Phoenix Games, known as Phoenix Games Ltd. in England, Phoenix Games B.V. in the Netherlands, Phoenix Games Asia in Thailand, and collectively as Phoenix Games Group, was a Dutch multinational game developer and publisher of cheap, bargain-bin games. Self-described as a Super Budget Publisher, the companys business model was in the production and publishing of games sourced from small, independent developers at a limited time and budget, likely in order to get a quick return on investment with as little money and time as possible. Where as with most publishers production takes several months for budget games (or licensed tie-ins) to years for big-name, AAA-quality titles, Phoenix claims a 3-5 month turnaround time for works published under their label.
Despite not attracting mainstream attention from major video game magazines and review sites due to their frugal nature, Phoenix gained notoriety among gaming circles due to the abysmal quality of their games; some of these "games" being produced in collaboration with Dingo Pictures, a German studio infamous for producing ripoffs of Disney cartoons amongst others, and Aqua Pacific, a similar company.
Not much is known about the company's inception or their demise, but they declared bankruptcy in 2009. A memorial fansite dedicated to documenting all known Phoenix Games-published titles can be found here.
Games published/developed by Phoenix Games:
- Arcade 3D Games Action
- Cartoon Kingdom
- Crabby Adventure
- Hamster Ball
- Kidz Sports Basketball
- London Cab Challenge
- Maniac Mole
- Paccie (cover concept, never released)
- Street Warrior
- Veggy World
- Wacky Zoo GP
- White Van Racer
Made in association with Dingo Pictures:
- Animal Soccer World (knock-off of Bedknobs and Broomsticks)
- Dinosaur Adventure (knock-off of The Land Before Time)
- The Mouse Police (knock-off of The Great Mouse Detective)
- The Toys Room (knock-off of Toy Story)
- Dalmatians 3 (knock-off of 101 Dalmatians)
- Countryside Bears (knock-off of The Country Bears)
Made in association with Aqua Pacific:note
- Snow White and the Seven Clever Boys* (knock-off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
- Pinocchio* (knock-off of Disney's version)
- Mighty Mulan (knock-off of Mulan)
- Legend of Herkules (knock-off of Hercules, repackage of Hercules (Pure Magic))
- Cinderella* (knock-off of Disney's version)
- Peter Pan* (knock-off of Disney's version)
Tropes associated with the company include:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The Aqua Pacific movies feature cartoony characters, but backgrounds and objects are CHI that looks right out of a PS1-era FMV cutscene.
- Adaptation Species Change: Snow White and the 7 Clever Boys, as the title implies, replaces the seven dwarfs with human boys.
- Animesque: Mighty Mulan has an anime-inspired art style that looks completely different from anything else the studio has done. While the animation is still choppy, individual still frames could probably be passed off as genuine anime.
- Blackface: One of the titular boys in Snow White and the Seven Clever Boys, Sonny, has this appearance. As he's a Flat Character like the others, this is unfortunately the only thing that makes him stand out.
- Compressed Adaptation: Their films (excluding Mighty Mulan and Legend of Herkules) clock in at around 7 minutes each, so large sections of the story have to be left out. Pinocchio deserves an award for having a song that's less than a minute long covering everything (and we mean everything: as soon as the song ends, it's back to the Framing Device) after the first encounter with the Blue Fairy.
- Covers Always Lie: The covers to their animated movies feature 3D renders of Disney characters which look nothing like the characters in the actual product.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: At least two of the games that came with the PS1 compilation Shoot, namely, Ace and Wild West, are the exact same game with identical scenery, the only difference being textures and a slightly different character model.
- Green Aesop: Peter Pan features the following line, in response to being told that Never Land looks very green:Peter Pan: Yes. The Never Land residents care about nature. They love animals and don't destroy the gifts given to them by the earth.
- Informed Attribute: In Snow White and the Seven Clever Boys, the narrator gives the boys sans Joseph Jr. various attributes, but we see little to none of them in action.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Despite many of the games being little more than a collection of awful sliding puzzles and mini-games, loading times can sometimes be upwards of a minute. Even worse, thanks to the incredibly poor quality of the discs, the games have a chance of potentially overheating and killing the PS2! See Caddicarus's review to experience the horror.
- The Mockbuster: With Dingo Pictures and Aqua Pacific no less.
- Obvious Beta: For a number of games, one of them being London Cab Challenge.
- Setting Update: Cinderella is set in modern times, with Cinderella driving a car to meet the prince at a nightclub. However, the narrator still calls these things a carriage and castle (which seems to be intentional, since he also mentions skyscrapers at the end).
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Most of Phoenix's output is this, like from the aforementioned Dingo Pictures activity CDs for the PS2, or uninspired and often janky clones of various video game franchises.
- Surprisingly averted with Road Rage 3note for the PS2, though that was merely because they (presumably) bought the European publishing rights from Atlus for cheap.
- The studio produced one game which earned positive reviews, Poppie — but it was only released in Italy.