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Primary Name
Trilobyte
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ObjectID: 12398
Description Edit | History

From Wikipedia

The company is most famous for creating the PC game The 7th Guest, one of the first computer games for CD-ROM. Most of the footage for the game was filmed with a US$35,000 budget, Super VHS cameras, and blue butcher paper as a background that would later be removed to help insert the actors in the game, a process called chromakey, or bluescreen). The game was a puzzle-solving game similar in style to Myst. However, most of the puzzles in The 7th Guest were based on versions of real puzzles invented by people such as Max Bezzel, while the puzzles in Myst were mostly fantasy-based. Also, The 7th Guest's puzzles were mostly independent from their environment, whereas Myst's puzzles were heavily integrated into the environment. For the time, it had amazing graphics by Robert Stein III, Gene Bodio, Alan Iglesias, George P. Burdell, MIDI music by The Fat Man, and an interesting story by Matthew J. Costello. During planning, a sequel was already being considered in anticipation of success. The final version of The 7th Guest was released in 1993. 60,000 copies were snapped up overnight, and a bevy of requests for reorders arrived days later. When the game was released, some CD-ROM manufacturers registered up to a 300 percent increase in sales for CD-ROM drives.

Overall, the game proved to be a turning point in CD-ROM based technology. If not for the popularity of The 7th Guest and Myst, a similar-styled adventure game, the CD-ROM would not have been as popular and would have taken longer to gain a foothold in the marketplace.

The 11th Hour was released in the fall of 1995, after missing its original release date by more than a year. It was one of the first games to support 16-bit color. Graphically, the game was superb for the time. It featured detailed environments and fluid motion. However, the game drew criticism for several reasons. The game was released in DOS when Windows 95 had already been out for some time. The company was flooded with callers trying to get the game to run on their machines. The game still used MIDI for music, instead of CD audio. In addition, the gameplay was not well received by some, with players getting angry at the puzzles and riddles they had to solve, ranging from abstract logic to anagrams. Despite the massive amount of pre-orders from vendors, sales ended up being far below the expected amount, and the game did not recover its production costs, a key factor in the company's financial downfall.

The next projects for Trilobyte were published by Trilobyte itself. Clandestiny, with gameplay similar to the previous The 7th Guest, and The 11th Hour, though using cel animated (cartoon) video rather than live action, and Uncle Henry's Playhouse, a re-packaging of a number of the puzzles and games from The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour, and Clandestiny. However, neither of them did well commercially, and they are not well-known.

After Clandestiny, the company effectively took two internal directions. Landeros led a project called Tender Loving Care, while Devine started a Massively Multiplayer project, Millennium. Tender Loving Care (starring John Hurt), often referred to simply as TLC, was completed in 1998.

About the same time, Red Orb Entertainment, a division of Brøderbund, signed on to publish two titles on Devine's "side" of the company — Assault!, a top-down multiplayer action game, and Extreme Racing, a racing game, which ran on a shared game engine. Red Orb was also publishing the games Riven and Prince of Persia 3D at the time. Assault! was later renamed Extreme Warfare and changed from top-down to a first person perspective. Extreme Racing was likewise retitled Baja 1000 Racing and attached to a SCORE International racing license. Both games made appearances at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show that year.

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