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.
Former Time-Warner chairman and CEO Robert A. Daly has signed a check for an undisclosed million-dollar figure to animation Netcaster Shockwave.com. As part of the investment, Daly joins the board of the San Francisco-based company, which broadcasts games, animation and music programming on-line for free. Since leaving Time-Warner, Daly has been focusing on his chairman and CEO post overseeing all operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. At Shockwave, he will help sign up big name talent to produce original programming for the site.
Want to know about events in Italy? Then visit ASIFA Italia's re-designed
Website at www.asifaitalia.org. The Italian-languaged site is a growing
destination for animation in Italy. The site features ASIFA events and
other information regarding the Italian animation organization.
The Oscar shortlisted INDESCRIBABLE NTH has been picked up for distribution
on the Net at AtomFilms. The deal between NTH's creators Character Builders
and AtomFilms covers domestic and foreign television showings as well as
airline programming and Internet distribution. The film follows the story
of a boy and his understanding of the indescribable feeling called love.
Read Maureen Furniss' review of THE INDESCRIBABLE NTH and the other
shortlisted films at
On Tuesday, February 29, 2000, Shockwave and sponsor CYBERWORLD launched a
Stan Lee premiere, live on shockwave.com. The star-studded event was hosted
by Dick Clark. The celebrities on the attendee list were Tom Hanks, Keanu
Reeves, Michael Jackson, Richard Dreyfus, John Travolta, Quentin Tarantino
and Leonardo Dicaprio. Excerpts from the event will also be televised
internationally on ET and other entertainment news broadcasts. On
Wednesday, March 1, Stan Lee/CYBERWORLD content will launch on their site
Entertaindom.com, Time Warner's on-line entertainment destination, has
picked up 17 additional episodes of its smash hit, THE GOD & DEVIL SHOW
from Mondo Media, a leading creator and distributor of serial-based
animated content. THE GOD & DEVIL SHOW, an animated weekly "talk show"
launched on Entertaindom in November. Each week the show features hosts God
and the Devil interviewing then deciding the eternal fates of various
"celebrity" guests (including impersonations of Keith Richards, Bill Gates,
On February 14, 2000, the GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB Website launched to promote
the new series which debuts on NBC on Thursday, March 9, 2000 at 8:30 pm.
The series is produced by Carsey-Werner, the creators of 3RD ROCK FROM THE
SUN, THAT '70S SHOW and COSBY. GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB, created by Matthew
Carlson, centers around Bob Alman, a Detroit auto plant worker who has been
chosen by God to prove the world is worth saving after God and the Devil
Disney's Go Network has inked a 4-year agreement with eBay making it the
exclusive on-line auction site for Walt Disney's Web properties. Under
terms of the deal, eBay and the Go Network will create two co-branded
auction sites -- one to provide person to person transactions, the other
merchant to consumer sales, featuring goods from Disney's properties and
ESPN, among others. Disney will market the two sites through its Go
Network, a portfolio of Web sites that includes Disney.com, ABC.com and
After UPN put DILBERT on an indefinite hiatus which starts March 14, the
producers of the cartoon series announced it would broadcast an episode of
the show along with rare outtakes on the Net. The 22-minute previously
aired episode entitled "The Merger" will air commercial-free on the Web
from February 17 - 29, 2000. Columbia/TriStar, who produces the show, will
become only the second major studio to enter into the Netcasting arena. In
November of 1999, Warner Bros. simulcast parts of an episode of "The Drew
Sega of America announced that LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC has
become a new third party publisher for the Sega Dreamcast. Scheduled to
ship Spring 2000, STAR WARS: EPISODE I RACER will be the first LucasArts
title to hit Dreamcast. LucasArts is committed to providing additional
titles in the future, adding to Sega's long list of third party publishers
and developers for Sega Dreamcast. Taking advantage of Dreamcast's Internet
capabilities, STAR WARS: EPISODE I RACER will allow gamers to post high
The 3DO Company has signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with U.S.
Major League Baseball's 1999 Man of the Year, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago
Cubs. Sosa will help in the development and marketing of 3DO's baseball
franchise, SAMMY SOSA HIGH HEAT BASEBALL. In the February 2000 issue of
COMPUTER GAMING WORLD MAGAZINE, SAMMY SOSA HIGH HEAT 2000 was named "Best
Sports Game Of The Year" and PC GAMER MAGAZINE even went as far as to call
it "The Best Baseball Game Ever." "I agree with the gaming magazines that