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|Industry||Video game industry|
Digital Eclipse Software, Inc.
|Founded||February 19, 2003|
Backbone Entertainment is an American video game developer based in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Created on February 19, 2003, it is the result of the merger of ImaginEngine and Digital Eclipse Software, Inc. effective on January 1, 2004.
Backbone Entertainment is the result of a 2003 merger between Digital Eclipse Software and ImaginEngine. Digital Eclipse specialized in arcade game emulation and handheld video games, and formerly had studios in Emeryville, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. ImaginEngine specializes in children's software, formerly having studios in San Francisco, California and Boston, Massachusetts. The San Francisco and Emeryville teams were combined at the Emeryville location upon execution of the merger.
One of their first franchise projects as Backbone Entertainment was Death Jr., for the PSP. They have also produced a sequel, Death, Jr. II: Root of Evil, and a Nintendo DS version of the franchise entitled Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom. When Death Jr. was first announced, the CEO of Backbone spoke on making DJ a full-featured franchise, with comic books, a TV show, action figures, and more. According to GameRankings, the average review score for the three games in the franchise is a 59%, with Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom scoring the lowest overall.
Foundation 9 Entertainment era
The Foundation 9 Entertainment conglomerate initially used the Backbone Entertainment brand for its original titles, the Digital Eclipse brand for its arcade emulation titles, and ImaginEngine for many children's titles. Currently, the name ImaginEngine is used for products from the Boston-based studio of Foundation 9 Entertainment, while Backbone Entertainment is used for their Emeryville, California-based studio.
An additional studio was formed in 2006 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, but was spun out in 2007 to become Other Ocean Interactive. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based studio of Backbone Entertainment was scaled back in September 2008 and ultimately closed in May 2009, ending the company's presence in Canada. Among that studio's later projects were Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2.
They developed Bomberman Live and Shrek N' Roll for the Xbox 360, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and its follow-up compilation, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. They also created the Halo 3 interactive bonus disc included with Collector's and Legendary versions of the game.
- Mega Man Legacy Collection (2018) - Nintendo Switch
- The Disney Afternoon Collection (2017) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
- Mega Man Legacy Collection (2015) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, and PC
- The Simpsons Arcade Game (2012) - XBLA, PSN
- X-Men (2010) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
- Shinobi (2009) - Emeryville - XBLA
- Space Invaders Extreme (2009) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Cyberball 2072 (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Gyruss (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Paperboy (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Root Beer Tapper (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Rush'n Attack (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Super Contra (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Track & Field (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Yie Ar Kung-Fu (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Golden Axe (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
- Ecco the Dolphin (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
- Streets of Rage 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (2007) - Charlottetown - XBLA
- Defender (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Frogger (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Contra (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Robotron: 2084 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Scramble (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Time Pilot (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Joust (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Gauntlet (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
- Smash TV (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
Part of Digital Eclipse's work include their own Eclipse Engine, a tool that allows them to decompile the code from older games into machine-readable format that is then used by the Eclipse Engine to play them on modern systems. While it may take some extra work by the company to decompile the older game into the proper format one time, this approach allows them to rapidly port the Eclipse version to any modern gaming system, including computer, console, or portable/mobile device with a minimum of effort. This engine has been used so far in the Mega Man Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection.
- ImaginEngine web site Archived 2008-01-18 at the Wayback Machine.
- Foundation 9 says goodbye to Charlottetown
- Vancouver's video game family tree.
- Orland, Kyle (August 27, 2015). "The new tech making game preservation more authentic and future-proof". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- Watts, Steve (March 23, 2017). "Disney Afternoon Collection Producer Talks Challenges and Nostalgia". Shacknews. Retrieved March 23, 2017.