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Backbone Entertainment
TypeDivision
IndustryVideo game industry
PredecessorImaginEngine
Digital Eclipse Software, Inc.
FoundedFebruary 19, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-02-19)
Headquarters
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
,

Backbone Entertainment is an American video game developer based in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Created on February 19, 2003, it is the result of the merger of ImaginEngine and Digital Eclipse Software, Inc. effective on January 1, 2004.

History[]

Digital Eclipse logo, featuring the solar eclipse

Backbone Entertainment is the result of a 2003 merger between Digital Eclipse Software and ImaginEngine. Digital Eclipse specialized in arcade game emulation and handheld video games, and formerly had studios in Emeryville, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. ImaginEngine specializes in children's software, formerly having studios in San Francisco, California and Boston, Massachusetts. The San Francisco and Emeryville teams were combined at the Emeryville location upon execution of the merger.

One of their first franchise projects as Backbone Entertainment was Death Jr., for the PSP. They have also produced a sequel, Death, Jr. II: Root of Evil, and a Nintendo DS version of the franchise entitled Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom. When Death Jr. was first announced, the CEO of Backbone spoke on making DJ a full-featured franchise, with comic books, a TV show, action figures, and more. According to GameRankings, the average review score for the three games in the franchise is a 59%, with Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom scoring the lowest overall.

Foundation 9 Entertainment era[]

In 2005 the company merged with another video game developer, The collective in Newport Beach, CA to form a new conglomerate, Foundation 9 Entertainment.

The Foundation 9 Entertainment conglomerate initially used the Backbone Entertainment brand for its original titles, the Digital Eclipse brand for its arcade emulation titles, and ImaginEngine for many children's titles. Currently, the name ImaginEngine is used for products from the Boston-based studio of Foundation 9 Entertainment,[1] while Backbone Entertainment is used for their Emeryville, California-based studio.

An additional studio was formed in 2006 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, but was spun out in 2007 to become Other Ocean Interactive.[2] The Vancouver, British Columbia-based studio of Backbone Entertainment was scaled back in September 2008 and ultimately closed in May 2009, ending the company's presence in Canada.[3] Among that studio's later projects were Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2.

They developed Bomberman Live and Shrek N' Roll for the Xbox 360, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and its follow-up compilation, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. They also created the Halo 3 interactive bonus disc included with Collector's and Legendary versions of the game.

Another studio was added, KnowWonder, formerly owned by Amaze Entertainment, best known for The Sims 2 DS and The Sims: Bustin' Out.

Games developed[]

Year Video game Platform(s) GameRankings score
2000 Dragon's Lair Game Boy Color 76.50%
2000 Little Nicky Game Boy Color 67.75%
2000 Alice in Wonderland Game Boy Color 73.50%
2001 Batman: Chaos in Gotham Game Boy Color 63.50%
2001 Rayman Advance Game Boy Advance 85.06%
2001 Spyro: Season of Ice Game Boy Advance 71.75%
2002 Disney's Lilo & Stitch Game Boy Advance 75.58%
2002 Phantasy Star Collection Game Boy Advance 76.09%
2002 Spyro 2: Season of Flame Game Boy Advance 77.97%
2002 Spider-Man Game Boy Advance 77.56
2003 Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs Game Boy Advance 74.50%
2004 Grand Theft Auto Game Boy Advance 70.87%
2004 The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island PC
2005 Rifts: Promise of Power N-Gage 73.57%
2005 Death Jr. PSP 63.24%
2005 Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, Game Boy Advance 63.43%
2006 Age of Empires: The Age of Kings Nintendo DS 79.80%
2006 Charlotte's Web Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance 61.00%
2006 Death Jr. II: Root of Evil PSP 70.65%
2006 NBA Ballers: Rebound PSP 69.78%
2006 Sonic Rivals PSP 65.95%
2006 MechAssault: Phantom War Nintendo DS 64.75%
2007 Bomberman Live XBLA 85.24%
2007 Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom Nintendo DS 50.62%
2007 Sonic the Hedgehog iPod
2007 Brooktown High PSP 49.11%
2007 Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PSN, XBLA 84.00%
2007 Sonic Rivals 2 PSP 62.90%
2007 Shrek n' Roll XBLA 45.70%
2008 Monster Lab Wii 72.85%
2008 Death Jr. II: Root of Evil Wii 70.25%
2008 Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 PSN, XBLA 67.36%
2008 1942: Joint Strike PSN, XBLA 71.03%
2008 Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PSN, XBLA 88.75%
2009 Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection/Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection Xbox 360, PS3 81.11%
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Nintendo DS
2009 Rock Band Unplugged PSP 80.03%
2009 Lego Rock Band Nintendo DS 78.86%
2009 Marvel vs. Capcom 2 PSN, XBLA 83.81%
2010 Rock Band 3 Wii, Nintendo DS 90.67%
2011 Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon PSN, XBLA
2011 Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone PSN, XBLA
2012 Dance Central 3 Xbox 360
2012 Midway Arcade Origins Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Ports[]

  • The Disney Afternoon Collection (2017) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection (2015) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, 3DS, and PC
  • The Simpsons Arcade Game (2012) - XBLA, PSN
  • X-Men (2010) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
  • Shinobi (2009) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Space Invaders Extreme (2009) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Cyberball 2072 (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Gyruss (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Paperboy (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Root Beer Tapper (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Rush'n Attack (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Super Contra (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Track & Field (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Yie Ar Kung-Fu (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Golden Axe (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Ecco the Dolphin (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
  • Streets of Rage 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (2007) - Charlottetown - XBLA
  • Defender (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Frogger (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Contra (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Robotron: 2084 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Scramble (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Time Pilot (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Joust (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Gauntlet (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Smash TV (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA

Eclipse Engine[]

Part of Digital Eclipse's work include their own Eclipse Engine, a tool that allows them to decompile the code from older games into machine-readable format that is then used by the Eclipse Engine to play them on modern systems. While it may take some extra work by the company to decompile the older game into the proper format one time, this approach allows them to rapidly port the Eclipse version to any modern gaming system, including computer, console, or portable/mobile device with a minimum of effort. This engine has been used so far in the Mega Man Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection.[4][5]

References[]

  1. ImaginEngine web site Archived 2008-01-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Foundation 9 says goodbye to Charlottetown
  3. Vancouver's video game family tree.
  4. Orland, Kyle (August 27, 2015). "The new tech making game preservation more authentic and future-proof". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 23, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Watts, Steve (March 23, 2017). "Disney Afternoon Collection Producer Talks Challenges and Nostalgia". Shacknews. Retrieved March 23, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[]

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