1990s Australian Videogames

Shadowrun (SNES)

Shadowrun (SNES)

The original Shadowrun game design concept was developed by Gregg Barnett. It was very forward thinking according to Shadowrun map designer Justin Halliday but also rather technically infeasible. The games design document promised the feel of a 3D world.  Halliday explains “It envisaged this beautiful isometric game on the SNES with forced perspective where you could move your character between foreground and background objects.” None of which had previously been done on the SNES.

Aussie Rules Footy (NES)

Aussie Rules Footy (NES)

Aussie Rules Footy was the first Australian Rules Football (AFL) game for console (1). It was developed by Beam Software and published under their Laser Beam Entertainment identity that Fred Milgrom created to publish Nintendo games locally. The game was only released in Australia.

Bad Street Brawler (NES)

Bad Street Brawler (NES)

Bad Street Brawler is a game title familiar to many for its celebrated place on “worst videogame ever” lists and its canonical status as one of only two games ever designed specifically for use with the infamous Mattel Power Glove for the NES. But its real story is that of Beam Software’s quest to develop for Nintendo in the late 1980s.

International Cricket (NES)

International Cricket (NES)

Released in 1992, International Cricket is the second of the Australian Sports Games Beam Software self published in Australia for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES ) through their publishing arm Laser Beam Entertainment. It followed on from Aussie Rules Footy in 1991.

Nightshade (NES)

Nightshade (NES)

The genesis of Nightshade according to designer Pauli Kidd is that the higher-ups at Australia’s Beam Software wanted a “graphic adventure game that would be a whodunit” The game designed by Beam Software is described by GameSetWatch writer Todd Cioleyk as “offbeat superhero” a precursor to genre popularised in movies such as “The Tick or Mystery Men” (Cioleyk, 2007).

Stargate (SNES)

Stargate (SNES)

Stargate for the SNES is a licenced videogame tie-in for the 1994 movie of the same name starring Kurt Russel and James Spader. The game is a 2D action side-scrolling platformer where the player controls Colonel Jack O’Neil (the action hero played by Kurt Russel in the film).

Super International Cricket (SNES)

Super International Cricket (SNES)

“It recreates cricket almost perfectly , whether that is good or bad depends if you like cricket or not. It’s an excellent sports sim but lacks any arcade style fun.” (“Super International Cricket Review”., Total! Magazine , Issue 43, July 95, pages 34-35).

This summary by UK games magazine Total! provides a sense of the challenge of making a cricket videogame.

The Punisher (NES)

The Punisher (NES)

A rail-shooter The Punisher is relentless in its delivery of this sole arcade style mechanism. There are a lot of levels, but the game play is consistently “shoot it all”. The Punisher is an example of the kind of licensed title that underpinned that Australian Games Industry of the era when small local development teams met publisher demands of tight budgets and timelines to deliver games that kept players busy and the cash flowing.