though that along with not doing appalling film tie ins of films there should be a responsibility to a brand to not overdo its game ripping off. It used to be the case that light sabres were not allowed in gamer controlled characters as George Lucas held them up as a higher order device that you needed to be a real Jedi to wield. That may have been to far the other way, but it seems he has given up and is just raking it in now which is such a pity.

As you can see above this is great fun, a fantastic blend of the muppet look and the homemade Little Big Planet materials.
I can’t wait to see a remix of this brilliant song done as “Are you a Han or are you a Muppet”

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