Tuesday, 4 March 2008

australian games feature in game on

The Hobbit (1982, Beam Software, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: ZX Spectrum

Beam Software (Melbourne House) was Australia's first electronic game company and the developer of some of the most internationally successful computer games of the early '80s including The Hobbit, and The Way of the Exploding Fist. Few people are aware of the extraordinary contribution that this pioneering game studio in South Melbourne made to the global games industry. Videogames were in their infancy and the home personal computer market barely existed. No one could have predicted then that videogames would grow into a multi-billion dollar industry and dramatically change our relationship with the screen.

The ZX Spectrum with full colour and 48K of memory (considered massive for the time), provided the platform for one of Beam's most successful games, The Hobbit (1982). It was a huge hit internationally, particularly in Europe, selling over a million copies and to this day remains one of the classic text-based adventure games. With most people not knowing what a computer game was, obtaining the rights to develop The Hobbit was not straightforward. The computer game industry did not exist, the sales potential was completely unknown and no-one had previously granted electronic game rights to a book. The publishers of the book were initially approached, but their rights did not extend to electronic rights, and they advised Beam to negotiate a license directly with the Tolkien Estate. It was only granted thanks to Beam's canny idea of bundling the book together with the game. At the height of its popularity, Beam received 50 to 60 letters a day from obsessed fans! Popular Computing Weekly, the UK-based magazine, ran a regular help column for players.


Heroes of the Pacific (2005, IR Gurus, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: Xbox

December 7th, 1941: A Japanese naval strike force, including six aircraft carriers, turns into the wind 235 miles north of Oahu, Hawaii. Almost 200 fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes are launched into the air. Their target: Pearl Harbour. Heroes of the Pacific begins with the attack on Pearl Harbour and lets the player participate in some of the most memorable battles of the Pacific campaign, including Wake Island, Midway, and Coral Sea. Players can experience the epic scope of the battles, placing hundreds of planes on the screen in a single confrontation.
www.transmissiongames.com/ and www.heroesofthepacific.com/


Pony Friends (2007, Tantalus Interactive, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: NDS Lite

With over ten years of experience, Melbourne based Tantalus Interactive is one of Australia's leading video game developers. Specialising in handheld games they have created such acclaimed titles as Top Gear Rally for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Sponge Bob Square Pants: The Yellow Avenger. Pony Friends, their recent Nintendo DS game, has been a big international hit.
www.tantalus.com.au/

Open Studio with Tantalus Interactive (April 12 - 13, 2008)
Over the weekend of April 12 - 13, Tantalus Interactive will hold a special Open Studio weekend at ACMI. Drop into ACMI and see game artists from Tantalus Interactive at work. Find out more here


Puzzle Quest (2007 Infinite Interactive, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: X Box 360 Live Arcade

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a genre-bending title that ups the ante on traditional puzzle games by incorporating strategy, role-playing elements and a persistent storyline. Set in the Warlords universe, the game challenges players to save the land of Etheria from evil Lord Bane as gamers engage in battles fought by means of competitive, head-to-head "match-three" style puzzle games in one of three gameplay modes: Single-player, Instant Action or Multiplayer. Winner of Best Game for 2007, Game Development Association of Australia Industry Awards
www.infinite-interactive.com/puzzlequest/


Sonic X (2007, Torus Games, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: Leapster Leapfrog

Sonic X for the Leapster and Leapster L-Max is suited for player's ages 5-7 years old. Players will enjoy navigating Sonic thru 3 different worlds, while improving their Counting, Addition, Subtraction skills.
www.torusgames.com/

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (2002, Krome Studios, Brisbane)
Platform in exhibition: PlayStation 2

Meet TY... a wild, yet charismatic, boomerang wielding Tasmanian Tiger whose adventures take the player through a brilliantly animated 3D environment set in the ruggedness and splendor of Australia. TY the Tasmanian Tiger series is an international bestseller that has brought Australian games (and fauna!) to the world, selling over 2 million copies worldwide.
www.kromestudios.com/


Way of the Exploding Fist (1985, Beam Software, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: Commodore 64

Designed originally for the Commodore 64 in 1985, The Way of the Exploding Fist was the brainchild of Beam programmer, Gregg Barnett. He wanted to create a sports simulation game where the moves were both modeled on real actions and intuitive to the joystick controller. Taking its style and title from the movies it was the first ever 'beat-em-up' for the home PC. It also launched a new style of game play.

The character was one of the first created by graphic artists rather than programmers. The groundbreaking play involved special combination moves and used the joystick intuitively to flow the action. The game was also cutting edge in its 'realistic' graphics and use of sounds to dramatise the action. It hit number one in sales throughout Europe, helping Beam solidify their position as one of the biggest games developers and publishers of the 1980s.


Also featuring in the exhibition:

Powerslide (1988, Ratbag, Adelaide)
Platform in exhibition: PC

Le Mans (2000, Melbourne House, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: Dreamcast

Dark Reign (1997, Auran, Brisbane)
Platform in exhibition: PC

Destroy All Humans (2006, Pandemic Studios, Brisbane)
Platform in exhibition: PlayStation 2
www.pandemicstudios.com/

Transformers (2004, Melbourne House, Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: PlayStation 2
www.atari.com.au/


Australian games will also be featuring in live gameplay in the Screen Pit:

De Blob (2008, Blue Tongue Entertainment a THQ Company), Melbourne)
Platform in exhibition: Wii
Save the city and liberate the citizen! Enter an alien world where color is outlawed and the citizens are like zombies. To restore colour to the city de Blob crushes the Leech Bots, absorbs the pigment they carry, and uses the pigment/paint to colour everything it touches.
http://www.thq-games.com/au/

Viva Pinata: Party Animals (2007, Krome Studios, Brisbane)
Platform in exhibition: Xbox 360
A party gaming extravaganza developed exclusively for Xbox 360, Viva Piñata: Party Animals is a social party game for gamers age 6 and up that is set inside an episode of the critically acclaimed 4Kids TVT Viva Piñata animated series. Winner of Best Graphics and Best Audio 2007, Game Development Association of Australia Industry Awards.
http://www.kromestudios.com/

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
[email] claire.butler@acmi.net.au  
 
 
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