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Backbone Entertainment was an American video game developer based in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Created on February 19, 2003, it is the result of the merger of ImaginEngine and Digital Eclipse Software, Inc. effective on January 1, 2004.

History

Digital Eclipse logo, featuring the solar eclipse

Backbone Entertainment is the result of a 2003 merger between Digital Eclipse Software and ImaginEngine. Digital Eclipse specialized in arcade game emulation and handheld video games, and formerly had studios in Emeryville, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. ImaginEngine specializes in children's software, formerly having studios in San Francisco, California and Boston, Massachusetts. The San Francisco and Emeryville teams were combined at the Emeryville location upon execution of the merger.

One of their first franchise projects as Backbone Entertainment was Death Jr., for the PSP. They have also produced a sequel, Death, Jr. II: Root of Evil, and a Nintendo DSversion of the franchise entitled Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom. When Death Jr. was first announced, the CEO of Backbone spoke on making DJ a full-featured franchise, with comic books, a TV show, action figures, and more. According to GameRankings, the average review score for the three games in the franchise is a 59%, with Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom scoring the lowest overall.

Foundation 9 Entertainment era

In 2005 the company merged with another video game developer, The collective in Newport Beach, CA to form a new conglomerate, Foundation 9 Entertainment.

The Foundation 9 Entertainment conglomerate initially used the Backbone Entertainment brand for its original titles, the Digital Eclipse brand for its arcade emulation titles, and ImaginEngine for many children's titles. Currently, the name ImaginEngine is used for products from the Boston-based studio of Foundation 9 Entertainment, while Backbone Entertainment is used for their Emeryville, California-based studio. The Digital Eclipse brand is no longer in use, and its website redirects to Backbone Entertainment.

An additional studio was formed in 2006 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, but was spun out in 2007 to become Other Ocean Interactive. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based studio of Backbone Entertainment was scaled back in September 2008 and ultimately closed in May 2009, ending the company's presence in Canada. Among that studio's later projects were Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2.

They developed Bomberman Live and Shrek N' Roll for the Xbox 360, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portableand its follow-up compilation, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. They also created the Halo 3 interactive bonus disc included with Collector's and Legendary versions of the game.

Another studio was added, KnowWonder, formerly owned by Amaze Entertainment, best known for The Sims 2 DS and The Sims: Bustin' Out.

Games developed

Year Studio Video game Platform(s) GameRankings score
1999 --- Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed Game Boy Color ---
Paint World
2000 Little Nicky 67.75%
Alice in Wonderland 73.50%
Ama's Adventure ---
2001 Batman: Chaos in Gotham 63.50%
Zina Supermoon ---
Rayman Advance Game Boy Advance 85.06%
Cubix: Robots For Everyone - Race 'N Robots ---
Emeryville Bob the Builder: Fix-It Fun
Vancouver Spyro: Season of Ice 71.75%
2002 --- Lilo & Stitch 75.58%
The Gabriel Garza Movie ---
Phantasy Star Collection 76.09%
Vancouver Spyro 2: Season of Flame 77.97%
Emeryville Spider-Man 77.56%
Ama: The Crystal Challenge ---
Boston Jonah: A VeggieTales Game PC
Vancouver Zina Supermoon: The Cosmic Adventure Game Boy Advance
2003 Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs 74.50%
Gabriel Garza: Coupled ---
Paint World: Deon's Huge Journey
Dusk and Dawn
Digimon Battle Spirit N-Gage
Digimon Battle Spirit 2
Gabriel Garza: Coupled
Dusk and Dawn
Boston Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer PC
2004 Blue's Room: Blue Talks!
The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown
Emeryville Grand Theft Auto Game Boy Advance 70.87%
Boston The Incredibles: When Danger Calls PC ---
The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Vancouver Rifts: Promise of Power N-Gage 73.57%
Boston Bob the Builder: Project: Build It PC ---
Emeryville Death Jr. PSP 63.24%
Vancouver Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, Game Boy Advance 63.43%
2006 Vancouver Age of Empires: The Age of Kings Nintendo DS 79.80%
Boston Charlotte's Web Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance 61.00%
Emeryville Death Jr. II: Root of Evil PSP 70.65%
NBA Ballers: Rebound 69.78%
Vancouver Sonic Rivals 65.95%
Emeryville MechAssault: Phantom War Nintendo DS 64.75%
2007 Vancouver Bomberman Live XBLA 85.24%
Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom Nintendo DS 50.62%
Emeryville Sonic the Hedgehog iPod ---
Puyo Puyo 2
Brooktown High PSP 49.11%
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PSN, XBLA 84.00%
Vancouver Sonic Rivals 2 PSP 62.90%
Emeryville Shrek n' Roll XBLA 45.70%
2008 Vancouver Monster Lab Wii 72.85%
Emeryville Death Jr. II: Root of Evil 70.25%
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 PSN, XBLA 67.36%
1942: Joint Strike 71.03%
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix 88.75%
2009 Emeryville, Vancouver Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection/Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection Xbox 360, PS3 81.11%
Emeryville G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Nintendo DS ---
Rock Band Unplugged PSP 80.03%
Lego Rock Band Nintendo DS 78.86%
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 PSN, XBLA 83.81%
2010 Rock Band 3 Wii, Nintendo DS 90.67%
2011 Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon PSN, XBLA ---
Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone
2012 Dance Central 3 Xbox 360
Midway Arcade Origins Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Ports

  • The Disney Afternoon Collection (2017) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection (2015) - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, 3DS, and PC
  • The Simpsons Arcade Game (2012) - XBLA, PSN
  • X-Men (2010) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
  • Shinobi (2009) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Space Invaders Extreme (2009) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Puyo Puyo 2 (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Cyberball 2072 (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Gyruss (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Paperboy (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Root Beer Tapper (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Rush'n Attack (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Super Contra (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Track & Field (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Yie Ar Kung-Fu (2007) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Golden Axe (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Ecco the Dolphin (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA, PSN
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
  • Streets of Rage 2 (2007) - Emeryville - XBLA and PSN
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (2007) - Charlottetown - XBLA
  • Defender (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Frogger (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Contra (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Robotron: 2084 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Scramble (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Time Pilot (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (2006) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Joust (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Gauntlet (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA
  • Smash TV (2005) - Vancouver - XBLA

Eclipse Engine

Part of Digital Eclipse's work include their own Eclipse Engine, a tool that allows them to decompile the code from older games into machine-readable format that is then used by the Eclipse Engine to play them on modern systems. While it may take some extra work by the company to decompile the older game into the proper format one time, this approach allows them to rapidly port the Eclipse version to any modern gaming system, including computer, console, or portable/mobile device with a minimum of effort. This engine has been used so far in the Mega Man Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection.

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