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hits of the 80s aussie games that rocked the world

beam software timeline


1978

Melbourne House (Publishers) Ltd established by Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen in the UK as a book publishing company

1980
Melbourne House Publishers become interested in distribution of US computer games and books for the UK market

Sinclair ZX80 released in the UK

Alfred Milgrom writes the first computer book for Melbourne House, '30 Programs for the Sinclair ZX80' and Melbourne House distributes the book in the UK

Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen return to Melbourne, Australia, and establish Beam Software as a computer development company

William Tang becomes first Beam employee in December 1980

1981
Sinclair ZX81 released

Melbourne House continues to develop computer books

Commodore Vic 20 released

Beam obtains the licensing rights to 'The Hobbit' by promising to release the book in conjunction with the game, and begins development of a new style of adventure game

1982
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (full-colour computer) released

Commodore 64 released

Adam Lancman joins Beam Software as Financial Director

Hungry Horace and Horace Goes Skiing released. These are packaged with the new Sinclair Spectrum and are the first arcade games for the Spectrum
 
The seminal game,The Hobbit, is released for the Spectrum. It reaches number one in Europe and creates an obsessive culture of fans

1983
The Hobbit gets converted to most computer formats

Sophisticated arcade game, Penetrator, is released

Melbourne Draw, a graphic toolkit created specifically for the ZX Spectum isreleased. It was user-friendly and had fast screen handling. It was a program that was considered useful to professional graphic artists and programmers

1984
Apple Macintosh released

HURG (High-level User-friendly Real Time Games) released. A revolutionary concept, HURG offered a menu driven program that enabled people with little or no programming knowledge to make their own games.

1985
Geoff Heath is appointed Managing Director for Melbourne House. By this time Melbourne House has 12 full-time employees in the UK.

The highly anticipated sequel to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings is released. This is released for most formats and also came packaged with the book 'Fellowship of the Ring'.

The Way of the Exploding Fist, the first martial arts combat game for the home computer, is released. It immediately becomes the best-selling title across Europe.

Beam starts reverse engineering of the Japanese console, Nintendo Famicom.

1986
Beam International sales have 10% of the UK market across all formats.

Rock 'n Wrestle (Bop 'n Wrestle in the US), the first wrestling game for the home computer market released.

Sequel to text adventure game Mugsy, Mugsy's Revenge is released. The comic book style graphics were applauded.

Fist 2, sequel to The Way of the Exploding Fist is released.

Nintendo releases the Famicom into the US market under the name Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

1987
The UK company, Melbourne House (Publishers) Ltd, is sold to the Mastertronic Group.

Beam develops its own Nintendo development system as a result of its reverse engineering. Beam Software starts development for the Nintendo NES.

Street Hassle released on most formats including the NES (also known as Bop 'n Rumble and Bad Street Brawler).

Nintendo grants Beam Software a developer licence for the NES on condition that it discontinues sale of its development system. Beam becomes only the second non-Japanese company to be granted a Nintendo development licence.

1988
Melbourne House is included in the Virgin Group after Virgin's take-over of Mastertronic. Virgin ceases distribution of games under the 'Melbourne House' imprint.

Beam develops for Nintendo publishers in the US and in Japan.

T-Wrecks (aka The Muncher for commercial tie-in) released only on the Spectrum.

Bedlam! released.

Exploding Fist + released

1989
Nintendo releases Gameboy

Beam releases Aussie Games into the US market

Beams starts to develop games for the NEC PC-9801 and NEC PC-Engine for the Japanese market

Adam Lancman becomes shareholder and Joint Managing Director of Beam

1990
Hunt for Red October released for the Gameboy. It was the first Gameboy game to feature head-to-head arcade action

Star Wars for Lucas Films is completed for the NES

There are now 30 people working in games development at Beam Software

1991
Nintendo SNES released in the US and Japan (1992 for the UK)

Super Smash TV released for the SNES and was the first game to feature fast arcade action on the SNES

Beam Software starts LaserBeam Entertainment as a subsidiary to publish Nintendo games. They become the only Australian company to obtain a licence from Nintendo to publish games
 
1992
Aussie Rules Footy and International Cricket (released by LaserBeam for the NES) released, reaching number one in Australia

Four Beam titles are nominated at the Nintendo Power Nestor Awards

1995
Sony Playstation released (1994 Japan)

SNES Cricket reaches number one in both Australia and the UK

Melbourne House develops a monthly CD-ROM based magazine called 'The Disc', distributed by newsagencies throughout Australia

1996
Nintendo 64 released

Beam becomes the first publicly listed games company on the Australian Stock Exchange under the name Beam International Limited

Beam International Limited re-registers the lapsed Melbourne House brand name

Beam is the five-time winner at the ATOM Awards (Australian International Multimedia)

1997
Beam wins Australian Multimedia Export Award

Beam establishes hotgames.com - creating a community for news, reviews and downloads for PC games. The site wins the Best Games Site award at the Australian Internet Awards

Krush Kill 'n Destroy (KKND) and Cricket 97 are released with worldwide distribution through Electronic Arts

Beam announces 'Smarty Pants', a division of Beam devoted to educational multimedia

1999
Beam International Limited sells the games development and publishing businesses (Beam and Melbourne House) to Infogrames, which becomes Infogrames Melbourne House. At the time of this sale, there were 130 people in games development at Beam

As part of the sale, the listed company (Beam International Limited) changes its name to Blaze Limited and develops software and provides services for the entertainment, telecommunications and education industries

Adam Lancman continues as CEO of Infogrames Melbourne House

GP500 released for Windows. It is considered to be one of the milestones in games development because of its attention to detail

2000
Sony Playstation released

Le Mans Dreamcast released and voted 'Best Driving Game' on any platform worldwide by EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly)

2001
Nintendo Game Cube released

Nintendo Gameboy Advance released

Microsoft Xbox released

Founder Alfred Milgrom and CEO/MD Adam Lancman resign from the board of Blaze Limited, selling all their shares

Alfred Milgrom takes control of Smarty Pants Publishing Pty Ltd, the educational development business initially developed by Beam International

2003
Infogrames adopts the brand name Atari for its global commercial operations
Infogrames Melbourne House is renamed Atari Melbourne House

Grand Prix Challenge released and voted 'Top Driving Game' for the Sony Playstation 2

2004
Transformers Armada released. Voted one of the Best Games of 2004

2006
Melbourne House is purchased in November 2006 by Australia's largest games developer, Krome Studios, as an extension of their Brisbane Studios
 

 
 
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