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Digital Pictures

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. The six founders met in the late 1980s while working at Isix, a subsidiary of the toy manufacture Hasbro.

Hasbro LogoThe Isix team was developing a video game system codenamed NEMO that used VHS tapes rather than cartridges for its media. The VHS tapes allowed games to feature live action and interactive full motion video. In conjunction with the prototype console they also developed a software prototype called Scene of The Crime, which led to the production of two full-length games, Night Trap and Sewer Shark.

Development for NEMO began in 1985 and was supported by Nolan Bushnell’s company Axlon which included Apple Computer’s co-founder Steve Wozniak. They created a prototype using a modified ColecoVision console to combine interactive images with a video stream transmitted through a cable. Hasbro backed the prototype agreeing to invest $7 million in exchange for the video game rights to the technology.

Three demo games were created by mid 1986 and the NEMO was given the name Control-Vision. After the development of the three demos, an interactive mystery, a baseball game and interactive music video the development team received approval from the executives at Hasbro to continue forward with the project and create two full games for the system.

Night Trap BoxIn 1987 the Isix team started development on the interactive movie Night Trap and Sewer Shark. After filming Sewer Shark at a cost of $3 million Hasbro announced on October 19, 1988 that it has decided to pull the plug on its secretive $26 million video game console as it would be too expensive for most families to purchase.

After Hasbro decided not to move forward with the Control-Vision, they proceeded with closing its Isix subsidiary. The key members of the Isix team founded Digital Pictures in 1991 and purchased the software assets from Hasbro. The newly formed Digital Pictured turned their attention to Sega’s upcoming add-on peripheral for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive the Sega CD / Mega-CD as the optical disc media would be better suited for their game than cartridge-based media.

Sewer Shark BoxIn converting Night Trap and Sewer Shark to the Sega CD platform, Digital Pictures modified the software by having the console read all four tracks worth of data as a single continuous stream to minimize seek times on the CD. In order to work within the systems limitation, the development team had to create a custom video codec to highly compress the data streams so they could be read in real-time from the CD based media.

Both games were very successful and helped propel the Sega CD add-on, so much so that Sega negotiated a deal with Digital Pictures to bundle Sewer Shark with the Sega CD in North America. The mature-themed content found in Night Trap was the source of controversy which seem to just enhance its popularity.

Digital Pictures continued to create other full motion video-based titles primarily for the Sega CD and are regarded as a pioneer of the interactive movie genre. However, in the mid 1990s the demand for full motion video games dropped substantially and Digital Pictures ended up closing in 1996.

Digital Pictures Logo

Digital Pictures

TypePrivately Owned
LocationSan Mateo, CA
United States
DeveloperDigital Pictures
Founded1991
Defunct1996
FoundersLode Coen
Mark Klein
Ken Melville
Anne Flaut-Reed
Kevin Welsh
Tom Zito

Known For:

The Story of Digital Pictures & The Sega CD's FMV Games

 

Wrestling With Gaming

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The Story of Digital Pictures & The Sega CD's Full Motion Video Games | Wrestling With Gaming
  • Games Developed by Digital Pictures
  • Digital Pictures Staff

YearBoxTitlePlatformPublisherGenre
1992Night Trap BoxNight TrapSega CD
3DO
DOS
Sega CD 32X
Macintosh
SegaInteractive Movie
1992Sewer Shark BoxSewer SharkSega CD
3DO
Sony ImagesoftRail Shooter
1992Make My Video - INXS BoxMake My Video: INXSSega CDSegaMusic Video Editor
1992Make My Video - Kris Kross BoxMake My Video: Kris KrossSega CDSony ImagesoftMusic Video Editor
1992Make My Video - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch BoxMake My Video: Marky Mark and the Funky BunchSega CDSegaMusic Video Editor
1992Power Factory Featuring C+C Music Factory BoxPower Factory Featuring C+C Music FactorySega CDSony ImagesoftMusic Video Editor
1993Prize Fighter BoxPrize FighterSega CDSegaSports
Boxing
1993Ground Zero Texas BoxGround Zero: TexasSega CDSony ImagesoftInteractive Movie
1993Double Switch BoxDouble SwitchSega CD
Sega Saturn
Windows
SegaInteractive Movie
1994Corpse Killer BoxCorpse KillerSega CD
Sega CD 32X
3DO
Macintosh
Sega Saturn
Digital PicturesSurvival Horror
Action
1994Kids on Site BoxKids on SiteSega CD
DOS
Macintosh
Digital PicturesSimulation
1994Slam City with Scottie Pippen BoxSlam City with Scottie PippenSega CD
DOS
Sega CD 32X
Digital PicturesSports
Basketball
1994Supreme Warrior BoxSupreme WarriorSega CD
Sega CD 32X
3DO
DOS
Macintosh
Digital PicturesAction
1995Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka BoxQuarterback Attack with Mike Ditka3DO
Sega Saturn
DOS
Digital PicturesSports
Football
1996What's My Story BoxWhat's My Story?MacintoshDigital PicturesInteractive Movie
CancelledCitizen X BoxCitizen XSega CDDigital PicturesAction
CancelledMaximum Surge BoxMaximum Surge3DO
Macintosh
Windows
Sega Saturn
Digital PicturesInteractive Movie
Shooter

ProfileNameRoleTenure
Lode CoenCo-founder
Director, Computer Graphics
1991-1996
Profile PlaceholderMark KleinCo-founder
VP Engineering
1991-1996
Kenneth MelvilleKenneth MelvilleCo-founder
Designer
Writer
1991-1996
Anne Flautt ReadCo-founder
Production Accountant
1991-1996
Kevin WelshKevin WelshCo-founder
VP Marketing
1991-1996
Tom ZitoTom ZitoCo-founder
Executive Producer
1991-1996
Amanda LathroumProducer1991-1994
Profile PlaceholderMartin ErlichmanChairman of the  Board1991-1993
Steve DeFriscoSteve DeFriscoProgrammer1992-1994
Ken SoohooKen SoohooProgrammer1992-1994
Profile PlaceholderDavid PierTester1992
Profile PlaceholderMatt KellnerTester1992
Dena MaherasProduction Assistant1992-1994
Malia LewisProduction Assistant1992
Profile PlaceholderCuyler GeeComputer Graphic Animation1992-1994
Profile PlaceholderJoshua SolomonInterface Design1992-1994
Profile PlaceholderTyler JohnsonExecutive Producer1994