FMV (short for full motion video) games revolutionized the industry when they came into being in 1983. Dragon's Lair was one of the first, and who among us didn't shell out the hefty 50 cents a go to try and help the hapless knight Dirk Daring rescue Princess Daphne from the evil, sulfurous claws of the dragon Singe? These games incorporate clips of full-motion video played from laserdisc to move the game action along. How many of them can you recognize?
The first video games were simple creatures, full of badly pixelated creatures, blobby-looking spaceships and barely decipherable words on the screen. Vector graphics helped a little, but the straight-line nature of games like Tempest made character design difficult, since it's hard to draw humans out of straight lines. The splashes of full motion video in the FMV games gave a cinematic feel, although occasionally the production values could make the dramatic into the absurd unintentionally.
In the end, it was technology that killed FMV as a serious game format. The laserdiscs were fragile and expensive, and while technology improvements brought the games back briefly in the '90s, these days you'll only find FMV used as clips within a larger game. The Resident Evil games are a great example of that, using the video segments for exposition. But grab a handful of quarters and see how many of these classic games you remember!