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Moviegoers at the theater NCM Noovie

Interactive games move from the big screen to your living room

Been to the movies recently? If you ever get there before the trailers start rolling, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the Noovie pre-show that highlights what’s new in entertainment.

Taking it a step further, last year the company behind that pre-show launched a new augmented reality (AR) game for movie-goers. Now it’s got another game that recently debuted, and it’s got a much bigger focus on the movies themselves.

It also has another big difference: you’re not locked into playing the new game only at a movie theater. So if you or your kids are big into movies, this might just be for you.

From FirstLook to Noovie Shuffle

This all started with National CineMedia (NCM), which is an ad company for theaters. For more than a decade, a pre-show called FirstLook would play before movies at theaters around the country that was filled with various clips from its partners and of course, ads. Two years ago, it was rebranded as Noovie.

Noovie preshow movie theater audience

As you might already be aware, augmented reality has been all the rage the past few years and that’s why NCM launched Noovie ARcade just over a year ago. All you have to do is download the free companion app, then get to the theater early to play some of its games like CineVaders, EmojiEscape and Hollywood Highway.

Or, check out Kernel Cannon which you can play from the website wherever you are.

movie theater augmented reality AR game

Just point your phone’s camera at the “trigger” image that appears on the movie screen and you’re shooting alien ships that appear on your phone screen through AR (read on for more on ARcade). Sure, it’s fun but it doesn’t really give you that mental stimulation like a fast-paced movie trivia game would. That’s were Noovie Shuffle comes in.

Movie trivia wherever you go

NCM has a new mobile game that’s card-based and all about movie trivia. Through several mini-games in Noovie Shuffle, you work to answer the questions as quickly as possible to earn points that you can use to win prizes.


“We’ve known that we wanted folks to interface with the big screen, but we’ve also known that people are going to theater five to six times a year,” said Rick Butler, NCM’s chief digital officer. “The only opportunity they had to play was in that auditorium, in that preshow, and that’s why we’re so excited about making that available outside the theater.”

Here is a list of the mini-games that debuted with Shuffle back in April:

  • Flicks – As new movie cards come up in the deck, quickly swipe the card left or right to answer a yes/no question.
  • Star Chains – Find the connection between movies and actors to create a chain of correct answers. The longer the chain, the higher the points.
  • Match Up – Correctly match three pairs of movie-related cards. The faster you are, the more sets you get to match and win.
  • Timeline – Which came first? Decide if an event happened before or after another event, such as the year a movie was released or the plot sequence of a story.
  • Bonus Round – Click on as many cards as you can that fit a given movie category before they disappear.

Noovie Shuffle launched this spring in conjunction with “Avengers: Endgame,” and it’s working on new games and card decks based on various film categories, specific movies, studios or topics, like supervillains and movie monsters. Games will be released in conjunction with movies they’re based on, and it’s also planning to have games with holiday themes.

Just this week Noovie launched new Shuffle games based on “Toy Story 4,” which opens in theaters on June 21.

Noovie Shuffle Toy Story 4 game

“ARcade requires a bit more commitment, a bit more preparation, whereas shuffle you can basically play anytime you want, anywhere – auditorium, doctor’s office, plane, doesn’t matter,” Butler said.

Players can challenge other players to a game, see how they rank and share scores on social media. There isn’t much to go on about potential rewards and prizes, although they’re supposed to roll out later this year. Just know, you will need to create an account to use those features.

Playing the Noovie games

Yes, Shuffle is fun when you’ve got some free time. Depending on the subject, they can be challenging and you are very aware of the clock ticking away at the top right of the screen.

I actually did surprisingly well with the games that launched in conjunction with “Toy Story 4.” The questions covered everything Pixar, going back to the very first “Toy Story” film in 1995.

I enjoyed the Shuffle game Timeline the most, where you have to correctly guess if a Pixar movie was released before or after the one in front of you. I found it pretty easy because my two sons grew up on Pixar movies throughout the 2000s and that means I did, too.


ARcade is a fun time-waster if you get to the theater early enough. You just need to have the app installed and your smartphone ready to go because it doesn’t give you much warning when the game is about to start. CineVaders is the AR game that popped up on the big screen and my phone connected seamlessly.

Noovie NCM ARcade movie theater game

Coming soon from NCM

Over the past year, Noovie ARcade has proven to be successful in gaining interest among movie-goers. Butler says there have been 2.5 million app downloads with this April being its most popular month. Download Noovie Arcade for iOS at the Apple App Store or Android through the Google Play Store.

Shuffle is still very new but look for a larger variety of games as the summer movie season pushes on. Check out Noovie Shuffle by tapping or clicking here.

Another game that shows up during the Noovie pre-show is “Name That Movie.” That will also be making the jump from the big screen to your smartphone this summer with a new mobile version. Stay tuned. App background

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