Digital Pictures

Last updated
Digital Pictures
Industry Video game industry
Founded1991 (1991)
FoundersLode Coen
Mark Klein
Ken Melville
Anne Flaut-Reed
Kevin Welsh
Tom Zito
Defunct1996 (1996)
Headquarters,
Products Interactive movies

Digital Pictures was an American video game developer founded in 1991 by Lode Coen, Mark Klein, Ken Melville, Anne Flaut-Reed, Kevin Welsh and Tom Zito. [1]

Contents

The company originated from an attempt to produce a game for the failed VHS-based NEMO game system. One of its first titles, Night Trap (starring Dana Plato) was originally produced as a title for the NEMO, before being converted for use with Sega's new Sega CD. The mature-themed content of Night Trap made it the source of some controversy. Nevertheless, the title was a bestseller. Digital Pictures went on to create other full motion video-based titles primarily for Sega hardware, and are regarded as a pioneer of the interactive movie genre. [2] However, the company declined in the mid-1990s due to waning interest in full motion video games. Its final title, Maximum Surge went unreleased and was later repurposed into a film called Game Over .

Full motion video games

The founders of Digital Pictures met in the late 1980s while working at a division of the toy manufacturer Hasbro originally called Hasbro Interactive and later renamed Isix. The Isix team developed a video game system called NEMO (a code name abbreviation for "never ever mention outside")[ citation needed ] that used VHS tapes rather than cartridges, which allowed games to offer live action and interactive full motion video. They also developed a software prototype called Scene Of The Crime, which led to the production of two full-length titles, Night Trap and Sewer Shark .

After Hasbro executives declined to bring the NEMO system to market, closing its Isix division, key members of the Isix team founded Digital Pictures in 1991 and purchased the NEMO software assets from Hasbro. Digital Pictures converted Night Trap and Sewer Shark from their video-tape-based format to the Sega CD platform.

We're betting, ultimately, when there's an interactive cable converter sitting atop everyone's TV set, that something that feels like Citizen Kane (or at least Leave It to Beaver ) will have more legs than something that feels like Mario or Princess Toadstool. [3]

Tom Zito

Throughout the 1990s, Digital Pictures continued to design interactive full motion video games for the CD-ROM format. [2] Steve Russell worked for the company for a time. [4] Several celebrities, including actors Steve Eastin, Corey Haim, Yasmine Bleeth, R. Lee Ermey, and Dana Plato; sports stars Scottie Pippen and Mike Ditka; and musicians Debbie Harry, INXS, Kris Kross, C+C Music Factory, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, appeared in Digital Pictures games.

Controversy

In the early 1990s, Night Trap was singled out by numerous interest groups and by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Herbert Kohl as evidence that the video game industry was marketing games with graphic violence and other adult content to minors. Concern about Night Trap and several other games such as Mortal Kombat helped to bring about the creation of the ESRB video game rating system.

Decline

By the late 1990s, consumer interest in full-motion video games, which accounted for the majority of the company's profits, was in decline. After the collapse of the company, its assets were acquired by Cyber Cinema Interactive. The new company intended to re-release the games for DVD but that never came about. [5] The only actual production for Cyber Cinema was the direct to video film Game Over – also known as Maximum Surge Movie. It used footage from an unreleased video game called Maximum Surge as well as clips from other Digital Pictures games. Although the film boasted stars such as Yasmine Bleeth and Walter Koenig, they only appear in the segments that had been pulled from the FMV sequences of the game, which suffer from lower image quality than the original footage. [6]

Flash Film Works later acquired the rights to some of the games. They remastered and re-released Double Switch and Quarterback Attack for iTunes and Google Play in late 2016 before partnering with Screaming Villains and Limited Run Games to release PlayStation 4 remasters starting in 2018 with Double Switch and 2019 with Corpse Killer. [7]

Games developed

TitleCastDate of releaseFormatReference
Citizen XSharee Gregory, Charley Hayward, Peter Kent,
Rob Narita, Mark Withers
2002 Sega CD [8]
Corpse Killer Vincent Schiavelli, Jeremiah Birkett, Bridget Butler1994 Sega CD [9]
Sega 32X [10]
1995 3DO [11]
Macintosh [12]
Sega Saturn [13]
2019 PlayStation 4 [14]
Steam [15]
Double Switch Corey Haim, Deborah Harry, R. Lee Ermey,
Irwin Keyes, Camille Cooper
1993 Sega CD [16]
1995 Sega Saturn [17]
Windows 95 [18]
2016 Google Play [19]
iTunes [20]
2018 PlayStation 4 [21]
Steam [22]
2019 Nintendo Switch [23]
Ground Zero: Texas Steve Eastin, Leslie Zemeckis, Scott Lawrence,
Christopher Bradley, Rick Aiello
1993 Sega CD [24]
Kids on SiteLarry Grennan, Scott McClain, Robin Joss1994 DOS [25]
Macintosh [26]
Sega CD [27]
Make My Video: INXS INXS 1992 Sega CD [28]
Make My Video: Kris Kross Kris Kross 1992 Sega CD [29]
Make My Video: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch 1992 Sega CD [30]
Maximum Surge Yasmine Bleeth, Walter Koenig, Michael Champion, Andy HirschN/A 3DO [31]
Macintosh
Sega Saturn
Windows 95
Night Trap Dana Plato, Tracy Matheson, Debra Parks,
Allison Rhea, Christy Ford
1992 Sega CD [32]
1994 3DO [33]
DOS [34]
Sega 32X [35]
1995 Macintosh [36]
2017 PlayStation 4 [37]
Steam [38]
2018 Nintendo Switch [39]
PlayStation Vita [40]
Power Factory Featuring C+C Music Factory C+C Music Factory 1992 Sega CD [41]
Prize Fighter Jimmy Nickerson, Manny Perry, Billy Lucas, Ben Bray1993 Sega CD [42]
Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka Mike Ditka, Keith Neubert, Peter Kent1995 3DO [43]
Sega Saturn [44]
1996 DOS [45]
2016 Google Play [46]
iTunes [47]
Sewer Shark David Underwood, Robert Costanzo, Kari G. Peyton1992 Sega CD [48]
1994 3DO [49]
Slam City with Scottie Pippen Scottie Pippen, Keith Gibbs, Malcolm Ian Cross,
Keith Neubert, Dana Wilkerson
1994 Sega CD [50]
1995 DOS [51]
Sega 32X [52]
Supreme Warrior Vivian Wu, Richard Norton, Roger Yuan,
Chuck Jeffreys, Ron Yuan, Chaplin Chang
1994 3DO [53]
Sega 32X [54]
Sega CD [55]
1996 DOS [56]
Macintosh [57]
What's My Story?Jill Wright1996 Macintosh [58]

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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>Night Trap</i> 1992 video game

Night Trap is an interactive movie video game developed by Digital Pictures and originally released by Sega for the Sega CD in 1992. The game is presented primarily through the use of full motion video (FMV). In Night Trap, the player takes the role of a special agent tasked to watch over teenage girls having a sleepover visiting a house which, unbeknownst to them, is full of danger. The player watches live surveillance footage of the house and triggers traps to capture anyone seen endangering the girls. The player can freely switch their view between different cameras to keep watch over the girls and eavesdrop on conversations to follow the story and listen for clues.

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<i>Brain Dead 13</i> video game

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<i>Double Switch</i> (video game) 1993 video game

Double Switch is an adventure interactive movie video game originally released for Sega CD, Sega Saturn and Microsoft Windows and later remastered for mobile, Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game was produced by Digital Pictures and had a similar "trap-em-up" format to Space Panic, Heiankyo Alien, and their earlier game, Night Trap. Apart from the HUD, the graphics consist of live action full motion video clips starring Corey Haim.

<i>Ground Zero: Texas</i> 1993 shoot em up video game

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<i>Tomcat Alley</i> 1994 video game

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<i>Corpse Killer</i> 1995 video game

Corpse Killer is a game released for the Sega CD, Sega CD 32X, 3DO, Sega Saturn, Windows 95 and Macintosh computers that features live-action full motion video in a format similar to other games developed by Digital Pictures. It was later remastered for Steam and PlayStation 4. Corpse Killer was the first CD game released for the Sega 32X.

<i>Sewer Shark</i> 1992 video game

Sewer Shark is a first-person rail shooter video game, and is the first on a home console to use full motion video for its primary gameplay. It was originally slated to be the flagship product in Hasbro's Control-Vision video game system, which would use VHS tapes as its medium. However, Hasbro cancelled the Control-Vision platform, and Digital Pictures later developed the game for the Sega CD expansion unit. Sewer Shark is one of the first titles for the Sega CD and one of its best-selling games, leading Sega to eventually bundle it with Sega CD units. It was later ported and released for the 3DO in 1994. A port was also planned for the SNES-CD, but that system was cancelled.

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Maximum Surge is a cancelled game by Digital Pictures. Planned for release in 1996 for the 3DO, Mac, PC and Sega Saturn, it was to feature full-motion video in the same way that many of Digital Pictures' releases of the time did. The game's 90 minutes of video footage starred Walter Koenig and Yasmine Bleeth, was directed by William Mesa, and was written by J. Garrett Glover and Charlie Ogden.

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<i>Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka</i> 1995 video game

Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka is a 1995 football video game published by Digital Pictures for the Sega Saturn, 3DO and MS-DOS. It features Mike Ditka as head coach of the player's team. Unlike in most football video games, the player does not control an entire team. Instead, Quarterback Attack attempts to simulate the experience of being a professional quarterback, with the other players rendered in full motion video (FMV). This break with convention divided critical response to the game.

<i>Slam City with Scottie Pippen</i> 1994 video game

Slam City with Scottie Pippen is the first FMV basketball video game. It was developed by Digital Pictures for the PC and CD-ROM-based video game consoles such as the Sega CD. Scottie Pippen stars in the game, and performed the theme song. Ron Stein, who had previously directed the video footage for Prize Fighter, directed the video footage for the game. A 3DO Interactive Multiplayer version was announced but never released.

<i>Supreme Warrior</i> 1994 video game

Supreme Warrior is a full motion video action game developed by Digital Pictures. It was released in 1995 for North America and Europe for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Sega CD, and 32X with a Sega CD attached, as well as for Macintosh and Windows. The game is themed as a kung fu movie where the player has to fight off opponents to protect half of a magical mask. Reviews of Supreme Warrior are mixed, variously praising the game's graphics while criticizing the gameplay and overuse of full motion video in the game.

Make My Video is a series of three video games by Digital Pictures in 1992 for the Sega CD. The games featured three songs from the respective musical groups, and the player edited pre-made clips to make a new music video. The games were universally panned and were financial disasters.

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