ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.9 - DECEMBER 1999

Internet & Interactive

Disney Internet Executive Appointed To Watchdog Group. Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of business development and operations for Disney's Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG), was appointed to the COPA Commission on Child Online Protection. COPA is tasked with identifying and studying technological or other methods to reduce and restrict access to harmful material for minors on the Internet. "Since its inception with Disney Online, Buena Vista Internet Group has been committed to providing trusted environments and entertaining destinations on-line. We are pleased that Larry can offer his own expertise and Disney's leadership to COPA," said Steve Bornstein, chairman, Buena Vista Internet Group. As executive vice president, business development and operations for Buena Vista Internet Group, Shapiro oversees all business development, legal, communications, human resources and administrative functions. This announcement came a little more than a month after the arrest of Patrick Naughton, executive vice president of products at Infoseek Corp., the Internet media site which is part of Disney's Go Network, on Thursday, September 16, 1999 on the Santa Monica Pier, an amusement park area in West Los Angeles. He is charged with interstate travel with the intention of having sex with a minor. The arrest came after he met a female FBI agent who had arranged to meet him there, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. On March 8, 1999, Naughton is alleged to have started posting lewd messages on the Internet under the screen name "HotSeattle" in an Internet chat room to a male FBI agent who was posing as a 13-year-old-girl. It was this girl that Naughton expected to meet at the Santa Monica Pier. Formed in 1997, Disney's Buena Vista Internet Group oversees Web sites that include ABC.com, Disney.com, ABCNEWS.com, ESPN.com, and Family.com.

Harvey Hires Spumco. The Harvey Entertainment Company, which owns the rights to such characters as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich, announced an agreement with Spumco Inc. (the company founded in 1989 by John Kricfalusi to make The Ren & Stimpy Show for Nickelodeon) to produce cartoons created specifically for the Internet based upon classic Harvey characters. The cartoons will run from two to seven minutes in length utilizing new storylines written for Harvey characters such as Spooky, Little Audrey, Little Dot, and Herman & Catnip. The cartoons will first be distributed over the Internet via Spumco's online cartoon network located at www.realcartoons.net, and then later on the Harvey Web site at www.harvey.com. Family-friendly advertisers will be invited to sponsor the new cartoons. Spumco and Harvey will also collaborate on creating new merchandise tied into the cartoons, which will be sold on both the realcartoons and Harvey Web sites.


Get connected to all the beauty of Fantasia 2000 on their new Web site. © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Disney Debuts Fantasia 2000 Web Site. A Web site for Fantasia 2000 debuted on Friday, October 22. The site will explore various aspects of the creation of the film -- the art, music and technology -- through virtual visits to Roy Disney's office, an animator's work station and a scoring stage. The site will feature sneak preview clips from the film, interviews with the artistic and musical talents as well as games and activities. The site will also provide a complete listing of IMAX theatres around the world that will be debuting the film on January 1, 2000. Fantasia 2000 is the first full-length animated feature to be formatted for IMAX and it will play exclusively in IMAX theatres for four months. Fantasia 2000 is a sequel to the 1940 Fantasia that was originally conceived by Walt Disney as a "repertoire program" with changing musical selections. Now, with Fantasia 2000 , the film returns with seven new selections plus The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the original film. The Web site's address is www.fantasia2000.com.

As Fantasia 2000 's premiere date approaches, J.B. Kaufman finds Fantasia's roots and reveals Disney's hopes for their second chance at awakening Walt's dream in "A New Life For Fantasia."

Disney Interactive Teams Up With ESPN. Disney Interactive, ESPN and Konami announced they will produce a full line-up of ESPN sports titles for video game consoles and personal computers. The multi-platform sports brand will combine the full power of ESPN, a leading provider of sports programming, ESPN Magazine and ESPN.com, with Konami's expertise in technology and game development. Approximately 10 titles are expected to launch in 2000. The first titles, "Major League Baseball" and "NBA Basketball," both for Sega Dreamcast, and "Major League Soccer" on Sony PlayStation, will launch in spring 2000. The second wave of titles to be launched in the fall includes officially licensed league sports, as well as titles based on exclusive ESPN programming.

Disney's Tarzan Leaps To Nintendo. Emerging from the jungles in January 2000, Activision, Inc., in collaboration with Disney Interactive, Inc., will release Disney's Tarzan for Nintendo 64. This release will coincide with the video release of the Disney summer blockbuster. Players will be able to surf the trees and swing from vines either as Tarzan, Jane, Terk or Tantor. As you progress through 13-levels of game play, you can help save a family of apes from the evil clutches of Sabor the leopard or Clayton the hunter.

Read Jerry Beck's review of Disney's Tarzan.


Don Bluth's Space Ace rockets to DVD.
© Digital Leisure Inc.

Digital Leisure Releases Space Ace DVD-ROM. Digital Leisure has released Space Ace DVD-ROM, the sequel to Dragon's Lair. As one of the first animated video games in history, Space Ace features non-stop video entertainment. The evil Commander Borf has kidnapped Ace's girlfriend, the beautiful Kimberly, and is plotting to enslave the Earth using his dreaded "Infanto Ray," a weapon that changes everyone it blasts into a helpless baby. Game enthusiasts can choose to guide Ace, or his weak alter-ego Dexter, through Borf's strongholds to find and destroy the Infanto Ray, rescue Kimberly and save the Earth. Space Ace , the classic laser-disc based arcade game, features quality animation created by Don Bluth (The Secret Of N.I.M.H., An American Tail, The Land Before Time and Anastasia). In addition to the fully playable game, the Space Ace DVD-ROM release contains exclusive interviews with Bluth and Rick Dyer, co-creators and designers of the game. A special "Watch" option allows players to view the entire game without requiring moves to be made. Space Ace was previously released by Philips Media on their full-motion video CD-I platform, a precursor of DVD, in 1993. Space Ace is available in two formats: DVD-Video for DVD players, and DVD-ROM for Windows 95/98 computers. It retails for US$34.95.

The Powerpuff Girls Host AOL Chat. Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, the pint-sized crime-fighting stars of Cartoon Network's The Powerpuff Girls, created by Craig McCracken, hosted a Teen People Online chat session on AOL on Thursday, November 4 at 7 pm ET.

Spumco's George Liquor's Fishing Show Debuts. Spumco (The Ren And Stimpy Show, Ranger Smith) has begun a serialized Web Comic called George Liquor's Fishing Show , based on comics first seen in Spumco's Comic Book, which was published initially by Marvel, then by Dark Horse. The Web version is like a comic book that talks, so when you click on the dialogue balloons, George hollers at you, and there are also many hidden sound effects waiting to be found. A new page or two will be added every weekday at www.spumco.com/entertainment/gfs/index.html.

Imagine And Dreamworks Team Form POP.com. Imagine Entertainment, a film and television production company formed in 1986 by producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard, and DreamWorks SKG, which was formed by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, joined forces to create a new internet entertainment company called POP.com. The new company is an equal partnership, to be funded by Vulcan Ventures, Inc., the investment organization of DreamWorks investor Paul G. Allen. Launching in Spring 2000, POP.com is an independent digital entertainment company created to produce and broadcast original internet-only programming. The content will be a mix of live-action and animation, video on demand, live Web events, and non-linear interactive features and games. Most features will consist of one to six-minute episodic streaming video segments, or "pops," with an emphasis on comedy, although all genres of entertainment will be represented. POP.com will encourage its viewers to submit their own programming, with the best submissions being broadcast alongside POP's own content. The creators of the most popular submissions will be rewarded with development contracts at DreamWorks and Imagine. POP.com will be free to web users, with revenues derived from advertising, sponsorships and e-commerce applications. In order to make the entire content of the site accessible to the largest possible Internet audience, computer users with 28.8k modems will be able to enjoy many of the "pops," although those with faster modems and faster internet connections will obviously have improved video quality. As broadband penetration continues to grow, POP.com's programming will evolve to keep it on the cutting edge of technology.

Miss Spider's Tea Party Released On CD-Rom. Simon & Schuster Interactive has released a Miss Spider's Tea Party CD-ROM. Based on the best-selling Miss Spider's Tea Party children's books by David Kirk, the CD-ROM recreates the spectacular, colorful imagery that has thrilled children and critics alike. The CD-ROM allows children to assist Miss Spider in throwing a tea party through eight fun games that provide valuable learning experiences. The activities are designed to help kids increase color, sound, and shape identification, enhance coordination and basic motor skills, and bolster vocabulary. The CD-ROM maintains the look and feel of the books, with the added dimension of it being created in 3D computer graphics. The CD-ROM's story revolves around Miss Spider's efforts to gather her friends to her tea party in bugdom. She decorates her house and writes out invitations to eight friends. The player helps Miss Spider deliver the invitations and each time the mouse is clicked another fun and fanciful guest appears including fireflies, crickets, ladybugs, and beetles. Each of the guests has a problem that prevents them from attending the soiree. Problems are turned into games and as the player solves each problem another friend gets to go to Miss Spider's Tea Party. David Kirk's popular Miss Spider tales have sold more than three million copies worldwide. When Miss Spider's Tea Party debuted in Fall, 1994 it was selected by Parents magazine as one of "1994's Top Ten Picture Books" and cited by the School Library Journal as "extraordinary." Kirk was intimately involved in the making of the Miss Spider's Tea Party CD-ROM including writing the verse himself. Miss Spider's Tea Party is now available as a PC/MAC hybrid for US$19.95.

Sharon Schatz reviewed David Kirk's newest book, Nova's Ark, in "3D CGI Comes Aboard Nova's Ark" in the July 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine.

MTV Networks Online Announces Nickelodeon Online. Viacom's MTV Networks Online announced the formation of Nickelodeon Online, a new Internet-only company that combines several already existing Nickelodeon Web sites, as well as some new sites. Leading the new company is Nickelodeon veteran Taran Swan, who has been named senior-vice president of the new company. Swan will report directly to Fred Seibert, president of MTV Networks Online and Chairman of Nickelodeon Online. Prior to Nickelodeon Online, Swan was the General Manager for Nickelodeon Latin America, where she was responsible for the network's launch and strategic development. Nickelodeon Online combines nick.com, nickjr.com, nick-at-nite.com, tvland.com, teachers.nick.com, gas.nick.com, and redrocket.com. In addition, Nickelodeon Online has announced the premier of its first initiative: myNick on Nick.com. myNick, which was developed under the working title "The Nozzle Project on nick.com," is a new online offering featuring a wide-array of kidvergence (newspeak for "convergence for kids") and interactive experiences such as interactive digital toys and games.

Midway Mounts Games On Shockwave.Com. In a deal between Midway Games Inc. and shockwave.com, the companies will bring classic Midway arcade games to the Net. Using Shockmachine, a virtual device, players will be able to download, save and play full-screen, Shockwave versions of games like: Defender, Joust, Spy Hunter, Moon Patrol and Marble Madness. The games will remain exclusively on shockwave.com for three months then they will also be available on Midway's home site and other major Web sites. The partnership will allow each company to link to each other's site in an attempt to increase traffic for both businesses. No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.

Star Trek Hides No Evil With Activision. Watch for Hidden Evil Trekers! Activision, Inc. beamed Captain Picard and crew into stores the week of November 22, 1999 with their new release Star Trek: Hidden Evil. The new game takes place nine months after the feature film Star Trek: Insurrection, featuring story driven missions that warp players into an adventure of combat, stealth and exploration. As Ensign Sovok, a young officer serving on board the Enterprise, game-players will battle the Romulans to save the Ba'ku planet.

Sega Casts A Spell With Legacy Of Kain. Eidos Interactive, an interactive software company, will release their hit game, Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver, for Sega Dreamcast. The game was released for PlayStation and PC in August and has appeared on the cover of every major U.S. electronic gaming industry magazine. "The ongoing success and industry praise for Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver coupled with the impressive sales figures of Sega Dreamcast make this a great fit," said Rob Dyer, President, Eidos Interactive. The action adventure game allows game-players to battle vicious vampires in the netherworld. The Dreamcast version is scheduled to hit shelves in January.

Read about Sega Dreamcast in Joseph Szadkowski's article in Animation World Magazine.


Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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