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]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

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 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 .

VHS Consumer-level analog video tape recording and cassette form factor standard

VHS is a standard for consumer-level analog video recording on tape cassettes. Developed by Victor Company of Japan (JVC) in the early 1970s, it was released in Japan on September 9, 1976 and in the United States on August 23, 1977.

<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 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.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.

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") [3] 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 .

Hasbro American toy and media company

Hasbro, Inc. is an American worldwide toy and board game company. It is the largest toy maker in the world in terms of stock market value, and third largest with revenues of approximately $5.12 billion. Hasbro acquired the trademarks and products of Kenner, Parker Brothers, and Milton Bradley, among others. Among its products are Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Furby, Transformers, Nerf, My Little Pony, Twister and the Power Rangers franchise. The Hasbro brand also spawned TV shows to promote its products, such as Family Game Night on the Discovery Family network. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The majority of its products are manufactured in East Asia.

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>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.

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.

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 April 2, 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.

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. [4]

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. [5] Several popular actors, including Steve Eastin, Corey Haim and Dana Plato appeared in Digital Pictures games.

Steve Russell (computer scientist) American video game programmer and designer

Stephen "Steve" Russell is an American computer scientist most famous for creating Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games.

Steve Eastin is an American character actor. He has appeared in nearly 150 television and film roles throughout his decades long career. Steve is a descendant of the D'Estaing family of France.

Corey Haim Canadian actor

Corey Ian Haim was a Canadian actor, known for a 1980s Hollywood career as a teen idol. He starred in a number of films, such as Lucas, Silver Bullet, Murphy's Romance, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream, and Snowboard Academy. His best-known role was alongside Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys, which made Haim a household name. Known as The Two Coreys, the duo became 1980s icons and appeared together in seven movies, later starring in the A&E American reality show The Two Coreys.

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.

<i>Mortal Kombat</i> (1992 video game) 1992 video game

Mortal Kombat (MK) is an arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway in 1992 as the first title in the Mortal Kombat series. It was subsequently released by Acclaim Entertainment for nearly every home platform of the time. The game focuses on the journey of the Shaolin monk Liu Kang to save Earthrealm from the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung, ending with their confrontation in the tournament known as Mortal Kombat. It introduced many key aspects of the Mortal Kombat series, including the unique five-button control scheme and gory finishing moves called Fatalities.

Entertainment Software Rating Board North American self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings for video games

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is an American self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings to consumer video games. The ESRB was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, in response to criticism of controversial video games with excessively violent or sexual content.

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. 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.

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 released Playstation 4 remasters starting in 2018 with Double Switch and 2019 with Corpse Killer.

Games developed

TitleCastDate of releaseFormat
Citizen XSharee Gregory, Charley Hayward, Peter Kent,
Rob Narita, Mark Withers
2002 Sega CD
Corpse Killer Vincent Schiavelli, Jeremiah Birkett, Bridget Butler1994 Sega CD
Sega 32X
1995 3DO
Macintosh
Sega Saturn
2019 Playstation 4
Steam
Double Switch Corey Haim, Debbie Harry, R. Lee Ermey,
Irwin Keyes, Camille Cooper
1993 Sega CD
1995 Sega Saturn
Windows 95
2016 Google Play
iTunes
2018 Playstation 4
Steam
2019 Nintendo Switch
Ground Zero: Texas Steve Eastin, Leslie Zemeckis, Scott Lawrence,
Christopher Bradley, Rick Aiello
1993 Sega CD
Kids on SiteLarry Grennan, Scott McClain, Robin Joss1994 DOS
Sega CD
Make My Video: INXS INXS 1992 Sega CD
Make My Video: Kris Kross Kris Kross 1992 Sega CD
Make My Video: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch 1992 Sega CD
Maximum Surge Yasmine Bleeth, Walter Koenig, Michael Champion, Andy HirschN/A 3DO
Macintosh
Sega Saturn
Windows 95
Night Trap Dana Plato, Tracy Matheson, Debra Parks,
Allison Rhea, Christy Ford
1992 Sega CD
1994 3DO
DOS
Sega 32X
1995 Macintosh
2017 Playstation 4
Steam
2018 Nintendo Switch
Playstation Vita
Power Factory Featuring C+C Music Factory C+C Music Factory 1992 Sega CD
Prize Fighter Jimmy Nickerson, Manny Perry, Billy Lucas, Ben Bray1993 Sega CD
Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka Mike Ditka, Keith Neubert, Peter Kent1995 3DO
Sega Saturn
1996 DOS
2016 Google Play
iTunes
Sewer Shark David Underwood, Robert Costanzo, Kari G. Peyton1992 Sega CD
1994 3DO
Slam City with Scottie Pippen Scottie Pippen, Keith Gibbs, Malcolm Ian Cross,
Keith Neubert, Dana Wilkerson
1994 Sega CD
1995 DOS
Sega 32X
Supreme Warrior Vivian Wu, Richard Norton, Roger Yuan,
Chuck Jeffreys, Ron Yuan, Chaplin Chang
1994 3DO
Sega 32X
Sega CD
1996 Macintosh
Windows 95
What's My Story?Jill Wright1996 Macintosh

Related Research Articles

The Control-Vision is an unreleased video game console developed by Tom Zito. It is notable for using VHS tapes rather than ROM cartridges, prompting the creation of game content which survived on into much more advanced CD-ROM platforms.

American Laser Games

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 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. Almost all arcade games released by the company were light gun shooters and a number of them also had an Old West theme.

An interactive film, also known as an interactive movie or 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.

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

Voyeur is an interactive movie video game released in 1993 for the Philips CD-i. MS-DOS and Macintosh computer ports were later released. A major selling point for the game was the "mature" content of the full motion video sequences, with a number of simulated sex scenes.

<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

Ground Zero: Texas is a full motion video game, released for the Sega CD in November 1993. The game relies heavily on video footage, with which the player interacts. It contains 110 minutes of interactive footage from four different cameras. It was directed by Dwight H. Little, who is also known for the films Marked for Death and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

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

Tomcat Alley is an interactive movie FMV video game developed by The Code Monkeys for Sega CD. It was the first Sega CD game to feature extensive full screen, full motion video. It was later released, with higher quality video, for Windows-based PCs. A 32X version was also in development, but never released.

<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. The quality of the full motion video on the Sega CD version is less than that of the others. Corpse Killer was the first CD game released for the Sega 32X.

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.

<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>D</i> (video game) 1995 horror adventure video game

D is a horror themed interactive movie and adventure game developed by WARP and directed by Kenji Eno. It was first published by Panasonic for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1995, later being ported to the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and MS-DOS. The story follows Laura Harris as she goes to investigate a hospital after learning her father went on a mass murdering spree and barricaded himself inside. The hospital morphs into a castle upon her arrival, which she must explore to find her father. The player controls Laura through computer generated full motion video (FMV) sequences, and must complete the game within two hours without a save or pause function.

<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.

<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.

<i>Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine</i> 1994 video game

Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine is a game published by BMG Interactive and Rocket Science Games and developed by Rocket Science Games for the Sega CD in 1994 and MS-DOS computers in 1995.

On December 7, 1993, and March 5, 1994, members of the combined United States Senate Committees on Governmental Affairs and the Judiciary held congressional hearings with several spokespersons for companies in the video game industry including Nintendo and Sega, involving violence in video games and the perceived impacts on children. The hearing was a result of concerns raised by members of the public on the 1993 releases of Night Trap and Mortal Kombat for home consoles. Besides general concerns related to violence in video games, the situation had been inflamed by a moral panic over gun violence, as well as the state of the industry and an intense rivalry between Sega and Nintendo.

References

  1. 1 2 "The Making of...". Edge (215): 111–113. June 2010.
  2. 1 2 "Is This the End of FMV as We Know It?". Next Generation . Imagine Media (10): 6–7. October 1995.
  3. needs source
  4. Zito, Tom (March 1995). "Dispatches". Next Generation . Imagine Media (3): 106–7.
  5. "The Next Generation 1996 Lexicon A to Z: Russell, Steve". Next Generation . No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 40.