Thirty-five years after his animated classic HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS first aired, Chuck Jones has ventured back into holiday specials with his newest creation Thomas T. Wolf, producing a five-and-a-half minute Christmas special titled "Ohhh! Christmas Tree." The episode, part of Warner Bros. Online's new Flash-animated internet series CHUCK JONES' TIMBER WOLF, is now available for viewing exclusively at www.warnerbros.com. The series' main character is Thomas T. Wolf, a timber wolf with a problem: He is compelled to utter his middle name -- Timber!
Category: Internet and Interactive
Mike Reiss' Web series QUEER DUCK is returning to the Web and debuting on television thanks to the Showtime network. The series, which debuted in October 2000 on Icebox.com, will return to the Web beginning in January 2002, when 15 new episodes premiere exclusively online at Sho.com. The new episodes are produced by Reiss' company Queer Duck Productions, Inc. in association with Xeth Feinberg's Mishmash Media, Inc.
As part of Vivendi Universal Publishing's long-term deal with Tolkien Enterprises, Universal Interactive will publish games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's best-selling saga THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The company acquired the exclusive rights to develop interactive entertainment based on selected Tolkien literary works. Universal Interactive will create games for multiple next-generation and PC platforms with content derived from Tolkien's novels THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS and THE RETURN OF THE KING.
NDi Media and Canadian producer Cité-Amérique have launched wumpasworld.com, a Web convergence project featuring interactive games and other content designed for children three to five years old. The Website is based on characters from WUMPA'S WORLD, a 26 x 15 pre-school television series produced by Cité-Amérique, which features a unique combination of puppetry and animatronics. The television show currently airs on YTV's Treehouse TV.
Hoping the newly-released Xbox and GameCube game consoles create a game buying frenzy, Activision, Inc. has shipped all of its games for 2001 to retail outlets throughout North America.
Building on the popularity of the Kids' WB! animated series Jackie Chan Adventures, Activision has licensed the property to create Jackie Chan Adventures: Legend of the Dark Hand for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance now available at retail. The game chronicles the adventures of Jackie Chan as he faces-off against the nefarious forces of the Dark Hand on a quest to uncover ancient mystical scrolls. The game combines anime-style animation with fast-paced comedy.
Limited quantities of FINAL FANTASY X for the PlayStation 2 will start shipping to retail stores in the U.S. on December 26, 2001, instead of the originally scheduled January 2002. The game was released in Japan on July 19, 2001 and sold through 90% of the 2.14 million units it shipped in the first four days. To date, the FINAL FANTASY series has sold over 35 million units worldwide, making the franchise one of the best-selling series in the history of videogames. In FINAL FANTASY X, the main character, Tidus, is a star player of blitzball, a full contact sport.
As if talking on a mobile phone in public wasnt bad enough, Dutchbased ExtraTainment has developed four games to be played exclusively on mobile phones. MOBILE WORLD CUP allows the player to lead their own soccer team to the World Cup finals, ANDROID BATTLE puts the player in the midst of a hi-tech interplanetary struggle, THE BOOZE CONNECTION is set in the gangland of 1930s Chicago, while CHALLENGE OF THE KNIGHTS takes you back to the Dark Ages for a tournament in the king's court. All games have been designed for multi-player use, meaning contestants can play against each other.
Less than a week after the two systems were released, both Microsofts Xbox and Nintendos GameCube are selling well, with a slight edge going to GameCube. The long-awaited, twice-delayed Microsoft Xbox debuted with much fanfare on November 15, 2001 at 12:01 EST at the Toys "R" Us flagship store in Times Square. Bill Gates was on hand to present the first Xbox console to Edward Glucksman of Keansburg, New Jersey. According to a CNET news brief, a Goldman Sachs survey of U.S.
New media company Icebox is hoping that people are ready to pay for entertainment on the Web (other than porn, that is). Starting this week, Icebox is making its entire library of animation available on a pay-per-view basis through Icebox On Demand (www.icebox.com). Since relaunching the site in April 2001, Icebox has been focusing its core business on developing new content for traditional and new media, as well as the licensing of its existing library.
Infogrames, Inc. is bringing back Atari for the holidays. Now available, MXRIDER and SPLASHDOWN for Sony PlayStation2 are the first games to launch under the new Atari banner. Infogrames recently launched both MXRIDER and SPLASHDOWN globally, releasing the games to an estimated 15,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and 23,800 outlets internationally. MXRIDER is a motocross racing game featuring authentic motorbike speed and action with over 50 licensed Motocross World Championship riders in all three motorbike classes (125cc, 250cc and 500 cc).
Ubi Soft Entertainment's online division has launched ubi.com, a new gaming portal that allows gamers to play games and participate in online communities. ubi.com is now available in North America and France and will eventually spread to other countries. The company also has plans to extend ubi.com to console gamers later in the year. Since online communities are an important part of the gaming culture, ubi.com has licensed state-of-the-art forum technology to make it easy for players to post their comments and ideas online and hopes to give fans the ultimate community experience.
On Level13.net, check out CalArts alum Charles Allen-Ecks award-winning short ONION JOHN. This musical tale of a misunderstood vegetable will leave you in tears.On Darkhorse.com, home to Darkhorse Comics, you find a growing variety of shorts including Tony Millionaires SOCK MONKEYand if youd like to see the day in the life of one unemployed man, check out LAID OFF at oddtodd.com (warning: contains some explicit language!).
Activision, Inc. has teamed with mens lifestyle magazine MAXIM and Hollywood Records on a million dollar, multi-media promotional campaign to support the launch of id Software's PC game RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN. In this sequel to WOLFENSTEIN 3D, one of the original first-person shooter games, players infiltrate the Third Reich to battle horrific super-soldiers, zombies and mutants forged in the unearthly experiments of Heinrich Himmler. One component of the launch campaign includes the bundling of more than 1 million promotional interactive CD-ROMs with the December issue of MAXIM.
Chuck Jones' first original animated characters created for Warner Bros. in more than 40 years made their World Wide Web debut on October 24, 2001. Warner Bros. Online's Flash-animated cartoon Chuck Jones' TIMBER WOLF, has become one of the fastest-growing sites at warnerbros.com. According to Warner Bros., nearly 750,000 fans have checked out the antics of TIMBER WOLF and more continue to log on each day. A new Webisode will premiere each week for the shows 13-week run.
Disney/Pixar's MONSTERS, INC. is showing up in theaters on November 2, 2001 and there will be a variety of games available to accompany the film. THQ has collaborated with Disney to create Disney/Pixars MONSTERS INC. for Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color. Games will be available at major retail outlets nationwide in conjunction with the movie release on November 2, 2001. Assuming the role of Sulley, the blue and furry hero of the film, players must navigate through Monstropolis in order to return a human girl to her home safely.
The new SHREK game for Microsoft's Xbox game system features character contributions from Emmy winning producer/director, Todd McFarlane. "We are really excited about Todd's character contributions," said Vincent Bitetti, CEO of TDK Mediactive. "The twisted and quirky personalities that he incorporated into the game characters are a perfect match for the unique and irreverent humor of the game." Todd McFarlane collaborated with TDK Mediactive and developer Digital Illusions to create new, exclusive characters for SHREK for Xbox.
THE KELLYS, a Web animation series available exclusively on nascar.com, registered over 100,000 downloads of the episodes in the first 10 days of the show's September 26, 2001 launch. THE KELLYS series concept was created by SportsBlast, a company founded by voice actor Nancy Cartwright, who also provides voices for the series. In July, SportsBlast closed a deal with Turner Sports Interactive, a division of AOL Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (TBS) for the show's production and distribution.
Chuck Jones' Internet animated series TIMBERWOLF, had its world-premiere at the Ottawa Student Animation Festival, October 18-21, 2001. The show debuted on warnerbros.com on October 24, 2001. Created by legendary animation director Chuck Jones, and produced by Jones, Stephen Fossatti, Philip Vaughn and Jeff DeGrandis, TIMBERWOLF features laid-back Thomas Timber Wolf, whose unfortunate family history involves the tendency for trees to fall on his head at the utterance of his middle name.
TDK Mediactive, Inc.s new game SHREK for the Xbox video game system will be available in stores on Xbox launch day, November 15, 2001. SHREK for Xbox is being featured in the Xbox retail demo disk and brochure and on point of purchase displays that will be in stores through the holiday season. In the game, Shrek must face off with Merlin and travel to the fog-shrouded Dark Tower Fortress of Pure Evil. To clear the fog and gain access, Shrek must perform various good deeds across the Fairy Tale Lands.
Microsoft has downsized the capacity of the hard drive on its upcoming Xbox video game console and made it more family friendly. In a REUTERS report, Microsoft confirmed that the drive capacity will shrink to 8 gigabytes (GB) from the previously advertised 10 GB. Microsoft declined to explain why the change was made, only that the change was not due to manufacturing problems. This news comes on the heels of Microsofts announcement that the Xbox will be the first videogame console with a built-in parental control to restrict childrens game play based on ESRB ratings.
Multimedia graphics provider WildTangent is powering DARK ORBIT, an episodic 3D sci-fi shooter game now available on www.shockwave.com. DARK ORBIT transforms the player into the sole survivor of a small mining colony, who must collect the remaining precious few resources and use them to build more firepower. During this exploration, he can also discover new technology that will upgrade his meager mining craft into a high-powered machine of mass destruction. Gamers have access to five large maps and more than a dozen weapons and missiles to research and build upgradeable modular ships.
Disney Interactive has launched its premiere title under the Disney Imagineering brand, ULITMATE RIDE, a roller coaster design game. The photo-realistic, real-time, 3-D action roller coaster game allows gamers aged nine and up to imagine, build, customize, test and ride various coaster designs. ULTIMATE RIDE lets players pick from three types of tracks, classic wood, hanging or top-track, or modern steel to design with and ride. Coasters are built within four unique environments: mountain, outer space, underground cavern and engineering grid.
Activision, Inc. has released SPIDER-MAN for the PC and SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO'S MENACE and X-MEN: REIGN OF APOCALYPSE, both for the Game Boy Advance. These releases mark the super heroes' debut on Nintendo's new handheld video game system. SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO'S MENACE lets pocket gamers live the fantasy of Marvel's legendary webslinger with the enhanced, side-scrolling gameplay and powerful graphics of the Game Boy Advance. When Mysterio unleashes his illusory schemes, Spider-Man must stop his evil plan and restore life to normal.
Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment has launched an interactive PDA-based game to promote Revolution Studios & Columbia Pictures' new feature film THE ONE. This is first time that a studio has created a PDA-based game on behalf of a major motion picture release. "The thematic elements of THE ONE fit perfectly with the idea of a PDA-based game," said Geoffrey Ammer, President of Marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment.