If you'd like to help us pay the bills and keep the site running, then your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

American Video Entertainment - How it all started

American Video Entertainment was formed around February 1990 by 3 guys and a company, Macronix, who wanted to deliver cheaper Nintendo games to consumers. Richard Frick became president of AVE, he came from a company called ShareData, who later formed a subsidiary called American Game Carts Inc. Frick helped make probably the best NES zapper game ever, Chiller.

Another of the 3 guys was Phil Mikkelson, who came from Color Dreams. Mikkelson became Art Director and Producer at AVE. When Mikkelson was at Color Dreams he had been involved in the making, titlescreen and other bits, of what never actually became game, Hellraiser.

Third guy was Fred Hoot, Director of Manufacturing and Quality.

With a small company we had to wear many hats, so I had also spent a good amount of time playing the games in the evenings to track down bugs. The Krazy Kreatures game was the most addicting game for me, and I had dreams of those critters just jumping on the page and the background sounds for months after the game was published.
Fred Hoot

Fred Hoot was, for a long time the missing jigsaw for the American Video Entertainment, but his name turned up a few weeks ago when I was looking around.

It's actually quite funny that Fred Hoot's favourite AVE release was Krazy Kreatures. To me this is probably the most addictive and innovative game release by American Video Entertainment. The game was invented by Franz Lanzinger, a former Tengen programmer, with aditional programming by Dave O'Riva, who left Tengen along with Lanzinger to form their own company, Bitmasters. Krazy Kreatures was Lanzinger and O'Riva's first project away from Tengen and it paied the bills for a few months. Soon after they got contracted to do another game port, Rampart, to be released by Jaleco.

Bitmasters had planned a Krazy Kreatures sequel, it's even mentioned if you complete the first one, but they never even began designing it as AVE at this time was in somewhat deep trouble by then, and the idea was scrapped. The chance of seeing a Krazy Kreatures game for a system like the Gameboy Advance is probably unlikely. As far as I was able to find out, the rights to the game is owned by Macronix still, unless they lost them when AVE went under.

Macronix, the mother company of American Video Entertainment, was a "ROM" chip manufacturer. Because Nintendo didn't want to purchase any chips from Macronix, Nintendo would not approve any manufacturer of ROM chips other than Japanese manufacurers. Macronix then tried to get unlicensed companies to purchase their ROM chips along with the "NintendoCompatible" (NINA) chip, which defeat the Nintendo lockout system, which actually was made to prevent unauthorized carts from working. But Macronix didn't succeed to convince any companies to use their technology, and American Video Entertainment was formed.

None of the games released by American Video Entertainment was developed in-house and all developers had to do all the reverse engineering of the NES themselves. A lot of games were developed in the states, but there was also a steady stream of games from Asia, mainly one company which went under the name Sachen, but also from other companies such as Idea-Tek, Joyvan and TXE Corp. One of the games developed in the US was Dudes With Attitude, developed by Michael Crick and his daughter Cam. The game is some sort of a puzzle which actually is a bit boring if you asked me. But the game received a sequel a few years later, called Tolls on Treasure Island, where they managed to make a better game, but not at all in the same league as the Lanszinger and O'Riva game, Krazy Kreatures.

Sachen, one of the Asian developers has received quite a bit of fame in the last few years and their own releases have become top priority on most collector lists. Sachen sold games to both Color Dreams, who released Sachen created games such as Silent Assault, Taggin Dragon (Bunch Games) and Misson Cobra. American Video Entertainment also released quite a few Sachen games, Pyramid, Double Strike (which original title was Twin Eagle).