Lucille Ball returns in episodic Facebook game

More than sixty years after it originally appeared on our screens, I Love Lucy is making a comeback. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz will return in their first interactive adventure, set to hit Facebook in early March, with mobile and tablet versions following shortly after.

The episodic game, also playable on RetroWorld will combine footage from the classic TV comedies along with new puzzles, interaction and exploration – the whole thing sprinkled with an assortment of mini-games.

Episode one focusses on the “Job Switching” episode, which saw Lucy and her neighbour Ethel go to work, while their husbands Ricky and Fred stay home to take care of the house. Gamers will take control of both Lucy and Ricky in various scenes.

I Love Lucy

Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory

Gene Mauro, President of Entertainment Games explains:

The experience is uniquely designed to feel like you’re playing in an actual ‘I Love Lucy’ episode.

In some scenes, players will control Lucy as she struggles comically to stay employed alongside Ethel in the chocolate factory; in other scenes, players become Ricky as he coaches Fred and labors to learn the ropes of basic housekeeping.

It might seem cheesy, but the game itself has the blessing of Lucille Ball’s production company, Desilu, which she co-owned with husband Desi Arnaz. The game’s developers also worked closely with CBS to create the modern interpretation of the beloved program, which originally aired from 1951-1957.

Bruce Bronn, owner of Unforgettable Enterprises, Inc., representing both Desilu and CBS explains the reason behind the decision – Lucy’s as popular today as she ever was.

Recent research data obtained by CBS shows ‘Lucy’ still enjoys an 88 percent awareness factor with 96 percent favorable appeal among the key female 18-54 age group and a 92 percent awareness with 95 percent favorable appeal for females 25-54.

I Love Lucy

I do - do you?

It may seem an unusual decision, but Entertainment Games is going after an unusual market, as video game analyst Michael Pachter observes:

They have an original idea, and think that iconic branded entertainment will have a lot of appeal, especially among the older Facebook users who remember brands like ‘I Love Lucy’.

The unique nature of Entertainment Games’ focus on nostalgia could build them a sizeable audience.

Depending on the success of I Love Lucy, Entertainment Games is planning on an additional four game franchises based on CBS TV shows from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. No new names have been confirmed, but Pachter at least is hinting that The Brady Bunch would be an “interesting” development.

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