Sony Imagesoft

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Sony Imagesoft Logo

Sony Imagesoft was a video game publisher that operated from 1989 to 1995 and was located in California. It was established in January 1989 in Los Angeles, California, as a subsidiary of the Japan-based CBS/Sony Group (CSG) and initially named CSG Imagesoft Inc.[1] Focus at the beginning was on marketing games exclusively for Nintendo consoles.[2]

The first release was Super Dodge Ball in summer 1989.[2] Games by UK-based developers, Solstice and Dragon's Lair, followed in 1990. Both were also published in Japan through Epic/Sony Records.

After Sony had set up its North American Sony Electronic Publishing division in April 1991,[3][4] Imagesoft operated as Sony Imagesoft Inc. The new logo is a blue square that is diagonally divided by a feather emitting sparks of light from its tip. The first games sporting the new logo were Altered Space for Game Boy and movie tie-in Hudson Hawk for NES and Game Boy.

Other releases were localizations of SNES games previously developed for Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) and published under the Epic/Sony Records brand: Extra Innings and Smart Ball, both published in 1992.

Sega partnership[edit]

On May 20, 1992 Sega of America and Sony Electronic Publishing announced a partnership to create content for Sega's consoles under the direction of Imagesoft.[5] Besides Sega's cartridge-based Genesis and GameGear consoles the partnership targeted the upcoming Sega CD peripheral.[6] Among the first titles released for Sega's consoles after the announcement were Sewer Shark and Hook. Sewer Shark, initially released exclusively to Sega CD, is a rail-shooter that years earlier was shelved as part of the ill-fated NEMO project. The Hook video games are tie-ins to the Spielberg feature film Hook that premiered in December 1991 and was produced by Sony owned TriStar Pictures. Ports of the video game for Sega platforms are based on the SNES game published earlier by Imagesoft. The Sega CD version was enhanced with better cut scenes with voice actors and digital stills and featured music from the film soundtrack.[7]

1995 changes[edit]

In March 1995 Sony Imagesoft announced that they had appointed Kelly Flock as president. Flock came from TriMark Interactive where he was executive vice president since March 1993.[8]

Starting in July 1995, just two months prior to the release of the PlayStation console in Western markets, Sony Electronic Publishing restructured and renamed its divisions. All videogame marketing from Sony Imagesoft was folded into Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA), with about 100 employees transferred from Santa Monica to Foster City.[9][10][11] The video game business of Sony Imagesoft was merged with the product development branch of Sony Computer Entertainment of America and became Sony Interactive Studios America[12] which would later be renamed to 989 Studios.

The computer software business of Imagesoft became Sony Interactive PC Software America and was headed by general manager Ray Sangster.[12]

Games published[edit]

Title Genre Release date Developer
3 Ninjas Kick Back Action &1994-06-01June 1, 1994 Malibu Interactive
3 Ninjas Kick Back for SNES Action &1994-11-00November 1994[13] Malibu Interactive
Altered Space for Game Boy &1991-09-00September 1991[14] Software Creations
Bram Stoker's Dracula Action &1993-00-001993 Psygnosis
Bram Stoker's Dracula for SNES Action &1993-09-00September 1993[13] Traveller's Tales
Championship Soccer '94 &1994-06-00June 1994[13] Sensible Software
Cliffhanger Action &1993-10-25October 25, 1993 Malibu Interactive
Cliffhanger for SNES Action &1993-10-00October 1993[13] Malibu Interactive
Chuck Rock for SNES &1992-11-00November 1992[13] Core Design
Chuck Rock for Sega CD &unknown Core Design
Dragon's Lair for NES Action &1990-12-00December 1990 Motivetime
Equinox &1994-03-00March 1994[13] Software Creations
ESPN Baseball Tonight Sports &1994-05-00May 1994[15] Park Place Productions
ESPN National Hockey Night Sports &1994-08-01August 1, 1994 Park Place Productions
ESPN NBA HangTime '95 &unknown
ESPN Speed World Racing &1994-00-001994 Park Place Productions
ESPN Sunday Night NFL for Sega CD Football &1993-00-001993[16] Ringler Studios
ESPN Sunday Night NFL for Genesis Football &1994-08-01August 1, 1994[17] Ringler Studios
ESPN Sunday Night NFL for SNES Football &1994-11-00November 1994[18] Ringler Studios
Extra Innings for SNES Baseball Simulation &1992-03-20March 20, 1992 Sting Entertainment
Flink (Mega Drive version) Platform &1994-05-00May 1994 Psygnosis
Gear Works for Game Gear Puzzle 1993
Ground Zero: Texas for Sega CD Action &1993-11-00November 1993[19] Digital Pictures
Hook for NES and Game Boy Action &1992-04-00April 1992 Ocean Software
Hook for SNES Action &1992-10-00October 1992[13] Ukiyotei
Hook for Genesis and Sega CD Action &1993-03-00March 1993 (?)[20] Core Design
Hudson Hawk for NES and Game Boy &1991-00-001991 Ocean Software
Johnny Mnemonic for PC and Mac interactive movie &1995-00-001995 Propaganda Code,[21] directed by Douglas Gayeton
Johnny Mnemonic for Sega CD interactive movie &unreleased[22]
Last Action Hero Action &1994-03-28March 28, 1994 Bits Studios
Last Action Hero for SNES Action &1993-10-00October 1993[13] Bits Studios
Last Action Hero for Sega CD &cancelled[23] Psygnosis[24]
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Action &1994-03-04March 4, 1994 Bits Studios
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for SNES Action &1994-11-00November 1994 Bits Studios
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for Sega CD Action &1994-00-001994 Psygnosis[25]
Mickey Mania Platform &1994-10-00October 1994 Traveller's Tales
Mickey Mania for SNES Platform &1994-10-00October 1994[13] Traveller's Tales
No Escape for SNES Action &1994-11-00November 1994[13] Bits Studios
Super Battletank 2 for SNES (European version) Action &1994-10-001993 Absolute
Super Bomberman for SNES (European version) Action &1994-10-00November 1993 Hudson Soft
Skyblazer Action &1994-03-16March 16, 1994[26] Ukiyotei
Sewer Shark for Sega CD Shooter &1992-10-15October 15, 1992 Digital Pictures
Smart Ball for SNES &1992-03-00March 1992[13][27] Game Freak for Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)
Soccer Mania for Game Boy &1992-03-00March 1992[28] Kitty Group Japan
Solstice for NES Puzzle &1990-06-00June 1990 Software Creations
Super Dodge Ball for NES Sports &1989-06-00June 1989 Technōs Japan

Games developed[edit]

Title Genre Release date
Jeopardy Classic Puzzle May 22, 1994
Wheel of Fortune Strategy 1994

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sony in U.S. Videogame Venture. In: Television Digest with Consumer Electronics. Volume 28, December 26, 1988, page 51.
  2. ^ a b CSG Imagesoft Enters U.S. Home Video Game Market. PR Newswire, Los Angeles, September 6, 1989
  3. ^ Sony Software Establishes Sony Electronic Publishing. PR Newswire, New York, February 26, 1991.
  4. ^ Consumer Electronics (Communications Daily), Vol. 11, No. 44, Warren Publishing. Page 9.
  5. ^ Sony Electronic Publishing and Sega of America announce broad business partnership. Business Wire, May 20, 1992
  6. ^ Adam Bryant: Sega Links with Sony to Make CD Video Games. New York Times, May 21, 1992. Accessed: 2010-09-01. (archived version)
  7. ^ Janet Wasko: Hollywood in the information age: beyond the silver screen. University of Texas Press 1995, ISBN 0-292-79094-5. Page 62.
  8. ^ Sony Imagesoft names Kelly Flock president. Business Wire New York, March 8, 1995.
  9. ^ Carl DiOrio: Sony to Transfer 100 Workers. In: The Hollywood Reporter, July 12, 1995.
  10. ^ Scott Hettrick: -- no title given -- In: The Hollywood Reporter, August 8, 1995.
  11. ^ Sony in Disarray on Eve of Playstation Debut. In: Television Digest with Consumer Electronics, August 14, 1995, ISSN 0497-1515, page 9.
  12. ^ a b Sony Electronic Publishing Co. renamed; Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. is established. Business Wire, August 17, 1995.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Super NES Release List from nintendo.com at the Wayback Machine (archived September 30, 2007)
  14. ^ Release data for Altered Space at GameFAQs. Retrieved September 2, 2010
  15. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/snes/sports/espnbaseballtonight/similar.html?mode=versions
  16. ^ ESPN Sunday Night NFL for Sega CD release data at GameFAQs. Accessed October 3, 2010.
  17. ^ ESPN Sunday Night NFL for Genesis release data at GameFAQs. Accessed October 3, 2010.
  18. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/588312-espn-sunday-night-football/data
  19. ^ Peter M. Nichols: Home Video. In: New York Times, December 10, 1993. Accessed: 2010-09-16. (archived version)
  20. ^ The earliest reviews available online are from March 1993
  21. ^ Philips Teams With Propagande. In: Billboard, June 24, 1995, page 54
  22. ^ Sony Imagesoft to showcase "Johnny Mnemonic" Business Wire, Santa Monica, California, March 13, 1995
  23. ^ Last Action Hero - Sega Mega CD unseen64.net
  24. ^ Notebooks. In: Television Digest with Consumer Electronics, Vol. 33, No. 21, Pg. 19. - "...Psygnosis, founded in 1984, published noteworthy "Lemmings" software series, and has developed 2 titles -- "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "Last Action Hero" -- for Sega CD."
  25. ^ Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for Sega CD at MobyGames
  26. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=LQgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA67
  27. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/588666-smart-ball/data
  28. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/gameboy/585902-soccer-mania/data

External links[edit]