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Officially Founded by Tom Zito in 1991 the history of Digital Pictures can actually be traced all the way back to 1985. While working for Axlon, a company that was part of Nolan Bushnell's Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group on a product that ultimately came up short against Worlds of Wonders Teddy Ruxpin, Tom Zito became interested in exploring the concept of Interactive Television. For the next four years he would work on trying to bring that vision to market ultimately convincing Hasbro to invest over $20 million dollars in the ill fated NEMO (aka Control-Vision) video game system before Hasbro pulled the plug on the project shortly before it's January 1989 retail debut. Two games had been completed by this point, Night Trap (1987) and Sewer Shark (1988). Without a platform to release them on Zito shelved the assets hoping that they would see release at some point in the future.

Fast forward to 1991 when Nintendo announced it's "Play Station" project which would play SNES games as well as Sony's own "Super Disc" format. The deals to secure content for this new platform were coming together and Zito's games were being considered alongside titles like Trilobytes "The 7th Guest".  Mickey Schulhof, chairman of Sony U.S.A. was so impressed with the footage of Sewer Shark that he was interested in buying the company that created it. Having already purchased the rights to both titles when Hasbro shut down the Control-Vision project Zito met with Schulhof who signed him as a developer for the Nintendo Playstation and Zito formed Digital Pictures so work could begin on updating Night Trap and Sewer Shark.

A year later Digital Pictures soon found themselves in familiar territory as Nintendo's surprise announcement that they would now be partnering with Phillips on a CD add-on (that was ultimately scrapped) left them without a console to produce their games for. It did not take long for Sega to bring them on as a licensee as it was wrapping up development of it's own CD add-on. While Sega's 32 color palatte was inferior to Nintendo's 256 work began bringing Night Trap and Sewer Shark to Sega CD at a cost of $1.5 million and $3 million respectively. The relationship was mutually beneficial as Zito had found a format that could bring his vision to the market and Sega had a developer producing multimedia content on a regular basis for it's new hardware.

From 1992-1995 Digital Pictures would create almost twenty titles that were released on a variety of platforms including Sega 32X, Saturn, 3DO, PC & Mac. In 1995, while finishing work on Maximum Surge (a sci-fi themed title featuring Star Trek's Walter Koenig and Baywatch's Yasmine Bleeth.) that was touted as an evolution of the FMV genre Digital Pictures shut down and sold the rights off to another publisher. Today, Tom Zito is the Co-Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Media Measurment Incorporated, a firm that specializes in conducting custom research that helps Advertisers, Radio & Television Broadcasters and Content Producers evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising. 


Sources: Sega-16.com - Developer's Den: Digital Pictures.

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