Monday 18 May 2020

A Tintin video game in the works!


A Tintin video game in the works!

Vintage subject matter with a modern twist in this post as everyone's favourite Belgian boy reporter Tintin, who recently turned 90 years old(!), is soon to get a new video game adventure to his name according to the above news article.

Details of what form the adventures will take are perforce sketchy as the news of tie-up between developer Microids and Tintin rights-holder Moulinsart has only just been announced but either way it sounds very promising.  "A whirlwind of incredible situations and suspense hand in hand with the legendary Tintin and Snowy...", along with all the supporting cast of characters we know and love - Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus and Thomson & Thompson - sounds just the sort of thing to keep our bequiffed hero in the forefront of people's minds and hopefully introduce him to a whole new generation of fans.

Video games are something I've tended to drift away from as I've got older but for Tintin & Company I'm bound to make an exception!  While researching for this post I discovered that this by no means the first computer game to feature Brussel's famous fictional son so I thought I'd take the opportunity of this news to go through the brief history of Tintin video games that have been produced thus far:

We begin way back in 1987, when Infogrames (a precursor to Atari) released Tintin on the Moon which was based on the two-part story-line Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.  A mixture of traditional first-person shoot-em up and side-scrolling adventure the aim is to land the Moon Rocket on the Moon whilst avoiding all sorts of dangers including rogue asteroids and villainous stowaways.  It was available on all the major platforms of the day - Amiga, Amstrad, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum - and later, in 1989, was updated for use in MS-DOS.  Fans of 8-bit graphics and sound effects will not be disappointed!

The next Tintin game did not appear until 1995 when the story Tintin in Tibet was adapted, again by Infogrames, as a platform adventure for a variety of different consoles including Sega's Mega Drive and Game Gear as well as Nintendo's Super NES and Game Boy.  A year later in 1996 it became available for PC and then much later in 2001 was re-released for the Game Boy Colour.  The plot mirrors that of the book, in which Tintin and Captain Haddock travel to Tibet to rescue Tintin's Chinese friend Chang who is missing presumed dead following a plane crash.

Only one year was to elapse before another Tintin game was released when in 1997 Prisoners of the Sun came out as a companion piece to Tintin in Tibet.  It too was available for PCs as well as the SNES, Game Boy and later Game Boy Colour, but unlike the earlier game not for any Sega consoles.

Four years later in 2001 and Tintin was back again, this time for PC and Sony's new PlayStation console, in Destination Adventure.  Despite being designed (again by Infogrames) for the new generation of Windows computers and Sony consoles, Destination Adventure is essentially an update of Tibet and Prisoners of the Sun with some improved 3D graphics and a few new levels.

We have to fast-forward ten years for what is currently the most recent Tintin video game - The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.  Based on the 2011 film (as well as the original books) it is a reflection of how far computing has advanced in a decade with regards to the graphics and game-play, which takes the form of a traditional platform adventure with elements of 2D puzzle-solving.  It was released (this time by Ubisoft) across a whole host of platforms, from Microsoft Windows & Xbox 360 through Nintendo Wii & 3DS to PlayStation 3 and even Android and iOS (okay, this terminology is getting beyond me now - anyway, lots of different computers!).  It did not, however, garner very good reviews and has largely fallen into obscurity in the last five years.

Speaking of falling into obscurity, especially in reference to the 2011 game, is the film that inspired it.  I can hardly believe that it has been nearly ten years since The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn came out.  At the time we were promised that it would be the start of a trilogy of films (at least), with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson sharing directing duties.  Indeed the film ends on a cliff-hanger, with the clear intention of being carried on with the story-line of the following book Red Rackham's Treasure, yet here we are in 2020 and there's been not a dicky-bird!  Come on chaps, get your fingers out and get on with giving us another cracking Tintin film before the poor fellow turns 100.  At this rate Jamie Bell will be old enough to play Captain Haddock!

Hopefully the launch of this new video game will inject some fresh interest in Tintin & Co and maybe jump-start Messrs Jackson and Spielberg into getting on and bringing the next instalment of these timeless characters' adventures to the silver screen.  In any event I look forward to seeing what form the new video game takes when more information becomes available.  In the meantime I have been getting my Tintin fix from the 2011 film and the excellent early '90s French-Canadian cartoon series The Adventures of Tintin, which I remember fondly from my youth and (naturally) have as a DVD box set.

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