Virgin Interactive

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Background

Virgin Games was a British game developer and publisher formed in 1981, as part of Richard Branson's brand empire Virgin. They purchased Mastertronic in 1987 and were renamed Virgin Interactive in 1994. The company faced major demise around the millenium, when its American assets were acquired by Electronic Arts and its European assets were passed to Titus Software, who renamed it to "Avalon Interactive". In 2002, the Spanish branch of Virgin spun off and was separated under the name Virgin PLAY.



1st Logo (1991-December 1993)

Logo: On a black background, we see a gradient red box. Inside it is the corporate Virgin logo surrounded by a white circle. The word "GAMES" appears below the box.

Variants:

  • Several early games have the circle rotating and the logo wiping inside.
  • On 'The 7th Guest, the box is being collected from flying panels.
  • Some games, like Terminator for Sega CD, use a spinning cube with the logo on each side.
  • On the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version of Cool Spot, the titular character pushes the logo, then cleans his shades. On the SNES version of the game, the player can mess around with the logo, while Spot reacts to it.

Technique: None for the standard version, or early computer effects for the variants.

Music/Sounds: None or a group of men saying "Virrrrgiiin!" for the still version. The animated variants sometimes use a triumphant fanfare.

Availability: Appears on games released during this time period.

2nd Logo (February 1992)

Logo: Set in the sky, with a huge cloud underneath, we see a red airplane tail with the corporate Virgin logo on it. It passes from right to left, leaving what looks like smaller clouds. When the plane leaves, the clouds (22 of them, to be exact) morph into the words "Virgin Games Presents..." and we fade out.

Technique: 8-bit animation.

Music/Sounds: The buzzing of the plane, and the opening theme to the game.

Availability: This was only used on the NES game M.C. Kids. This is not present on the PAL version, titled McDonaldland; instead, it is replaced by the words "OCEAN", as Ocean Software published it in that territory.

3rd Logo (November 1992-December 1995)

Logo: This is just the corporate Virgin logo on a black background.

Variants:

  • On Dune for Sega CD, the background is gray, and the stacked words "Interactive Entertainment" appear below the logo.
  • On Super Slap Shot for the SNES, the logo is inside a gray circle with a white background. The word "PRESENTS" appears below in rainbow colors.
  • On The 11th Hour, the 3D-looking logo lies on a timeboard. The URL appears below.
  • On the Amiga version of Cool Spot, Spot can be seen walking below the logo.

Technique: None unless you count the variants.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Seen on the Sega Mega CD version of Dune, Super Slap Shot, 11th Hour, the PC version of Krusty's Fun House, Alien 3, the Amiga version of Cool Spot and Lost Vikings for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.

4th Logo (April 1993-1999)

Logo: The Virgin logo is white, surrounded by a white circle and placed inside a red square. The square itself appears in the top side of the white rectangle. The words take lower side, reading "INTERACTIVE entertainment" with "INTERACTIVE" in Trajan Pro in two lines, separated with another line.

Variants:

  • An early variant used the Virgin Games shield.
  • The shieldless version (2nd photo) was used on several games. It was seen on The Lion King for Game Gear (in a very simple quality, of course) and later, appeared with 3D effect.
  • There is an animated logo on Harvester. The red square zooms into the white rectangle.
  • There are two custom animated logos, they are listed below separately.
  • On Demolition Man for 3DO, the logo is seen as a glass outline, lighted with a splash.
  • This logo appears in the intros for Grand Slam and Spot Goes to Hollywood, but both games use the 6th logo on-screen.
  • There's another rare animated variant where we see the Virgin logo in white zoom into the screen, then the finished Virgin Interactive logo flashes on a white background. This was seen on a VHS promo reel from the company.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • On Harvester, there is a background tune followed with metallic creaking.
  • On the promo reel variant, we hear Brian Cummings saying, "From Virgin Interactive Entertainment, coming this November. New for CD-ROM!" In the background there's a quiet boom as the logo flashes, then a dreamy synth note.

Availability: Common.

  • Seen on Harvester, The Lion King for Game Gear, Iron Assault,Overlord, Disney's Aladdin, Gamera, and Cannon Fodder.
  • The logo with the old-style shield can be seen on the Genesis versions of Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis, The Lion King and Pinocchio, the MS-DOS version of Cool Spot, and The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate.
  • Strangely, this makes a surprise appearance (without the shield) on Super Dany for SNES.
  • This logo also appears on earlier Capcom titles on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in Europe such as Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Mega Man X3, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo and Resident Evil (PlayStation and PC (in North America as well) only, the Saturn version was published by Sega).

5th Logo (January 1, 1995-1996)

Logo: On a red background, several burning dots appear and create the Virgin logo. Another dot runs over the circle. The logo zooms in and returns with the full Virgin Interactive name.

Variant: There's an alternate variant where the logo doesn't zoom in, instead fading out as the finished Virgin Interactive logo fades in.

Technique: 2D animation.

Music/Sounds: Sounds of burning and synth noise.

Availability: Rare. Appears on Zone Raiders and Cyberia 2. Also seen on Virgin sampler discs of the time, as well as video promo reels as late as 1996.

6th Logo (November 2, 1995-February 9, 2000)

Logo: We cut to a closed eye. The eyelid opens and we zoom in on the eye, with "PICTURE START" flashing dead center, and a whole bunch of technological stuff (including what looks like the logo of Channel Five flashing in the bottom left) flashing quickly as the eye moves all around and dilates. At the end, the red Virgin logo zooms in on a red ball, with a chyroned "INTERACTIVE" in the bottom right corner as a fireball moves up the eye.

Later Variant: In 1997, the logo was altered for the second half: the animation reverses as it zooms out of the eye, which closes and has the Virgin logo in a red oval, which is on the left side of a red oblong shape with "INTERactive" on it. The eye also throbs.

Variants:

  • On Neo Hunter, only the end of the logo is shown, and is slowed down to keep in sync with the music.
  • On Toonstruck, the name which appears below reads "INTERACTIVE entertainmentTM", with a line separating the words.
  • On a Virgin Interactive 1996 Christmas trailer, the logo's frame rate is smoother, and there is no TM symbol on the top of "INTERACTIVE entertainment".

Technique: CGI animation designed by R/Greenberg Associates and Imaginary Forces.

Music/Sounds: A loud rock riff with a heart monitor that gets higher and faster, and various PA system announcements over it. A faint heartbeat at the end.

Music/Sounds Variant: Broken Sword 2 has the music out of sync with the animation.

Availability: More common in Europe than in North America.

  • The 1995 version can be seen on PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC games published by the company such as Grid Runner, the PS1/Saturn versions of Spot Goes to Hollywood, Toonstruck, Neo Hunter and Nanotek Warrior. Agent Armstrong and NHL PowerPlay 98 also use this logo, but use the 8th logo on the packaging.
  • The 1997 version appears on games such as Disney's Hercules Action Game (the PAL version, published by SCE Europe, has an SCEE disclaimer instead), Golden Nugget, Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, and the infamously cancelled-then-leaked Thrill Kill.
  • In North America, this logo is somewhat harder to find, as it only lasted a few years before Virgin Interactive's North American operations were sold to Electronic Arts.
    • The logo is more common in Europe, as it also appears on various Capcom titles from the era, such as the PlayStation version of Resident Evil 2 (the Dreamcast version has the 8th logo), various Street Fighter titles, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, Rival Schools: United by Fate, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man X4, Capcom Generations and the PS1 version of Dino Crisis.

7th Logo (1996)

Logo: On a black background, we see a gold-orangeish laser drawing the Virgin logo text in gold. We pan to the left to see it in the right direction. When it's done, it flashes to reveal the normal Virgin Interactive shield. The logo zooms in filling the screen with red, then fades out.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: Harsh fireworks and engine sounds.

Availability: It was seen on Hyper 3-D Pinball, also known as Tilt!

8th Logo (1997-March 1, 2002)

Logo: On a rainbow-colored background, numerous versions of a horizontal shield rotate around a central point. They merge into one shield, which turns into a 3D version of the 1997 Virgin Interactive logo on a white background. The logo glows.

Variants:

  • On Ignition, a car wheel creates the logo. Then the car crashes off-screen, and the shield jumps.
  • A more common still version was also used, with a 2D logo (sometimes in 3D) and sometimes with copyright info below.
  • On later games, the logo finishes on a black background in 2D.

Technique: 2D computer animation.

Music/Sounds: A tune with whooshing elements or a different sounding one.

Availability: Uncommon.

  • The print version was first used in 1997 on some games. One example is the North America/European release of Resident Evil on PC.
  • The animated version is found only on European games (with the exception of Codename: Outbreak, Screamer 4x4 and Original War, which were released in the US as well) such as Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes on the PS1 and Dreamcast, and the Dreamcast versions of Dino Crisis and Resident Evil 2.
  • The last game to feature the 1997 variant was Lotus Challenge on the PS2, released only in Europe.
  • The black background variant was first used on Heist for PC, and later appeared on the PAL version of Bloody Roar 3 for the PlayStation 2, Nightstone, and Jimmy White's Cueball World, both for the PC.
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