Cinemaware was a computer game developer and publisher that released several popular titles in the 1980s based on various movie themes. The company was resurrected in 2000, before being acquired by eGames in 2005.
Cinemaware Corp. (1985–1991)
Founded in 1985 by Bob and Phyllis Jacob, Cinemaware's first title was the popular Defender of the Crown, a swashbuckling adventure featuring graphics that were considered extraordinary for the era, and became the hallmark of Cinemaware's games. Cinemaware went on to release a string of hits based on a classic category of movies. Their games generally debuted on the most graphically powerful home computer of the era, the Amiga, and then ported to others, such as the Apple IIGS, Atari ST, Commodore 64, PC (running under DOS) and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Defender of the Crown is the most ported Cinemaware game.
Cinemaware eventually expanded to sports games, with its "TV Sports" line, which featured elements of sports telecasts such as studio announcers. The "TV Sports" line covered basketball, ice hockey and football. Some of the titles were only known by "TV Sports" name in Europe, TV Sports: Boxing and TV Sports: Baseball, which were released in the United States by Data East as ABC Wide World of Sports Boxing and Bo Jackson Baseball respectively.
Cinemaware went bankrupt in 1991. While porting S.D.I. to another system, one of the company's owners demanded the programmers add more features, increasing the programming time and delaying the product's release. Coupled with falling sales of their other titles in the midst of an economic downturn, the company suffered. The company also suffered from software piracy, threatening to stop publishing Amiga games at several points because of the ease by which computer games could be copied. Many of their games, including Wings, were cracked and spread amongst gamers even before release.
Cinemaware's classic titles in chronological order:
- Defender of the Crown (swashbuckling movies; 1986, Apple IIGS, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, DOS, Macintosh)
- S.D.I. (Cold war era space drama; 1986, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, DOS, Macintosh)
- The King of Chicago (inspired by mob movies; 1987, Apple IIGS, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh)
- Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon (Sinbad and Arabian nights movies; 1987, Apple IIGS, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS)
- The Three Stooges (The Three Stooges movies; 1987, Apple IIGS, Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS, NES)
- Rocket Ranger (1950s science fiction serials; 1988, Apple IIGS, Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS, NES)
- TV Sports: Football (1988, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS)
- Lords of the Rising Sun (Japanese Samurai movies; 1988, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
- It Came from the Desert (1950s science fiction/monster movies; 1989, Amiga, Atari ST, Mega Drive, Turbo Grafx 16, DOS)
- The Kristal (1989, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
- TV Sports: Baseball (1989, Amiga)
- TV Sports: Basketball (1990, Amiga, DOS)
- Antheads: It Came from the Desert 2 (1990, Amiga)
- Wings (World War I movies; 1990, Amiga)
- TV Sports: Boxing (1991, Amiga, DOS)
Cinemaware Inc. (2000–2005)
Lars Fuhrken-Batista later bought the Cinemaware trademark and associated intellectual property, founding Cinemaware Inc. in 2000. Cinemaware immediately developed recreations of its popular past titles, updated for Microsoft Windows and the Apple Macintosh. Dubbed the "Digitally Remastered" editions, these games feature the same gameplay as the originals, but with updated graphics. They also ported some of their older games to handheld systems, such as the Game Boy Advance. On their website, they have also released disk images of their original titles for use with emulators and some are emulated via Macromedia Shockwave.
The new Cinemaware also developed modern retakes on their classic games. Their first game in this endeavour was Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown which features a modern 3D engine and was released in September 2003 for Windows, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Sales of this title seemed to have suffered due to insufficient marketing and poor reviews. Since the 1.02 patch for Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown in December 2003, Cinemaware has made no official announcements for its other games. One developer made a statement in the website's forums in October 2004 stating Cinemaware is still working on these projects, but no other announcements have been made since.
- Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (2003, PS2, Xbox, Windows)
- Defender of the Crown (GBA)
- The Three Stooges (GBA, PlayStation)
- Wings (2003, GBA)
- Defender of the Crown: Digitally Remastered Edition (Windows, Macintosh)
- The Three Stooges: Digitally Remastered Edition (2002, Windows, Mac)
- Wings: Digitally Remastered Edition (postponed, Windows, Mac)
- Lords of the Rising Sun: Digitally Remastered Edition (postponed, Windows, Mac)
On October 6, 2005, Cinemaware was acquired by predominantly family oriented game publisher eGames, Inc., and Lars Furken-Batista became Vice President of Development. Shortly after the acquisition, eGames announced the launch of Cinemaware Marquee, a publishing label to be used to bring new games to the U.S. market. Their first published game was Space Rangers 2, a critically acclaimed space-adventure. They have also brought retail releases of Darwinia from Introversion Software, Moscow to Berlin from Monte Cristo and Neighbours from Hell: On Vacation and Buccaneer's Bounty from German publisher Ascaron to the American market. In 2007, eGames released an Adobe Flash version of Defender of the Crown for download via their website, entitled Defender of the Crown: Heroes Live Forever.
- Cinemaware, Inc., Macrovision, retrieved 2008-08-20
- To Arms! New Defender of the Crown Unleashed on www.eGames.com, eGames, retrieved 2008-08-20