Krome Studios Melbourne
Melbourne House's final logo (2004/2006)
|Formerly||Melbourne House (1980–1993)|
Laser Beam Entertainment (1994–?)
Beam Software Pty., Ltd. (?–2000)
Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd. (2000–2003)
Atari Melbourne House Pty Ltd. (2003–2006)
|Founded||1980 in Melbourne, Australia|
The Way of the Exploding Fist
Le Mans 24 Hours
Number of employees
Krome Studios (2006–2010)
Krome Studios Melbourne, originally Atari Melbourne House Pty Ltd., was an Australian video game development studio founded in 1980 by Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen and based in Melbourne, Australia. The studio operated independently from 1987 until 1999, when it was acquired by Infogrames, who changed the name to Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd.. In 2006 the studio was sold to Krome Studios.
The name Beam was a contraction of the names of the founders: Naomi Besen and Alfred Milgrom.
Home computer era
In the early years, two of Beam's programs were milestones in their respective genres. The Hobbit, a 1982 text adventure by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler, sold more than a million copies. It employed an advanced parser by Stuart Richie and had real-time elements. Even if the player didn't enter commands, the story would move on. In 1985 Greg Barnett's two-player martial arts game The Way of the Exploding Fist helped define the genre of one-on-one fighting games on the home computer. The game won Best Overall Game at the Golden Joystick Awards.
In 1987 Beam's publisher, parent company Melbourne House, was sold to Mastertronic for £850,000. Beam chairman Alfred Milgrom recounted, "...around 1987 a lot of our U.K. people went on to other companies and at around the same time the industry was moving from 8-bit to 16-bit. It was pretty chaotic. We didn't have the management depth at that time to run both the publishing and development sides of things, so we ended up selling off the whole Melbourne House publishing side to Mastertronic." Subsequent games were released through varying publishers. The 1988 fighting games Samurai Warrior and Fist +, the third instalment in the Exploding Fist series, were published through Telecomsoft's Firebird label. 1988 also saw the release of space-shoot'em-up Bedlam, published by GO!, one of U.S. Gold's labels, and The Muncher, published by Gremlin Graphics.
Shift to consoles and PCs
In 1987 Nintendo granted a developer's licence for the NES and Beam developed games on that platform for US and Japanese publishers. Targeted at an Australian audience, releases such as Aussie Rules Footy and International Cricket for the NES proved successful. In 1992 they released the original title Nightshade, a dark superhero comedy game. The game was meant to be the first part in a series, but no sequels were ever made; however, it served as the basis for Shadowrun. Released in 1993, Shadowrun also used an innovative dialogue system using the acquisition of keywords which could be used in subsequent conversations to initiate new branches in the dialogue tree. Also in 1993 they released Baby T-Rex, a Game Boy platform game that the developer actively sought to adapt the game to a number of different licensed properties in different countries around the world including the animated film We're Back! in North America and the puppet character Agro in their home country of Australia.
In 1997, Beam relaunched the Melbourne House brand, under which they published the PC titles Krush Kill 'n' Destroy (KKND), and the sequels KKND Xtreme and KKND2: Krossfire. They released KKND2 in South Korea well before they released it in the American and European markets, and pirated versions of the game were available on the internet before it was available in stores in the U.S. They were the developers of the 32-bits versions of Norse By Norse West: The Return of the Lost Vikings for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC in 1996. They also helped produce SNES games such as WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling, Super Smash TV and an updated version of International Cricket titled Super International Cricket. They ported the Sega Saturn game Bug! to Windows 3.x in August, 1996.
In 1999 Beam Software was acquired by Infogrames and renamed to Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd.
They continued to cement a reputation as a racing game developer with Le Mans 24 Hours and Looney Tunes: Space Race (both Dreamcast and PlayStation 2), followed by the technically impressive Grand Prix Challenge (PlayStation 2), before a disastrous venture into third-person shooters with Men in Black II: Alien Escape (PlayStation 2, GameCube).
In 2004 the studio released Transformers for the PlayStation 2 games console based on the then current Transformers Armada franchise by Hasbro. The game reached the top of the UK PlayStation 2 games charts, making it Melbourne House's most successful recent title.
In December 2005, Atari decided to shift away from internal development, seeking to sell its studios, including Melbourne House. In November 2006 Krome Studios announced that it had acquired Melbourne House from Atari and that the studio would be renamed to Krome Studios Melbourne. . It was closed on 15 October 2010, along with the main Brisbane office. Next to the game development, Beam Software also had the division Smarty Pants Publishing Pty Ltd., that created software titles for kids, as well as the proprietary video compression technology VideoBeam, and Famous Faces, a facial motion capture hardware and software solution.
As Beam Software/Melbourne House
- 1982: Strike Force (TRS-80), Hungry Horace, Horace Goes Skiing, Horace and the Spiders, The Hobbit, Penetrator
- 1984: Castle of Terror, Hampstead, Mugsy, Sherlock
- 1985: Gyroscope, Lord of the Rings: Game One, Terrormolinos, Way of the Exploding Fist, Wham! The Music Box
- 1986: Kwah!, Asterix and the Magic Cauldron (Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC), Marble Madness, Mugsy's Revenge, Redhawk
- 1987: Bop'n Rumble, Throne of Fire, Roadwars, Shadows of Mordor
- 1988: Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo, The Muncher, Xenon
- 1989: War in Middle Earth, Back to the Future (NES), Aussie Games (Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum)
- 1990: Back to the Future Part II & III (NES), Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum (NES), Boulder Dash (Game Boy), NBA All-Star Challenge (Game Boy), The Punisher (NES)
- 1991: Hunt for Red October (Game Boy), Smash TV (NES), Family Feud (NES), J. R. R. Tolkien's Riders of Rohan (DOS), Aussie Rules Footy (NES), Power Punch II (NES), Star Wars (NES)
- 1992: Nightshade (NES), T2: The Arcade Game (Game Boy), NBA All-Star Challenge 2 (Game Boy), Tom and Jerry (Game Boy), Super Smash TV (SNES), George Foreman's KO Boxing (Game Boy)
- 1993: Baby T-Rex (Game Boy), We're Back BC (Game Boy), Agro Soar (Game Boy), Blades of Vengeance (Genesis), NFL Quarterback Club (Game Boy), Radical Rex (Genesis), Shadowrun (SNES), MechWarrior (SNES), Super High Impact (Genesis, SNES), Tom and Jerry - Frantic Antics (Genesis)
- 1994: The Simpsons: Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness (Game Boy); WCW: The Main Event (Game Boy); Super Smash TV (GG, SMS); Solitaire FunPak (Game Boy); Cricket '97 Ashes Edition (PC); Radical Rex (SNES)
- 1995: True Lies (GB, Genesis; SNES); The Dame Was Loaded (PC)
- 1995: Bug! (PC)
- 1996: 5 in One Fun Pak (GG); Wildcats (SNES)
- 1997: Caesars Palace (PlayStation)
- 1997: Krush, Kill 'n' Destroy (PC)
- 1998: Dethkarz (PC)
- 1998: NBA Action '98 (PC)
- 1998: KKnD 2: Krossfire (PC, PlayStation)
- 1999: GP 500 (PC)
As Infogrames Melbourne House/Atari Melbourne House
- 2000: Le Mans 24 Hours (Dreamcast); Looney Tunes: Space Race (Dreamcast)
- 2001: Le Mans 24 Hours (PS2)
- 2002: Le Mans 24 Hours (PC); Space Race (PS2); Men in Black II: Alien Escape (PS2); Grand Prix Challenge (PS2)
- 2003: Men in Black II: Alien Escape (Nintendo GameCube), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (PS2, Xbox, support developer for Black Ops Entertainment)
- 2004: Transformers (PS2)
- 2007: Test Drive Unlimited (PS2, PSP)
- "NG Alphas: Melbourne House". Next Generation. No. 33. Imagine Media. September 1997. pp. 116–8.
- "CRASH 3 - Melbourne House". www.crashonline.org.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Beam Software Timeline". Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2020.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)"Beam Software Timeline". Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Documentation for a 2007 exhibition.
- Sharwood, Simon (18 November 2012), Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit, The Register, retrieved 10 December 2012
- DeMaria, Rusel and Wilson, Johnny L. (2004) High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games McGraw-Hill/Osborne, Berkeley, Calif., p. 347, ISBN 0-07-223172-6
- "Golden Joysticks Awards' ultimate list of ultimate winners: 1983 - 2016". GamesRadar.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- Guter, Arthur (June 2016). "A History of Mastertronic". Mastertronic. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018.
- Mansfield, Dylan (24 February 2019). "Baby T-Rex: The Game Revised 10 Times". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
- "In the Studio". Next Generation. No. 29. Imagine Media. May 1997. p. 17.
- "Company bio: Beam Software". Gamespy. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
- Al Giovetti. "Alien Earth". The Computer Show.
- "Men in Black II: Alien Escape". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Foster, Lisa (17 February 2006). "Atari plans studio sell-off". MCV. Intent Media. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Krome Studios expands with new studio in Melbourne". Krome Studios. 3 November 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Strike Force (TRS-80)". MobyGames. Blue Flame Labs. Retrieved 23 October 2019.