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Activision – Paparazzi! Tales of Tinseltown Game

by DigitalDoyle

Activision - Paparazzi Box

I was a member of the team that produced a cross-platform double CD-ROM game called Paparazzi! Tales of Tinseltown. This was done for a company named Museworthy, who were able to sell the game to Activision for distribution.

The very brilliant Jason English wrote the game and did most of the graphic design, and all the music and sound effects. The rest of the Museworthy team did the video production and editing.

I did a bit of the interface and game design, some of the graphics, and all of the programming and media integration, and produced the CD golden master. This is when CD-ROM burners were brand new. A single speed burner cost $1500 and each CD blank was $25 and they were not very reliable. We made a lot of very expensive coasters in the process of figuring everything out. Life on the bleeding edge.

Below is the front and back of the box in which the game shipped.

Below are a few shots of the interface and an explanation of how the game works.

This game was created in late 1994 and was one of the very first games to use interactive video. We’re talking Quicktime v1.0 here. The game Myst was a HUGE hit at the time and we were all hoping to get in on that sweet sweet multimedia gravy train. Ah, well… It was a fun dream anyway.

The idea is that you are cast in the roll of a Paparazzi photographer and you explore the game via your PDA-like Palminator 2000 looking for clues, usually embedded in videomails, commercials, and TV programs to find out where potential victims, er I mean subjects, might show up. Thinking back, it’s kinda like Pokemon for grownups… Hmmmm… we sold rights in Japan and this was pre-Pokemon… maybe that’s where they got the idea. (grin).

We used celebrity lookalikes for our stars and all of them are caricature parodies of real celebs.

After getting some hints and clues, you can go to this interface where you can get a video introduction for all the characters in the game.

Once you think you’ve figured out the clues and know where to go to get a shot, you use the Palminator to go to the Map interface and click on a location to go there.

That’s when you’re virtually whisked to that location and the Palminator interface is replaced with the tools of your trade; your trusty MyNycon 4000 camera.

You watch things unfold before you on the viewfinder and click on the shutter release to take the pictures.

You’ll also notice that there’s a ‘Flee’ button that lets you get the heck out of there immediately. There’s a good reason for that button, because you stand a very good chance of getting punched out. Especially whenever you try to get a shot of the elusive and moody Shawn Pendelton.

Here we’re stalking Liz Naylor to see how her diet plan is working out.

After taking your best shots, you’re taken to the Darkroom where you can see your shots. You choose the photo you want to sell by clicking on it and that takes you back to the Palminator where you take the photos to market and, if they’re good enough, you’re offered money for them.


This is where you get to sell your pictures and see how they’ll be used by the publications that buy them.

Your choice of who you sell them to directly affects your integrity, and that, in turn affects the kinds of things that happen to you during the course of the game. It’s a lot of fun and was a real challenge to create.

We got the Thumbs Up rating from New Media Magazine. Not too bad.

We used Macromedia’s Director to produce the cross platform game. Other software used was Adobe Premiere and Photoshop.


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