Ben Stein, the host of Comedy Central's hit gameshow WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY, will have his own animated gameshow on Shockwave.com. Stein has signed a deal with Shockwave to create an on-line game, a series of e-greeting cards and a daily poll for Shockwave visitors. The single and multi-player game asks questions which Stein calls knowledge --rather than trivia -- based. Stein will have a toon likeness helm the show and sponsors of the series will offer the prizes.
On March 21, 2000, Activision, Inc. released the highly anticipated TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. The game features a sophisticated yet easy-to-learn trick and combo system that allows players to perform hundreds of combination moves in an effort to become the highest-rated skater. Gamers choose from Tony Hawk and other nine top-ranked skaters as they thrash real-world tracks, performing signature tricks.
Based on the forthcoming release of 20th Century Fox's futuristic animated feature film, TITAN A.E., Fox Interactive announced its plans to develop the TITAN A.E. game for PlayStation. Fox Interactive is banking on the sci-fi feel of the film to translate easily to the gaming world. "We're raising the level of excitement for the film and inviting fans to embark on their own TITAN adventures through the game," said Dave Shaw, executive director of Worldwide Brand Marketing. "Titan A.E.
Will Vinton Studios will be offering home video titles from their library on their Web site www.vinton.com. The Academy Award winning CLOSED MONDAYS, The California Raisins and the Mr. Resistor collection will all be available on the site. Additional titles, as well as Will Vinton merchandise, will be added to the site in the months to come.
Rumpus.com is readying their 45-minute Internet epic HERSHEL HOPPER, NEW YORK RABBIT. The kids animation destination will broadcast the film featuring their Hershel Hopper character on Easter Sunday (April 23, 2000) at 3 pm. The film follows the mishaps of Hershel as he is unwittingly shipped to New York City. Currently, Rumpus is airing a music video previewing the adventure. The Webpic features the voice talents of Jason Priestley, Brad Renfro, Brendan Sexton III, Sean Thomas and former New York City mayor Ed Koch.
Aardman Animations will be releasing Darren Walsh's ANGRY KID on the Internet at AtomFilms. The first 60-second episode of ANGRY KID will be available for download midnight on Sunday, May 7, 2000 at a specially developed Angry Kid spotlight on the AtomFilms site at www.angrykid.com. "We believe the Internet could very well prove to be one of the most exciting platforms for entertainment distribution," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
The newest trailer for Disney's upcoming CGI epic DINOSAUR has hit the Web. The trailer, which runs 2 minutes, 26 seconds and offers new footage from the film, was available on the Internet for one week prior to its nationwide debut in theaters on March 10, 2000. Richard Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group said, "Premiering the new DINOSAUR trailer on the Internet is a great way to bring this fantastic film to a large cross-section of moviegoers.
Cartoon Network will bring The Banana Splits -- Fleagle, Drooper, Bingo and Snorky -- to the Web. The original live-action variety show, THE BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR, was produced by Hanna-Barbera and Sid & Marty Krofft, and appeared on NBC from 1968-1970. The show featured music by The Splits, and introduced serialized cartoons such as THE ARABIAN KNIGHTS and THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In this updated version, The Splits are transformed by a Magic Machine into animated personas. Each of the characters goes on their own adventure before they all meet up again in the final episode.
Abacus Software, Inc. has release a new add-on for Microsoft's COMBAT FLIGHT SIMULATOR called BEHIND ENEMY LINES. The fictional voice-accompanied adventure takes you into the heart of Axis Germany. Players volunteer to fly a critical mission for the Allies. After sneaking behind enemy lines, one must follow the voice instructions from the mission commander or from secret agents. BEHIND ENEMY LINES features 30 new missions, 16 for the RAF and 14 for the Germans, and 3 new aircraft: the Supermarine Spitfire MkIX, the Schweizer 2-32 glider and an UltraLight. The game is priced at US$29.99.
Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, has launched the next generation of its award-winning site. The new home page is designed to have a "virtual" home theater look. Visitors entering the site encounter a home living room environment where entertainment consoles appear on the screen and invite Net surfers to watch shorts, play games or listen to music. Users may choose from several themes to create their preferred overall look and feel of the home page.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Eruptor.com has launched their new live-action/animated series, JONNI NITRO. The Web series stars Olivia d'Abo (TV's THE WONDER YEARS) and Thomas Jane (DEEP BLUE SEA). The show is being directed by comic book artist Marc Silvestri. The series follows femme fatale, Jonni, as she tries to bring justice to a world that's not as black and white as it appears. "Getting to watch such a talented animator make another art form come to life, is a real honor," said Brad Foxhoven, Eruptor's Co-Founder, President and CEO.
Jim Henson Interactive (JHI), the interactive division of The Jim Henson Company, released the first of a series of MuppeToons on its Muppetworld Web site. This collaboration between Pulse Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company and its award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop will feature the first 3D version of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear.
Two new shorts from Spunky Town have set down on Shockwave.com. Two episodes of THE BEATLESS, "Zombies of Love" and "Beat Less the Devil," have come to the Netcaster. The series follows three of the world's worst rockers who investigate paranormal activity. Also premiering on Shockwave is HIX HOLLAR, USA, a new comedy cartoon about a suburban family's move to a farm town.
On March 24, 2000, Joe Cartoon Co., the producers of popular Web toons FROG IN A BLENDER and LEMMINGS, was awarded a preliminary injunction against John Zuccarini for cybersquatting. The court order bars Zuccarini from using or endorsing the use of the domain names joescartoon.com, joecarton.com, joescartons.com, joescartoons.com, cartoonjoe.com and any other derivative of Joe Cartoon Co.'s joecartoon.com URL.
Shockwave.com has finalized an exclusive deal with Oscar and Emmy award-winning director, producer, screenwriter James L. Brooks' Gracie Films to create animated programming. Gracie Films and Brooks, whose credits include executive producer of THE SIMPSONS, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and TAXI, will hold complete artistic control over the characters and properties created for shockwave.com. "We couldn't be more pleased about being in business with Gracie Films," said Rob Burgess, chairman of shockwave.com. "Jim's creative talent and versatility has entertained so many of us for so long.
Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, announced it has signed a deal with Joe Shields, the creative mind behind www.joecartoon.com. Shields is known for his popular Webisodes, including FROG BENDER 2000 (a.k.a. FROG IN A BLENDER) and MICRO-GERBIL 2001. Shields will produce 10 new original animated properties to debut exclusively on shockwave.com.
The classic animated character ELMO AARDVARK is making a come-back on the Web. The new weekly animated series, ELMO AARDVARK, OUTER SPACE DETECTIVE!, debuted in March on renegadecartoons.com. The new Elmo adventures feature voice talent from June Foray (ROCKY & BULLWINKLE), Diane Michelle (ALLY MCBEAL), Corey Burton (DUDLEY DO-RIGHT), Phil Lollar (ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY), Keith Scott (ROCKY & BULLWINKLE: THE MOVIE) and Will Ryan, grandson of Elmo Aardvark creator Terwilliger Ryan. The series follows the space-capades of the ukulele-playing marsupial.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of SOUTH PARK, have shocked Shockwave.com with the first of their 39 shorts for the Netcaster. As part of a US$2 million pact, the new toon by Parker and Stone has a level of crude and gross humor described as higher than the SOUTH PARK feature! The duo of doo-doo jokes have now left the Shockwave.com executives twiddling their thumbs nervously contemplating what to do next. As part of the agreement, the SOUTH PARK creators have complete artistic control and ownership of the content they create for Shockwave.com.
Shockwave announced it has finalized a deal with director, writer and producer David Lynch to develop a series of animated shorts exclusively for the Netcaster. Like pacts with Stan Lee and the SOUTH PARK creators, Lynch will hold complete artistic control and ownership of the characters and properties he creates. "The Internet is our future and shockwave.com is a very important part of it," said David Lynch. "David Lynch is amazing. The Internet is a perfect new medium for him," said Rob Burgess, chairman of shockwave.com.
LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC announced it has teamed with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony On-line Entertainment to create the first massive multi-player STAR WARS on-line role-playing game. Gameplay will jettison players into a unique combination of combat, specialized missions and daring quests. The STAR WARS on-line game will be developed by Verant, distributed and sold at retail stores by LucasArts, and available for play exclusively on-line at The Station@sony.com. This alliance partners together three of the foremost companies in the interactive entertainment industry.
Manga Entertainment has announced the launch of the official X Web site. X is the latest anime hit from Japan to be released in U.S. theatres. The supernatural thriller was designed by the all-female studio, Clamp. The film is directed by Rintaro, who has been working in anime for over 30 years and is best known in the U.S. for directing the TV series KIMBA THE WHITE LION and ASTRO BOY. The site will feature a live streaming video trailer courtesy of sputnik7.com for both Real Player and Windows Media Player and an official movie poster giveaway to the first 100 entrants.
Microsoft announced on Friday, March 10, 2000, that it will create its own video-game unit entitled X-Box. The high-end console will be in direct competition with Sony's PlayStation 2 and Sega's Dreamcast. "We want X-Box to be the platform of choice for the best and most creative game developers in the world," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gate at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose. Intended to be a hybrid of the personal computer and traditional gaming console, the new system is expected to hit stores sometime in 2001.
Sony Corp. shares took a gouge on Friday, March 10, 2000 after the company reported it was investigating customer complaints about a glitch in their new PlayStation 2 gaming system. A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), Sony's game unit, said it was looking into problems associated with the new console's playing of DVDs. The company's shares fell 6.41% to end at ¥26,300 (US$249), extending a seven straight day losing streak that has brought a 22% price drop in the stock.
In its first weekend on the market in Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 2 has reached 980,000 units sold. This initial sales milestone blows away the original PlayStation's three-day mark in 1994 by nearly 10 times. A total of 26,400 retailers in Japan, including 18,500 convenience stores, approximately 7,900 retail stores, current PlayStation retailers, as well as PlayStation.com (Japan) Inc., began selling the PlayStation 2 units on March 4.