Friday, August 27, 2010

Melbourne House (now Krome) turns 30

One of the industry's longest-surviving companies is Australian Melbourne House, and it's about to celebrate its 30th birthday.

There's a good write-up about the celebration plans for Melbourne House on 2nd September at tsumea,but it's a good chance to take a look at one of the most important development houses in Australia's games industry history.

Founded in 1980 as Beam Software, the studio rose to prominence thanks to two early 80's games - text-based adventure game, The Hobbit, and early-era fighting game The Way of the Exploding Fist. The studio followed this early success with Samurai Warrior, Fist +, Bedlam and The Muncher.

The Hobbit - remember this one? It was awesome.
Beam was also capable in the console arena, and achieved something that developers now struggle with. Despite the small captive market for cricket and AFL games, it made successful iterations of both for both the NES and SNES consoles.

I lost months of my life to this game. It's primitive now, but still better than current-gen cricket games
It was also the team behind the enormously popular cult title, Shadowrun, and the PC Krush Kill 'n' Destroy franchise, which saw three releases.

In 1999 Beam was acquired by Infogrames, at which point it was renamed to Infogrames Melbourne House.

Games developed for the PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and Gamecube included Test Drive: Le Mans and Looney Tunes: Space Race, Grand Prix Challenge and the enormously-popular and critically acclaimed Transformers: Armada.

In November 2006 Krome Studios acquired Melbourne House from its (at that time) owners, Atari, and renamed the house to Krome Studios Melbourne.

Here's hoping to another 30 years, Melbourne House/ Krome
Although Krome Studios has had its difficulties of late, Melbourne House's legacy lives on. Happy 30th, guys.

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