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Ocean Software

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Ocean Software (or Ocean Software Ltd. and sometimes Ocean of America, Inc. but generally only referred to as Ocean) was one of the biggest European video game developers/publishers of the 1980s and 90s. Renamed to Infogrames UK in 1998 and again in 2004 to Atari UK and once again in 2009 now known as Atari, Inc.

The company was founded by David Ward and Jon Woods and was based in Manchester. Ocean developed dozens of games for a variety of systems such as the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga, PC, and video game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive.


The company's early releases in 1984 (Moon Alert, Hunchback, High Noon, Gilligan's Gold, etc.) were developed in-house, but later in that year. Ocean Software acquired its former Liverpool rival, the defunct software developer Imagine, and focus shifted from development to publication of games. Also in 1984, Ocean struck a deal with Konami to publish their arcade games for home computers.

  • In 1985, Ocean Software managed to secure the first movie licences, such as Rambo, Short Circuit and Cobra, as well as the TV show Miami Vice.
  • In 1986, a deal was signed with Taito for home versions of their arcade games such as Arkanoid and Renegade
  • In 1987, Ocean Software published original games again, after a marginal season filled with licences, resulting in Head over Heels, Match Day II and Wizball, which are considered to be classics by many old school gamers.
  • The last game released by Ocean was Mission: Impossible in 1998, for Nintendo 64.
  • Ocean acquired Digital Image Design in 1998.
  • Ocean was acquired by Infogrames in 1998 for £100,000,000 and renamed to Infogrames UK.

Ocean Loader

One of the most recognisable features of Ocean games during the 8-bit era was the Ocean Loader. Since most 8-bit computers used cassettes as storage, loading a game could take several minutes. Ocean used a special loading system that displayed a picture based on the game and played music (Commodore 64 only) while the game was loading. The Ocean loader music is still popular by fans of chiptunes. Five versions of the tune exist; 1 and 2 were composed by Martin Galway, 3 by Peter Clarke, 4 and 5 by Jonathan Dunn. The Ocean Loader was first used in the game Hyper Sports. Up to 1987 the Ocean Loader was written by the in house Ocean programmer Bill Barna, from 1987 to the end of the Commodore 64's commercial life the loader was replaced by "Freeload" written by in house programmer Paul Hughes.

License games

Screenshot of Highlander for the Commodore 64Ocean were famous for often buying the rights to make video games from different arcade, movie and television franchises. Many license games combined several styles for example featuring platform action and car driving. The most well received license games by Ocean were RoboCop (1988), Batman The Movie (1989) and Robocop 3 (1992), which featured 3D graphics in 16-bit versions. Also the adventure game, Hook (1992) got positive reviews. Among Ocean's license games are:

  • The Addams Family (in The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt)
  • Addams Family Values
  • Animal
  • Batman
  • Cobra
  • Cool World - NES, Super NES, Game Boy
  • Darkman
  • Eek the Cat
  • Highlander
  • Hook
  • Jurassic Park
  • Knight Rider
  • Lethal Weapon
  • Rambo
  • Rambo 3
  • Three RoboCop games
  • Salamander (Konami)
  • Short Circuit
  • Total Recall
  • The Transformers
  • The Untouchables
  • Waterworld
  • WWF European Rampage Tour
  • WWF WrestleMania

Other titles

Although Ocean was best known for its licensed games, it had many other releases.

  • Beach Volley (1989)
  • Cabal (1989)
  • Chase HQ (1988)
  • Chase HQ II (1989)
  • Cheesy (1996)
  • Combat School (1987)
  • Daley Thompson's Decathlon (1984)
  • Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge (1988)
  • Daley Thompson's Supertest
  • Eco (1987)
  • EF2000 (1997)
  • F29 Retaliator (1990)
  • Gryzor (1987)[1]
  • Head Over Heels (1987)
  • Hunchback (1984)
  • Ivanhoe (1990)
  • Inferno (1994)
  • Jelly Boy
  • Last Rites (1997)
  • Lost Patrol (1990)
  • Midnight Resistance (1990)
  • Mr. Nutz (1993)
  • Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad (1994)
  • Mr Wimpy (1984)
  • New Zealand Story (1989)
  • Operation Wolf (1989)[1]
  • Operation Thunderbolt (1990)
  • Pang (1990)
  • Parasol Stars (1992)
  • Platoon (1988)
  • Pushover (1992)
  • Rainbow Islands (1990)
  • Shadow Warriors (1990)
  • Sleepwalker (1993)
  • Space Gun (1992)
  • TFX (1993)
  • Toki (1991)
  • Where Time Stood Still (1987)
  • Wizball (1988)
  • Wizkid (1992)

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