Tsunami Media, Inc.

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Tsunami Media, Inc. was founded by Edmond Heinbockel in the summer of 1991. The company was based in Oakhurst, California, adjacent to Yosemite National Park, a place well-known in gaming history. The company location wasn't a coincidence, as Heinbockel had been CFO of Sierra On-Line.

After making various adventure and action games, Tsunami embarked on a controversial and risky strategy: to create original, interactive full motion video titles and broaden the demographic through the establishment of a new form of entertainment.

In 1994 the company started to release so-called "Intelligent Motion Pictures" (IMP's) with as first title Flash Traffic: City of Angels, described by U.S. Headlines as "the first interactive film on CD." It was followed in 1995 by Silent Steel that was awarded a Murphy Award by PC Entertainment Magazine for "Best Use of Live-Action Footage" in a CD-ROM game. Silent Steel featured 150 minutes of full-screen, full-motion video and became the first interactive entertainment DVD-ROM application on the planet when a demo version was created on September 15, 1996 (it was completed on October 31).

Its success resulted the next year in Heinbockel's new company Visual Purple, LLC, a company that specializes in advanced training/learning simulations in Virtual Worlds. In 1999 Heinbockel sold Tsunami Media, Inc. to Tsunami Media Corporation (TMC), incorporated in the same year in Delaware with the purpose to provide its consumers with full motion, television quality interactive video games, that while being played allowed TMC the opportunity to download video advertisements.

Credited on 10 Games from 1992 to 1996

Free Enterprise (1996 on Windows)
Silent Steel (1995 on Windows, Windows 3.x, DVD Player)
Flash Traffic: City of Angels (1994 on DOS)
Return to Ringworld (1994 on DOS)
Man Enough (1994 on DOS)
Blue Force (1993 on DOS)
Protostar: War on the Frontier (1993 on DOS)
The Geekwad: Games of the Galaxy (1993 on DOS)
Ringworld: Revenge of the Patriarch (1992 on DOS)
Wacky Funsters! The Geekwad's Guide to Gaming (1992 on DOS)

History +

December 6th, 1999

Edmond Heinbockel sells the company to Tsunami Media Corporation, a Delaware corporation.


Most of the team moves on to found Visual Purple, LLC

Trivia +

The company website was formerly located at www.tsunamimedia.com

While Tsunami is the Japanese word for a tidal wave, Tsunami Media's name was actually derived from the late John Sandberg's propeller-driven Unlimited Gold racing airplane, Tsunami. Tragically, Mr. Sandberg was killed when his airplane crashed following the 1991 Reno Air Races.

According to Ken Williams, Sierra On-Line's CEO, he was quite upset when Tsunami was formed, and he threatened the company with litigation, because the new company would compete with Sierra and hired away many Sierra developers (as the credits of Ringworld: Revenge of the Patriarch demonstrate). A few years later, Jim Walls, the designer of Sierra's Police Quest series, joined the company as well, which resulted in Blue Force.

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