Richard Cobbett has posted an article on the "rise and fall of interactive movies." It's a pretty in-depth piece on the multitude of mid '90s video games that included a live action film shoot. Most readers will recall that a lot of these games were pretty corny and cheesy, but there were some creative gems mixed in as well. The author credits Wing Commander and Command & Conquer as consistent winners, but he rags on the losers pretty hard. An important thing to consider though is the timeframe and context. In just a few short years, PC games transformed from 16-color blobs to three dimensional SVGA games with CDs full of video. Most just didn't age as well as the WC series. Check out the full article here.
The Wing Commander games are arguably the only ones where known actors have emerged smelling of roses. It helped that unlike many, these games had a real budget – a then-insane $4 million for Wing Commander III, which used the standard bluescreen technique, and $12 million for the fourth game, which finally allowed for actual sets and physical special effects. Mark Hamill’s performance as world-weary space hero Christopher Blair grounded the series in a way that surprised everyone who thought Origin had just hired Luke Skywalker as a gimmick, while Tom Wilson (as the arrogant but insecure pilot Maniac) was pleased to be recognised as something other than Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future movies. Malcolm McDowell and John Rhys-Davies also showed up and gave excellent performances, to the point that the fourth game’s most exciting moment wasn’t the last space battle, but the FMV debate that followed it, where you had to talk a council chamber full of diplomats into acknowledging the bad guy’s naughtiness.