American Laser Games

Last updated
American Laser Games
Private
Industry Video games
FateBought out by Her Interactive
Headquarters Albuquerque, New Mexico
Key people
Robert Grebe (Founder)
Products

American Laser Games was a company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that created numerous light gun laserdisc video games featuring live action full motion video. The company was founded in the late 1980s by Robert Grebe, who had originally created a system to train police officers under the company name ICAT (Institute for Combat Arms and Tactics) and later adapted the technology for arcade games. Its first hit game was Mad Dog McCree , a light gun shooter set in the American Old West. By mid-1995 they were recognized as the leading company in the medium of laserdisc-based arcade games. [1] Almost all arcade games released by the company were light gun shooters and a number of them also had an Old West theme.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Light gun pointing device

A light gun is a pointing device for computers and a control device for arcade and video games, typically shaped to resemble a pistol. In aviation and shipping, it can also be a directional signal lamp.

Live action is a form of cinematography or videography that uses photography instead of animation. Some works combine live action with animation. Live-action is used to define film, video games or similar visual media. Photorealistic animation, particularly modern computer animation, is sometimes erroneously described as “live-action” as in the case of some media reports about Disney's 2019 remake of The Lion King. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, live action "[involves] real people or animals, not models, or images that are drawn, or produced by computer".

Contents

Later, the company turned toward compact disc technology to release its games. Ports of its arcade titles were released for the Sega CD, CD-i and DOS computers equipped with CD-ROM drives. The company was particularly supportive of the 3DO, not only releasing versions of its games for the console, but also offering a modified version of the 3DO platform as an upgrade kit for existing arcade video game cabinets, supporting compressed video versions of their games at a lower cost. In 1995, American Laser Games released Mazer for the 3DO home market and Orbatak (3DO-powered) for the arcade - their first and only in-house non-Full motion video based games. The company also released a series of light-gun controllers, including the 3DO Game Gun and the PC Gamegun, for home computer use. The latter proved unsuccessful due to its poor accuracy.

Compact disc Optical disc for storage and playback of digital audio

Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.

In software engineering, porting is the process of adapting software for the purpose of achieving some form of execution in a computing environment that is different from the one that a given program was originally designed for. The term is also used when software/hardware is changed to make them usable in different environments.

Sega CD add-on for the Sega Genesis video game console

The Sega CD, released as the Mega-CD in most regions outside North America and Brazil, is a CD-ROM accessory for the Sega Genesis video game console designed and produced by Sega as part of the fourth generation of video game consoles. It was released on December 12, 1991 in Japan, October 15, 1992 in North America, and 1993 in Europe. The Sega CD lets the user play CD-based games and adds hardware functionality such as a faster central processing unit and graphic enhancements. It can also play audio CDs and CD+G discs.

American Laser Games lasted until the mid-to-late 1990s, by which time it had begun making "games for girls" for the PC under the moniker Her Interactive, beginning with McKenzie & Co. [2] In response to a major slump in the arcade industry, American Laser Games ended its direct manufacturing of coin-op machines in November 1995, [3] and turned its focus to developing games for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation. [4] This failed to revive the company's fortunes, and revenues in 1996 were roughly half of the $16 million it generated in 1995. [5] At the end of 1996 ALG laid off a third of its staff, Jan Claesson replaced Grebe as president, and the company began focusing primarily on the Her Interactive line, cancelling all the games in their mainstream line except for Shining Sword. [5] The company eventually closed its doors and was bought out by Her Interactive, which had been spun off before ALG closing and is still making games as of January 2018. In 2000, the development and publishing rights to all of the games that were produced by American Laser Games were purchased by Digital Leisure, Inc from Her Interactive. Many of these games were then re-released for the PC and in DVD TV game format.

Her Interactive

Her Interactive is a video game company based in Bellevue, Washington. The company was founded as a division of American Laser Games, and spun off as an independent entity. It later bought out its former parent company. The company designs, develops and publishes adventure-mystery games, most of which are based on the Nancy Drew franchise.

McKenzie & Co. is a full-motion video CD-ROM dating sim game released by Her Interactive in 1995, designed to be played by girls. It was available for Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Mac OS. "McKenzie" is the name of the protagonist's Geo Tracker—an acronym of Marvelous, Cool, Kinetic movement, Ever-lasting friendship, Non-conformist, Zany, Ingenious, and Empowered.

Sega Saturn video game console

The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe. The successor to the successful Sega Genesis, the Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several arcade ports as well as original games.

Games

Light gun arcade games

<i>Mad Dog McCree</i> 1990 computer and video game

Mad Dog McCree is the first live-action laserdisc video game released by American Laser Games. It originally appeared as an arcade game in 1990.

<i>Space Pirates</i> (laserdisc video game) 1992 video game

Space Pirates is a live-action laserdisc video game, released by American Laser Games for the arcade in 1992 and ported to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1995. The game was re-released for several platforms by Digital Leisure around 2003, with updated sound and video, among other American Laser Games titles.

Other games

<i>Mazer</i> (video game)

Mazer is a video game developed and published by American Laser Games in arcades as well as the 3DO.

<i>Way of the Warrior</i> (video game) 1994 3DO Interactive video game

Way of the Warrior is a fighting game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Universal Interactive Studios for the 3DO in 1994. The game was released in North America on August 30, 1994, and in Japan on May 26, 1995.

<i>Orbatak</i>

Orbatak is a video game developed and published by American Laser Games for the arcade.

See also

Related Research Articles

Neo Geo CD video game console

Neo Geo CD is the second home video game console of SNK Corporation's Neo Geo family, released in September 9, 1994, four years after its cartridge-based equivalent. This is the same platform, converted to the cheaper CD format retailing at $49 to $79 per title, compared to the $300 cartridges. The system was originally priced at US$399, or £399 in the UK. The unit's 1X CD-ROM drive is slow, with very long loading times of up to 56 Mbit of data per load. The system can also play Audio CDs. All three versions of the system have no region-lock. The Neo Geo CD was launched bundled with a control pad instead of a joystick like the AES version. However, the original AES joystick can be used with all three Neo Geo CD models.

Philips CD-i video game console

The Philips CD-i is an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Dutch company Philips, who supported it from December 1991 to late 1998. It was created to provide more functionality than an audio CD player or game console, but at a lower price than a personal computer with a CD-ROM drive. The cost savings were due to the lack of a floppy drive, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and less operating system software. "CD-i" also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard used by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was co-developed by Philips and Sony.

3DO Interactive Multiplayer video game console

The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, often called the 3DO, is a home video game console platform developed by The 3DO Company. Conceived by entrepreneur and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the 3DO was not a console manufactured by the company itself, but a series of specifications, originally designed by Dave Needle and R. J. Mical of New Technologies Group, that could be licensed by third parties. Panasonic produced the first models in 1993, and further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by GoldStar and in 1995 by Sanyo.

A full motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.

<i>Space Ace</i> video game

Space Ace is a laserdisc video game produced by Bluth Group, Cinematronics and Advanced Microcomputer Systems. It was unveiled in October 1983, just four months after the Dragon's Lair game, then released in Spring 1984, and like its predecessor featured film-quality animation played back from a laserdisc.

The Panasonic M2 is a video game console design developed by 3DO and then sold to Matsushita, a company known outside Japan by the brand Panasonic. Initially announced as an add-on chip for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, it was later unveiled as a standalone console. The console was cancelled in 1997, but the M2 technology was incorporated into other devices.

An interactive movie, also known as a movie game, is a video game that presents its gameplay in a cinematic, scripted manner, often through the use of full-motion video of either animated or live-action footage. In modern times, the term also refers to games that have a larger emphasis on story/presentation than on gameplay.

The Gamegun is the only light gun released for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer video game console. It was released in 1994 by American Laser Games, developers of full motion video-based shooter games. The Gamegun is styled exactly like the Peacekeeper Revolver, except with a notable color difference. The peripheral came in two versions: one player and two-player. The only difference between the two is that the two-player version, which was released in 1995, came with an attached y-connector end, allowing two players to plug in two light guns to play simultaneously. With the one player version, the gun could be daisy chained with a regular 3DO controller, allowing another player to use the gamepad at the same time.

<i>Crime Patrol</i> (video game) 1993 video game

Crime Patrol is a live-action LaserDisc video game released by American Laser Games in 1993. American Laser Games released a sequel, Crime Patrol 2: Drug Wars, the following year.

<i>The Last Bounty Hunter</i> 2003 video game

The Last Bounty Hunter is a live-action laserdisc video game released by American Laser Games in 1994. Like almost all of the games produced by the now-defunct company, it is a rail shooter and, like the two installments in the Mad Dog McCree series before it, is set in the Old West. Filmed at Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona, it was one of the company's last releases before it was forced to close down. It was re-released by Digital Leisure in 2002 and was eventually packaged with Fast Draw Showdown by Global VR as an arcade cabinet under the name Six Gun Select.

<i>Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold</i> 2003 video game

Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold is a live-action laserdisc video game produced by American Laser Games, released for the arcade, Sega CD, 3DO, CD-i and DOS, the first release being in 1992; the quality of the video is the lowest on Sega CD. A sequel to the moderately popular Mad Dog McCree, the game abandoned the rather simple style of the original, introducing elements that can be considered "Hollywood", including dynamic shootout scenes and in-game music, as opposed to the original's almost complete lack thereof. Like the first game, the player follows the storyline and is required to quickly shoot certain enemies to proceed on the quest. The game was re-released by Digital Leisure in 2003 on DVD-Video and again in 2009 on the Wii as part of the Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack, a compilation that also includes the first Mad Dog game as well as The Last Bounty Hunter.

<i>Who Shot Johnny Rock?</i> video game

Who Shot Johnny Rock? is the title of a live-action full motion video laserdisc video game produced by American Laser Games and released in the arcade in 1991, as well as for MS-DOS, Sega CD, 3DO and CD-i in or around 1994. As part of a series of similar-styled games released by the company, Who Shot Johnny Rock? introduces a different setting than most of the others, while maintaining almost identical gameplay. The game was re-released by Digital Leisure around 2003 with updated video and sound, in addition to several bonus options.

<i>Time Gal</i> 1992 video game

Time Gal is an interactive movie video game developed and published by Taito, and originally released in Japan for the arcades in 1985. It is an action game which uses full motion video (FMV) to display the on-screen action. The player must correctly choose the on-screen character's actions to progress the story. The pre-recorded animation for the game was produced by Toei Animation.

<i>Crime Patrol 2: Drug Wars</i> 1993 video game

Crime Patrol 2: Drug Wars is a live-action laserdisc video game, released by American Laser Games in 1993. It was ported to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer and CD-i. It is the sequel to the arcade game Crime Patrol, with very similar gameplay, objectives and scenery. The game was re-released by Digital Leisure in 2002.

<i>Fast Draw Showdown</i> 2010 video game

Fast Draw Showdown is a live-action laserdisc video game, released by American Laser Games in 1994 for a limited number of platforms. As one of the last live-action rail shooters released by the company, which began the series with Mad Dog McCree, it is also arguably the shortest. The game was filmed entirely in at the Old Tucson Studios near Tucson, Arizona, with sets used for several notable films belonging to the Western genre.

References

  1. "Draw, Pardner!". Next Generation . No. 10. Imagine Media. October 1995. p. 27.
  2. "CD-ROM games for girls." Guardian. New Straits Times. June 1, 1995.
  3. Webb, Marcus (February 1996). "Arcadia". Next Generation . No. 14. Imagine Media. p. 29.
  4. "Taito, ALG Exit Arcades". GamePro . No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 17.
  5. 1 2 "More Layoffs for Video Game Companies". GamePro . No. 100. IDG. January 1997. p. 33.
  6. "Orbatak". Electronic Gaming Monthly . No. 75. Sendai Publishing. October 1995. p. 74.
  7. "VIRTUAL ODYSSEY TAKES ORBATAK PLAYERS INTO THIRD DIMENSION". American Laser Games (ARCHIVED). Archived from the original on October 29, 1996. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  8. "Shining Sword". Electronic Gaming Monthly . No. 83. Sendai Publishing. June 1996. p. 83.
  9. "NG Alphas: Shining Sword". Next Generation . No. 20. Imagine Media. August 1996. pp. 78–79.
  10. "Shining Sword (ARCHIVED)". American Laser Games. Archived from the original on October 29, 1996. Retrieved 28 April 2016.