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Nicolas Choukroun (Nikko) (born 1966 in Montpellier) is a French born multimedia author with multiple talents that encompass the video games, the music, the professional audio, the video and the internet.
His career in the video game industry
Nicolas Choukroun has been a pioneer in the video game Industry, playing a key role in companies like Ubisoft, or Cryo Interactive at a time they were just start-ups. He has created some game concepts that are now very popular. He got worldwide coverage for games like Aliens a Comic book Adventure, the front page of PC Gamers US and UK and got prime time TV interviews on TF1 and TV5 French TV channels.
Nicolas Choukroun started to be interested by video games in the early 80's while he was in Hi-School at the "Mass de Tesse" College in Montpellier, when one of his friend shown him a Sainclair ZX Spectrum. His first computer was a Texas Instrument TI99A. He started to learn the basic and programming with the Assembly cartridge. Later on, he purchased a MSX 1 Sanyo and started his first video game named KillDozer in Z80 assembly. then got a Yamaha MSX II, that was the first micro computer to have a midi plug-in so he could use it both to create music and to do programming. But it is on the Atari ST that Nicolas Choukroun published his first game.
In 1985, he moved definitively to Paris where Ubi Soft proposed him to work as a full time employee in their Creteil's office. In 1988 Nicolas Choukroun meet Michel Ancel through a local newspaper classified advertisement to find graphic artists. They worked together on a game prototype named Mechanic Warrior which despite some leaks to the press and a very positive feedback was never released.
Finally in November 1989, Nicolas Choukroun released his first video game Intruder with Ubi Soft. This game was a side scrolling game and was very original because of its second degree humor but was not very well accepted by the game community who were more interested in very serious games like Nemesys or R-Type. Nicolas did some programming work on The Teller (Brain Blaster in the UK) for Michel Ancel and released his second video game in February 1990 Pick'n Pile with Ubi Soft. This game got a lot of success and a worldwide distribution. It has been converted for almost every platform, Atari 2600, Apple II, Apple II GS, Amstrad, Amiga, PC DOS etc... this game was the precursor of all the 'Gems' games like Pop Cap's Bejeweled. Internally, Nicolas Choukroun wrote numerous game designs for Ubisoft (Dad Venture for TRS, Adam & Eve]) and joined a unique creative experiment named 'le Chateau' where Ubi Soft had their authors working in the Castle of La Gacilly in Carentoir.
In 1991, Ubi Soft decided to stop all their developments, and Nicolas Choukroun moved to work for Loricel as a game producer. He would produce Vortex, Entity, Paragliding, Quadrel, Moonblaster, Timerace and Turbo Cup. Because Broderbund was distributed by Loriciel in France he produced the French version of Prince of Persia (1991).
In 1992, Philip Ulrich, Remi Herbulo and Jean Martial Lefranc founded Cryo Interactive and hired Nicolas Choukroun to be producer and game designer for their startup. The next 2 years Nicolas Choukroun was responsible of the 'second floor' (the first floor was the administrative area) and hired more than 80 people in different teams, producers, artists, musicians and programmers. Numerous games were created under his management Speedy Gonzales for Sega, Timecop for Victor Interactive, Virus, Trashman for EA and finally Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure (1995) for Mindscape where Nicolas Choukroun is credited as Producer, Lead Programmer, Game Designer and Music Composer. This game got an incredible success but has been killed in the egg by 20th Century Fox after one month of sales and +200.000 unit sold in the USA. However it got the "Best Adventure Game of the Year" award in PC Loisir. This game is to date, the only adventure game ever published based on the Alien's movie license. Its story was very innovative and based on the Dark Horse Comics books.
In 1996, Nicolas Choukroun quit Cryo.
His career in the Internet
In 1996 Nicolas Choukroun start learning Internet and creates the first automatic submission software Ablaze under the name of Virtual Promoter, he also develop and community based on the emulation of old video games and consoles on modern computer named the Emuclassic Network. He sign advertising contracts with Burst and Flycast and extend his network on a dozen different domain names all related to video games and technology. This community will reach the rank 3583 in the Mediametrie barometer in 1999. At its peak Emuclassics was doing 25,000 unique users and more than one million hits per day.
In 2000, Nicolas Choukroun is hired Director of Europe by Netwhirl communication, a Pre-IPO startup from Irvine (CA). In 2001 Nicolas Choukroun sells his network for an estimated 1.5 Million Dollars of shares of eFront.com, Netwhirl communication's website.
In 2001, Nicolas Choukroun creates DSPDEV (that later will become ScopeDSP). This new website is based on the development of software emulation of professional studio gears for the German soundcard Creamware. Rapidly DSPDEV becomes one of the most popular 3rd party developer, with the Gold Verb reverberator, the Multicomp multiband compressor and more than 20 other plugins. He releases a library of DSP modules (the DSPLIB) that extends the possibilities of the Creamware platform. Creamware decided that it was breaking their developer contract and decided to cancel his developer agreement in 2004.
- In 2004, Nicolas Choukroun creates Gigfiles a website selling sounds for audio professionals.
- In 2005, Nicolas Choukroun creates the award winning Absolute Pianos.
- In 2007, Nicolas Choukroun moves to Florida to work with Sonic Reality, one of the precursor in the sound creation in the USA since 1995. Nicolas Choukroun is still in charge of everything related to the technology in Sonic Reality, web, scripting and iPhone development.
Nicolas Choukroun has been raised in the love of music by his mother and piano teacher Magalie Choukroun. He started to compose music at the age of 12 and continued all his life, publishing more than 10 music albums in all styles and composing the music of all his video games.
Since he is creating plug-ins for the Pro Audio industry, Nicolas Choukroun has been credited in Samplit (revolutionary system to sample automatically analog gear to re-create them digitally from Soundlib), Ocean Way Studio Drums (the recreation of Drum sounds of the most awarded Los Angeles Studio as a plug-ins, recorded by Allen Side), Drum Master (from Sonic Reality, created by legendary studio drummers Steve Gadd (Paul Simon, Steely Dan), Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Danny Gottlieb (Pat Metheny Group), Ed Greene (Donald Fagen, Barry White), Nick D'Virgilio (Tears for Fears, Genesis)). These products got numerous awards, like the Keyboard Magazine Keybuy award or the Electronic Musician EM award for best Plug-in 2009.
- Mobygames Credits for Aliens Comic Book Adventure on Mobygames.
- Aliens Comic Book Adventure trailer on YouTube.
- Cryo Interactive list of all Games.
- Jeux Video.com Article from Jeux Video.com that explain the relationship between Michel Ancel et Nicolas Choukroun (in French).
- du Net about Nicolas Choukroun's career.
- Pick'n Pile at Mobygames.
- Loriciel Website of ex-fans of Loriciels.
- Michel Ancel at Wikipedia.
- Interview about his work with Lankhor.
- Sonic Reality's company website.