Video Game Developer Brands

Updated: Feb 15

Hi again everyone! Let's take a look into how video game developer brands have shaped gaming.

If you have any experience in sales, you will probably have sat through a mind-numbing presentation about 'the power of the brand.'

I know I have. At the time I was thinking "Well, that's three hours of my life I'm not going to get back" but as tedious as it was, they had a point.

Brand recognition matters - and this applies to the entertainment industry too.

You can spot a Tim Burton film a mile off, as they all share a common aesthetic theme. You can usually identify Tarantino films by their style, dialogue, music and non-linear storytelling. And if a film has too-many-CENSORED-explosions it's probably by Michael Bay. Personally, I have always liked this, as you know what you will be getting in advance, and thus can choose what to watch accordingly.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, this also applied to video games. This was especially true during the 16-bit era, and particularly so for games developed for the Amiga.

There were several video game developers and publishers whose games had a distinctive look and feel. You could tell if a game was made by Team-17, Bitmap Brothers or Psygnosis just by glancing at it. These ‘signature’ visual themes were often backed up by signature soundscapes and music styles, creating a clear ‘brand identity.’

Example 1: Team 17

For example, in the following games from Team 17, you can easily spot a common grey ‘metallic’ visual theme and an industrial-techno soundscape.

Alien Breed Special Edition 1992 - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Project-X Special Edition 1993 Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Assassin - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Superfrog - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Example 2: The Bitmap Brothers

Games by the Bitmap Brothers too had a signature silver-grey metallic look, often mixed with organic elements and distinctive 'fleshy tones' of orange and peach.

What's more, games by the Bitmap Brothers frequently used music based on commercial songs of the time.

Magic Pockets - Amiga

Video by

Xenon 2 Megablast - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Gods - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Speedball 2:Brutal Deluxe - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

The exception to this was The Chaos Engine, which instead used Dynamic Music, i.e. music that changes depending on what is happening on screen at the time. This was one of the first games to do this outside of boss battles, and this further cemented their reputation as the kings of sound.

The Chaos Engine - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Example 3: Psygnosis

Psygnosis games were often created using a muted, organic ‘high fantasy’ aesthetic, backed up with orchestral and panpipe infused music.

Agony - Amiga

Gameplay starts at 05:10

Video by RedSevenNine

Shadow of the Beast - Amiga

Video by Al82 Retrogaming Longplays

Leander - Amiga<