Trailer (Cinematic) - Moleman 4 - A video game movie

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Read more about Moleman 4

In 1983 video game development began in Hungary on an industrial scale still under the Soviet influence. While in the Western nations at that time we can only speak of handfuls of bedroom developers in Hungary on behalf of Novotrade already more than 150 people were developing games for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and other types of computers. Due to the Iron Curtain the computers used for developing several times had to be smuggled in through the borders. Despite the difficulties posed by the circumstances as early as 1983 the Hungarian developers evinced such a high level of technical brilliance that even Jack Tramiel, the legendary leader of Commodore, decided to pay a visit to Hungary to meet with them.

As far back as 1984 the British newspaper The Times reported that ’’Western computer stores are clearing room on their shelves for Hungarian products…” Hungarian developers released such world-famous games as the ’Scarabeus’ (‘Invaders of the Lost Tomb’) for instance which probably was the very first 3D image-tear free, first person labyrinth game to appear on C64. Or there was the ‘Impossible Mission II’. And as it turns out the Hungarians are to be thanked for the creation of the ‘The Last Ninja’ too. Eidos’ later president, Ian Livingstone, too, started to develop his first video game with the help of Hungarians. What’s more, it’s quite possible that the first video game developed in Europe and released in Japan as well was the Hungarian ’Traffic’ which Sony released for MSX in 1986.

Hungarians developed games for Nintendo’s console as well with no official development kit at their disposal that no one in the world, let alone Nintendo, could comprehend how they actually managed to pull off. The Hungarian games were released by companies such as Activision, Epyx, Commodore, Konami, Virgin, Sony, etc.

The link between the international publishers and the Hungarian video game company Novotrade was Robert Stein of the Andromeda Software who fled to England from Hungary in ’56. Incidentally, it is thanks to Robert Stein that Tetris got introduced to the West.

According to SEGA in the middle of the 90s Novotrade running under the new name of Appaloosa Interactive became the biggest independent studio for game development at the time. During these years Hungarian developers have produced such world-famous games as ‘Ecco the Dolphin’, ‘Adventures of Batman & Robin’, ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Crossroads of Time’, ‘Contra: Legacy of War,’ ‘Lost World: Jurassic Park’, etc.

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Trailer (Original)

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What big-name developers have said about Moleman 4

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Behind the scenes - Watch how we made Moleman 4

Watch the intro animation of Moleman 4

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Watch deleted scenes from the film

The man who introduced Tetris to the Western world.

Robert Stein fled from Hungary in 1956 and a few months later ended up in England. For a year and a half he was moving from one place to the next with his family before they could finally find a permanent residence. He was interested in computer science, especially the diverse world of chess computers. Soon he got employed as a salesman of these computers by the English company SciSys which was founded in 1978. When his good friend John Baxter became the marketing manager at the English Commodore company they decided to pay a visit to Rényi Gábor and ask him to establish the background for computer game development in Hungary and to create games for the recently launched Commodore 64 Home Computer. This is when the long-term collaboration between the Hungarian game development company Novotrade and Stein’s new English company the Andormeda Software began. It was also Robert Stein who first paid attention to a game developed in the USSR: the Tetris. The fact that today it’s known all over the world and it has become such a huge success is to a large extent due to his contribution.

How did Indiana Jones give birth to Lara Croft?

Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson set up their business called Games Workshop in 1975. In the beginning they couldn’t afford renting an office so they dealt with the orders in their room. Shortly, their tenant got fed up, though, with the incessant flow of parcels and people looking for the Games Workshop store in the house, for everyone thought it was an actual shop. They got evicted. Next, they decided to rent an office rather than a flat for themselves and so together they moved into Jackson’s minivan to dwell. At the beginning of the 80s they co-created the Fighting Fantasy book series and later with the assistance of a Hungarian team Livingston embarked on developing his first computer game. Later, as executive chairman of Eidos in the 90s he was supervising the development of games like Tomb Raider and Hitman.

The Hungarian way of getting round the development deadline.

It’s still rather common today that the developers cannot properly finish the game for the tight deadline appointed by the publisher. Often, the necessary corrections and patches are added to the game even months later. In the 80s, however, a Hungarian development team managed to hand over their semi-finished product in a way that the publisher didn’t even notice. Ferenc Tilesch got into a difficult situation during the development of his first game, the White Viper, which could have easily jeopardized the whole project as such.

The abandoned Star Trek game.

Many regard Imperium Galactica II developed by Digital Reality the best Hungarian video game ever made. However, not many people know that later the same group was working on a Star Trek game as well.

Activision ordered the game back in 2003 but due to legal complications the project which, incidentally, looked quite phenomenal, had to be abandoned. While shooting Moleman 4 we saw a video about it showing the spaceship of many different species as well as the legendary Deep Space Nine space station. One specialty would’ve been an entirely new species that has never appeared in a feature film or a series before.

The Soviets vs. The Toy Gun

Hungary was still strongly haunted by the specter of the USSR when commercial game development began. During the 80s the Soviet delegation visited Budapest several times and sometimes they were invited to the computer game developing company Novotrade as well. The delegation was probably not interested at all in game development, still these visits were not without danger. There were times when the developers were quite literally putting their lives on the line while introducing video-games. In the next clip one of the survivors, Antal Zolnai, is talking about his experiences.

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Listen to Moleman 4 Original Soundtrack

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