Beam Software

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(Redirected from Krome Studios Melbourne)

Krome Studios Melbourne
FormerlyBeam Software (1980–1993)
Laser Beam Entertainment (1993—1997)
Beam Software
Melbourne House (1997–1999)
Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd. (1999–2003)
Atari Melbourne House Pty Ltd. (2003–2006)
IndustryVideo games
Founded1980 in Melbourne, Australia
FounderAlfred Milgrom
Naomi Besen
DefunctOctober 15, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-10-15)
Australia Edit this on Wikidata
ProductsThe Hobbit
The Way of the Exploding Fist
Le Mans 24 Hours
Number of employees
ParentInfogrames/Atari (2000–2006)
Krome Studios (2006–2010) (archived)

Krome Studios Melbourne, originally Beam Software,[1] was an Australian video game development studio founded in 1980 by Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen and based in Melbourne, Australia.[2][3] Initially formed to produce books and software to be published by Melbourne House, a company they had established in London in 1977,[1] the studio operated independently from 1987 until 1999, when it was acquired by Infogrames, who changed the name to Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd..[4] In 2006 the studio was sold to Krome Studios.[4]

The name Beam was a contraction of the names of the founders: Naomi Besen and Alfred Milgrom.


Home computer era[edit]

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,[5] sold more than a million copies.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] The game won Best Overall Game at the Golden Joystick Awards.[7]

In 1987 Beam's UK publishing arm,[8] Melbourne House, was sold to Mastertronic for £850,000.[9] 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."[2] 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[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11]

In 1997, Beam relaunched the Melbourne House brand,[12] under which they published the PC titles Krush Kill 'n' Destroy (KKND), and the sequels KKND Xtreme and KKND2: Krossfire.[13] 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-bit versions of Norse By Norse West: The Return of the Lost Vikings for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC in 1996.[13] 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.[13] They ported the Sega Saturn game Bug! to Windows 3.x in August 1996.

1998 saw a return to RPGs with Alien Earth, again with a dialogue tree format.[14] Also in 1998, the studio developed racing games DethKarz[13] and GP 500.

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 Grand Prix Challenge (PlayStation 2), before going into third-person shooters with Men in Black II: Alien Escape (PlayStation 2, GameCube).[15]

In 2004 the studio released Transformers for the PlayStation 2 games console based on the then current Transformers Armada franchise by Hasbro.[16] The game reached the top of the UK PlayStation 2 games charts, making it Melbourne House's most successful recent title.

The studio then completed work on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable ports of Eden's next-generation Xbox 360 title Test Drive: Unlimited.

In December 2005, Atari decided to shift away from internal development, seeking to sell its studios, including Melbourne House.[17] In November 2006, Krome Studios acquired Melbourne House from Atari and was renamed to Krome Studios Melbourne.[18] 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[edit]

As Infogrames Melbourne House/Atari Melbourne House/Krome Studios Melbourne[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s)
2000 Le Mans 24 Hours Dreamcast Infogrames
Looney Tunes: Space Race
2001 Le Mans 24 Hours PlayStation 2
2002 Space Race
Le Mans 24 Hours Windows
Men in Black II: Alien Escape[15] PlayStation 2
Grand Prix Challenge
2003 Men in Black II: Alien Escape[a][15] GameCube
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines[b] PlayStation 2, Xbox Atari
2004 Transformers[16] PlayStation 2
2007 Test Drive Unlimited[c] PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable


  1. ^ a b Crookes, David. "The Wizards of Oz". Retro Gamer. No. 36. Imagine. pp. 38–42.
  2. ^ a b "NG Alphas: Melbourne House". Next Generation. No. 33. Imagine Media. September 1997. pp. 116–8.
  3. ^ "CRASH 3 - Melbourne House". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Beam Software Timeline". Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2020.{{cite web}}: 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.
  5. ^ Sharwood, Simon (18 November 2012), Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit, The Register, retrieved 10 December 2012
  6. ^ a b c 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
  7. ^ "Golden Joysticks Awards' ultimate list of ultimate winners: 1983 - 2016". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Mastertronic Buys Melbourne House". Popular Computing Weekly. 12–18 February 1987. p. 4.
  9. ^ Guter, Arthur (June 2016). "A History of Mastertronic". Mastertronic. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Why Cricket video games are vital to Australia's national identity". GamesHub. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
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  14. ^ Al Giovetti. "Alien Earth". The Computer Show.
  15. ^ a b c "Men in Black II: Alien Escape". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  16. ^ a b Dunham, Jeremy (9 December 2003). "Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon Hands-On". IGN. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "Strike Force (TRS-80)". MobyGames. Blue Flame Labs. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Penetrator (1982)". MobyGames. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  21. ^ "H.U.R.G. [Spectrum 48K] | Melbourne House | 1983 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  22. ^ "Asterix and the Magic Cauldron [Commodore 64/128] | Melbourne House | 1986 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
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  24. ^ "A brief history of 2000AD's 8-bit games". 19 November 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Knuckle Busters (1986)". MobyGames. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  26. ^ Retrieved 30 October 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ a b "Bad Street Brawler [computer game] | Laser Beam (Beam Software) | 1989 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  28. ^ "Inspector Gadget and the Circus of !!Fear!! (1987)". MobyGames. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  29. ^ "Bop'n Rumble - C64-Wiki".
  30. ^ "The Muncher at Spectrum Computing - Sinclair ZX Spectrum games, software and hardware". Spectrum Computing. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  31. ^ "The Punisher [computer game] | LJN Entertainment, Inc. | 1990 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Choplifter II [computer game] | Laser Beam (Beam Software) | 1991 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  33. ^ "Aussie Rules Footy [computer game] | Laser Beam (Beam Software) | 1991 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  34. ^ "Shadowrun [SNES] | Data East USA | 1992 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  35. ^ Fahs, Travis (21 November 2008). "Rescue Me: The History of Choplifter". IGN. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  36. ^ "Stargate [computer game] | Acclaim Entertainment Ltd | 1994 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  37. ^ "Super International Cricket [computer game] | Nintendo | 1994 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  38. ^ "The Dame Was Loaded [DOS] | Philips Interactive Media, Inc. | 1996 | ACMI collection". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  39. ^ "Cricket 96 for DOS (1996)". MobyGames. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  40. ^ "Caesars Palace for PlayStation (1997)". MobyGames. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  41. ^ "Chairman's Report to Beam International Limited Shareholders". 7 June 1997. Archived from the original on 7 June 1997. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  42. ^ "Beam announces Release Date For KKnD". 26 February 1997. Archived from the original on 7 June 1997. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  43. ^ Gentry, Perry (30 October 1998). "What's in Stores Next Week (We Think)". CNET Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  1. ^ Ported by Torus Games.
  2. ^ Support developer for Black Ops Entertainment, worked on sound design.
  3. ^ Ported for Eden Games.

External links[edit]