New feature film focusing on how the Sony PlayStation helped take Video Gaming to a whole new level for both developers and players!
About this project
Welcome to our Kickstarter campaign to produce FROM BEDROOMS TO BILLIONS: THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION! A 90 minute feature documentary that will explore the influence of the Sony PlayStation and how it took video game development and the very way we experienced games to a whole new level, revolutionising the video games industry forever!
We used Kickstarter to fund our previous films called From Bedrooms to Billions (the story of the UK video games industry) and The Amiga Years (the story of the Commodore Amiga) and we are turning to it now in the hope that you will support us to produce a standout and memorable film that not only celebrates the Sony PlayStation and what followed but importantly delves deeply into why and how it was created, how it was distributed against a fiercely competitive early 1990’s backdrop and then critically why it was a revolution for the video games industry.
During the production of our two previous films so many developers, publishers, musicians and journalists we interviewed said that the release of the PlayStation was a ‘game changer‘ for the games industry on many different levels. Therefore it is our intention to film a whole new set of interviews to add to our already extensive list to create a standalone, immersive andhighly nostalgic film that really explores why the release of the PlayStation and the era that soon followed was a key period in the evolution of video games. Those that know our work will understand we are both passionate and intent on documenting the games industry as thoroughly, but also to be as entertaining as we can.
The PlayStation helped take video games into the mainstream. Suddenly for just a few hundred dollars / pounds you could bypass the need for an expensive PC in the home and developers could produce workstation quality visuals (albeit scaled back from a fully loaded PC of the time) and the gaming public could run the game on a very cheap piece of hardware. There are so many factors to cover, the move to 3D, again not exclusive to the PlayStation but certainly the availability to the general public of these types of games was a big factor.
The film will also cover the evolution of arcade games and where they were by the early 1990’s and the influence they played on the eventual success of the PlayStation. It is also our intention to thoroughly cover the creation of the system by telling the story of where the games industry was in the early 1990’s and the domination of Nintendo and Sega and the task at hand to break that. We are also looking forward to bringing Japan into this motion picture and hearing from some of the most influential Japanese games developers and hardware designers, as well as a whole host of other developers, publishers and musicians from across the world.
We really feel to make this film in the way it should be made, it needs to capture that worldwide view, as the PlayStation allowed for developers from all over the world to work on the system. This led to an amazing array of titles which exposed players and developers alike to different styles and cultures, which when mixed with existing game design formulas helped inspire and create all new games and concepts as the games industry continued to thrive, learn, inspire and expand.
We will look at where the worldwide games industry was prior to the PlayStation’s conception in the mid 1990’s, exploring the console domination at that time by Nintendo and Sega and how that initially led to Sony’s involvement with Nintendo.
We will also look at how the game cartridge distribution method affected developers and where the industry seemed to be heading at what was the last days of 16-bit with several hardware manufacturers eyeing the industry with a view to entry with proposed 32-bit (and beyond) technologies being discussed.
The arcade game industry in the early 90’s was still very strong across the world and was very much the bench mark for the newest games that showed off the jaw-dropping 3D visuals that were becoming more and more popular at that time.
The home computer market which had been very powerful across Europe previously thanks to the 8-bits and then the 16-bit brands such as the Amiga and Atari ST were starting to be overcome by the PC, not in price however but on a technical level.
As Nintendo and Sega were popular in the US this had spread to the UK and most of Europe, with cheap console hardware and a large array of licensed titles appealing more to buying parents than the seemingly more complex home computer market at that time.
The US games market, though initially leading the world in the late 70’s and early 80’s thanks largely to Atari and home computer gaming – had virtually collapsed by 1984. Since then it had been almost completely overrun by Nintendo, with some of that domination pulled back by Sega in the early 90’s and a PC market starting to open up as the 90’s moved forward.
In Japan during the 80’s there had been a fairly successful home computer and console market which had (and still was) producing a fairly eclectic range of games and styles with of course the arcades as strong as ever. Japanese hardware and game development seemed to be going from strength to strength with many companies benefitting. Nintendo had cleverly got themselves into an almost unassailable position by 1990, before Sega put a dent in that belief leading to a seemingly two horse slugging match between the two Japanese giants.
By 1993 video games were known to the world and had been for 20 years, they were popular and were employing many people and making a lot of money. However despite this some still felt at this time that games may still just be a fad enjoyed by children in bedrooms, something needed to happen to make games truly mainstream and explode into the mass market, a more permanent fixture of the main living room.
To do that you would need state of the art but easily available and relatively cheap hardwarethat truly caught the eye and brought the types of games currently enjoyed in the arcades into the home. You would need to help publishers spend more on game development rather than worry about how much money to set aside through being concerned by how many cartridges had to be pre-ordered and paid for months in advance.
There needed to be a big change in the way games were created and then sold, an option could be to use the new but still not hugely successful CD storage based technology emerging at that time.
if you could develop some really special hardware capable of 3D arcade quality
If you could supply games on a CD based media that could be replicated quickly and cheaply.
If you can get the developers and publishers onboard to develop for it
If you could get a stunning array of titles together in the first few years
If you can keep the price of the machine and the games low,
if you can market it right…?
if you can do all that then it may just spark a revolution!
We will go into detail on the circumstances that led to the creation of the Sony PlayStationand look to interview as many of the key individuals as possible involved in that project. Our previous backers will already know how we like to make sure the actual people involved tell their part of the story so this will be the same here, so the viewer feels that the film is ascomprehensive as possible with a good balance between games and technology. We have always felt games play and feel so much better when you understand what has gone into their creation and in this case the struggles and efforts required to develop and create thePlayStation hardware as well.
Many publishers and developers talk of the difference they felt when designing and releasing for a CD based system as opposed to a cartridge based one. We will explore this and understand why extra development money (at least for some) suddenly became available.
What was involved in creating those first batch of titles for the PlayStation in the first few years? Who and how were developers convinced to try developing for a new system from a company that had never previously released hardware (in this form) into the games market before?
From a developers point of view what were the key attractions of developing for the original PlayStation and how did developers cope with the 3D hardware the system was so perfectly setup for?
This film will also cover each PlayStation console right up to the present PS4 as we see how the hardware and game development and design changed. All the way through the film we will beshowing and covering game design, as it was so many of those jaw-dropping titles that helped take video gaming into the mainstream of public consciousness. However it is that initialPlayStation 1 era that sparked so much of what is now common place in the games industry today so there is much to explore.
Making the original From Bedrooms to Billions allowed us to establish links right through the video games industry both past and present.
We always treated our interviewees with respect to ensure we covered as much of their career as possible and THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION will allow us to go out and add so many new names to our interview list in our quest to create films that are as thorough, entertaining, nostalgic, but importantly as balanced as they can possibly be!
Look and Feel
Our previous films From Bedrooms to Billions and The Amiga Years used an ensemble approach to tell the story, there was no voice-over, just the interviewees themselves guiding the viewer through combined with a large number of accompanying visuals such as archive footage, photos, magazines and music. We want to continue this style but with a whole new set of interviews that will create a well told, lasting story that can be remembered.
From a filming perspective we shot in full HD 1080p and aimed for a very high standard of visual production on both those previous films, as we were conscious of the amount of archive and of course video game footage we would need to use so we aimed for an organic ‘in the lens’ feel for all the filmed interviews, adding no green screen or visual effects other than simple name plates and grading to the shots so that when we did cut to game footage or archive it gave it more impact. For THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION we will insist on the same, everything to look as crisp and slick as possible.
The main film will come with Subtitles in English and English Hard of Hearing,
In addition as a huge amount of our work goes on the researching and sourcing of archive video, film and TV footage, photos, magazines and of course games, so we will keep to the same standards we insisted on for From Bedrooms to Billions, we want to produce something memorable and this is 100% our intention with THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION!
Our plan is to turn the film around and release it for May 2017. From Bedrooms to Billions took more time due to the huge amount of research, contacting and sourcing of archive and interviewees. However for THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION we have a huge head start on that due to how much work has already been done so we aim to film all our new interviews by end of December 2016 with an intensive post-production of 16 weeks to follow.
We will keep our backers regularly updated on progress right throughout production of THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION providing screen shots, clips and early sequences along the way in our ‘Backer Zone’ just as we did before. This was actually a highlight for us during our previous campaign because we thoroughly enjoyed discussing and sharing sequences in the ‘Backer Zone’ from the film with our backers.
We want to turn the film around in less than 12 months and the £50k is to make all of the film, to the highest quality and then deliver it to all of you.
The money is needed to pay for all the new filming, the editing, sound mixing and design, plus all the post-production elements that give the film that extra edge of quality. We feel we learnt so much on the first From Bedrooms to Billions that greatly improved The Amiga Years so we want that to continue with the new film and improve even more. In addition during the creation of both our previous films we extensively researched film and video footage archives across the world and discovered a great deal of rare footage, we would like to pay to license in more of this footage to help complement and tell this story as well as also licensing in some commercial music to help us give a flavour of the times the film is largely set in.
Our sole purpose is to shoot, edit and produce a new, standalone film with its own identity andcharacter, any previously shot footage will strictly be unseen and new plus any archive footage and photos we research and use will be the best we can find, and the trailer we have cut is meant to just give a flavour of our intentions.
As with our last film Blu-ray and DVD authoring is professionally designed and included, surround audio, DTS, in addition professionally mastered, replicated, high quality printing and packaging, all the elements you would expect from a high quality physical product.
One of the key things for us is making sure that all our backers not only get a great film to thehighest possible standard, that they actually enjoy and feel part of not only this campaignbut far beyond that, with all backers feeling part of the entire production of the film. Most important for us is that this version, the backer version of THE PLAYSTATION REVOLUTION is unique and never to be repeated by us again. We do this by having the incredibly talented, British video game magazine artist Oliver Frey (CRASH, ZZAP! 64) design a unique and new cover that is only ever to be made available to pre-order backers, and that cover artwork for this film is displayed right at the top of this campaign and here;
In addition we have fantastic A2 Posters of Oliver’s new cover artwork, as well as 4 x A6 postcards which contain Oliver’s original sketches and finished art.
We want to thank GamesYouLoved who helped promote our previous movie and are part of the strong retro gaming community out there with fans the world over. GamesYouLoved is born out a love of retro games of every description from your childhood. By being reminded of the retro games through images and video, what people say about them and things you were doing at the time, you are unlocking these memories to see, share and enjoy.
Funstock are Europe’s Number One Retro Gaming Destination.
Risks and challenges
We have been producing professionally produced documentaries for nearly 15 years. Our last three motion pictures ‘Burlesque Undressed’, ‘From Bedrooms to Billions’ and ‘The Amiga Years’ as well as ‘Sonic – The Birth of an Icon’ (which we were asked by Sega to make for Sonic’s 20th anniversary) were released all over the world. Though complex projects involving a great deal of filming in different countries we got them completed and on budget. We are aware of many of the pitfalls, especially when dealing with budgets and schedules and we like to think we don’t compromise on quality.
Our previous film raised a lot more on Kickstarter than we asked for so we put that extra budget right back into the film and delivered an extra hour of content for ‘all’ our backers. In addition we believe in running an open handed campaign, when people write to us there is no corporation or person in-between, the response comes back from us as our backers were (and still are) incredibly special to us both.