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A video game based on an existing property, usually a movie, TV series or comic book.

Because the property is enough to unify these games, they can afford to be a bit more loose with their genre. A licensed title might well be an actioner one level, a Driving game the next, then back to an actioner before turning to stealth. This is especially the case with movie tie-ins, where gameplay is usually tailored to allow the player to recreate the film's plot as closely as possible. (TV show and comic book tie-ins instead create a new plot, preferably conceived of by one or more writers from the original property, allowing them to advertise this fact on the case. Movie and TV show tie-ins also prefer to rope in actors from the original property for voice work.)

These games, as a group, are generally regarded... well, suffice it to say that many gamers feel the same way about games based on movies as film critics feel about movies based on games. Some titles however, such as Golden Eye 1997, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Punisher, and most 3D Spider-Man games, gain a certain amount of respect amongst gamers. In some strange cases, the game receives noticeably better reviews than the property itself, as was the case with The Chronicles of Riddick and Ecks Vs. Sever. See The Problem with Licensed Games.

There is also a small edge to be gained by being based on an older property. Most licensed titles are made for a TV series at the peak of its popularity, or a movie just about to open. Games like The Godfather, The Warriors, and From Russia with Love get extra points for thinking outside of the box. Star Wars games don't count, as the merchandising cycle for that particular property is unending.

Also note that Sports Games with the official teams' and players' names are also licensed games. These are more often "good" than movie-/series-based games, likely because they were already games to begin with.

The presence of Title: the Adaptation is a sure sign you are playing one of these.

Licensed games with their own pages (collected here for indexing purposes):

Other examples:

Anime & Manga


Eastern Animation

Films — Animation

Films — Live Action


Live Action TV


Puppet Shows

Theme Parks


Video Games

Western Animation