Ocean Software

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Ocean Software
Former type Video game developer and publisher
Fate Acquired by Infogrames in 1996 and renamed to Infogrames UK in 1998.
Predecessors Spectrum Software
Successors Infogrames UK (1998)
Atari UK (2004)
Atari, Inc (2009)
Founded 1984
Defunct 1998 (Renamed)
Headquarters 6, Central Street, Manchester, England
Key people David Ward, Jon Woods, Gary Bracey, Marc Djan (ocean france)

Ocean Software Ltd (also known in the United States as Ocean of America, Inc.), commonly referred to as Ocean, was a British software development company, that became one of the biggest European video game developers/publishers of the 1980s and 1990s. It was acquired by a French holding company, Infogrames in 1996 and renamed to Infogrames UK in 1998, and again in 2004 to Atari UK, and once again in 2009 now known as Atari, Inc.

The company was founded by David Ward and Jon Woods and was based in Manchester. Ocean developed dozens of games for a variety of systems such as the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, MSX, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 16, Atari ST, Amiga, PC, and video game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive.

History[edit]

The company's early releases in 1984 (Moon Alert, Hunchback, High Noon, Gilligan's Gold, Daley Thompson's Decathlon etc.) were developed in-house, but later in that year Ocean Software acquired its former Liverpool rival, the defunct software developer Imagine, and focus shifted from development to publication of games. Also in 1984, Ocean struck a deal with Konami to publish their arcade games for home computers.

  • In 1985, Ocean Software managed to secure the first movie licences, such as Rambo, Short Circuit and Cobra, as well as the TV show Miami Vice and RoboCop which spent about a year on the top of the charts.
  • In 1986, Ocean Software created with Marc DJAN Ocean Software France. This 16-bit studio will create most of the 16-bit arcade conversation between 1986 and 1991 then became the French marketing and sales subsidiary of Ocean software Ltd.
  • Ocean was acquired by Infogrames in 1996 for £100,000,000 and renamed to Infogrames UK in 1998.

Tape loaders[edit]

One of the most recognizable features of Ocean games on the Commodore 64 was the Ocean Loader. Since this computer used cassettes as storage, loading a game could take several minutes. Ocean used a special loading system that displayed a picture based on the game and played music while the game was loading. The Ocean loader music is still popular by fans of chiptunes. Five versions of the tune exist; 1 and 2 were composed by Martin Galway, 3 by Peter Clarke, 4 and 5 by Jonathan Dunn. The Ocean Loader was first used in the game Hyper Sports. Up to 1987 the Ocean Loader was written by the in house Ocean programmer Bill Barna, from 1987 to the end of the Commodore 64's commercial life the loader was replaced by "Freeload" written by in house programmer Paul Hughes.[2][3]

On the ZX Spectrum, games after 1984 generally used the Speedlock protection system, which eventually included a countdown timer showing the time left to load a game.[4]

In 2004 for some of the Ocean development tools the source code was released by Paul Hughes.[5]

Licensed games[edit]

Screenshot of Highlander for the Commodore 64

Ocean was famous for often buying the rights to make video games from different arcade, movie and television franchises. Many license games combined several styles for example featuring platform action and car driving. The most well received[citation needed] license games by Ocean were RoboCop (1988), Batman The Movie (1989) and Robocop 3 (1992), which featured 3D graphics in 16-bit versions. Also the adventure game, Hook (1992) got positive reviews. The 1986 game Batman got a rating of 93% in Crash magazine.[6] Among Ocean's license games are:

Other titles[edit]

Although Ocean was best known for its licensed games[citation needed], it had many other releases.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=C+VG/Issue092/Pages/CVG09200062.jpg
  2. ^ Hughes, Paul. "Freeload". Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Paul Hughes". c64.com. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Eddy, Richard (1987). The One David (44). Crash. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Gasking, Frank (2004). "Ocean Sources". homepage.ntlworld.com/frank.gasking. Archived from the original on 2005-03-16. Retrieved 2013-10-25. "And as a result, Paul has kindly agreed to release sources to the public, for people to check out, to learn from, and to preserve and enjoy." 
  6. ^ "Batman". Crash (Newsfield Publications Ltd). May 1986. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Arcade conversion
  8. ^ Computer conversion of PC Engine game

External links[edit]