Starbreeze picks up Defender of the Crown, TV Sports, and other Cinemaware classics

Cinemaware may not be the most immediately recognizable name in the videogame business these days, but there was a time, back in the '80s, when it was kind of a big deal. It produced games like Rocket Ranger, It Came From the Desert, Defender of the Crown (my personal favorite) and the TV Sports series, but despite those successes the company went bankrupt in 1991. Now it seems like at least some of those games may be coming back—although perhaps not quite as they were. 

Starbreeze has acquired the Cinemaware brand, and all its properties, for a not-insubstantial €525,000 ($595,000) in straight-up cash. That includes: 

  • Defender of the Crown
  • Wings
  • The King of Chicago
  • Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon
  • Lords of the Rising Sun
  • Rocket Ranger
  • It Came from the Desert
  • It Came from the Desert II: Antheads
  • SDI
  • TV Sports: Basketball
  • TV Sports: Baseball
  • TV Sports: Boxing
  • TV Sports: Football
  • TV Sports: Hockey

Unfortunately, the immediate plan is not to update or reboot these games for current in-home platforms, but to “bring the Cinemaware legacy forward and into location based entertainment centers and beyond.” Those would be the “premium location-based virtual reality offerings" for “multiplexes, malls, and other commercial destinations” that Starbreeze announced in conjunction with Imax last month.    

“Defender of the Crown is one of the games that made me and many others at Starbreeze go into the gaming industry all those years ago. For many, Cinemaware set the bar for fun and immersive gaming in the Atari and Amiga-era. For us, as a developer, it will be a pleasure to re-energize and bring these great brands into the new era of VR and other platforms,” Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint said. “The classic Cinemaware games are concepts that still in this day are epic imaginations. We will make them excel in excellent VR-experiences at our location based IMAX centers. “      

That's not exactly what I was hoping for when I first saw the announcement, but even so I'm (very) cautiously optimistic that eventually something a little more accessible at home will come out of all this. Restricting these games to fixed locations (that don't actually exist yet) when home VR is crying out for new content would be awfully limiting.      

Thanks, Kotaku.    

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.