A Man Can Dream: Yet Another Indrema TL

1993 - Hey, Paisanos!​

Super Mario Bros.
Released: May 28, 1993 (same as OTL’s live-action movie)
Produced by: Walt Disney Pictures, Nintendo Pictures
Distributed by: Buena Vista
Produced by: Shigeru Miyamoto
Music by: Alan Menken, Koji Kondo
Main Cast:
Danny DeVito as Mario
John Leguizamo as Luigi
Maurice LaMarche as Bowser
Frank Welker as Toad/assorted animals+creatures
Jodi Benson as Princess Toadstool
Genre: Comedy, action, fantasy
Rated G


Super Mario Bros. is a 1993 traditionally-animated film produced by Nintendo and Walt Disney Pictures, based on the video game franchise. Production started in the late ‘80s, when Disney and Nintendo partnered up to produce and distribute an animated Mario movie. Nintendo decided to do an animated film because it would capture the Mario world better than live-action. Unlike OTL’s 1993 Mario movie, Nintendo supervised the film’s production more closely to make it feel similar to the source material. Unlike other Disney films, the movie was outsourced to Nintendo’s then new animation studio, Ninimation, as Disney was busy on animating films like The Lion King, while the movie’s style looked similar to Yoichi Kotabe’s work on the video games, redesigning the characters slightly to be easier to animate. Kotabe also animated for the movie.

PLOT: Mario and Luigi are two ordinary Italian plumbers from Brooklyn. One day, Mario and Luigi encounter a Warp Zone during a job, taking them to the Mushroom Kingdom. They meet a short-tempered, yet kind mushroom retainer named Toad and Princess Toadstool, starting an unexpected journey to stop King Bowser Koopa from taking over the Mushroom Kingdom’s Super Star. [1]

RECEPTION: The film was a box office success, praised for the animation, voice acting, humor, and action, grossing $250 million worldwide over a $30 million budget. The success of the film inspired Nintendo and Disney to announce “The World of Nintendo”, [2] a theme park where guests could play Nintendo games and ride attractions based on the big N’s popular franchises, like Mario, Kirby, and Zelda, slated to open in 1996 at Tokyo Disneyland, with plans to open one in the west in the near future. Many Mario fans praise this film as being faithful to the spirit of the games.

Nintendo was also rumored to be developing a new Mario anime due to the success of the Mario movie, with a Zelda TV series also in the works, along with an entire trilogy of Mario films.

LEGACY: Due to the success of the film, many other companies (most notably Nintendo’s rival, SEGA) tried adapting their games into movies, to varying results. Some succeeded, some failed, but all of them could never overshadow the success that was Mario. Because of its success, the “video game movies suck” stigma is slightly less prominent than in OTL.



[1] The film mostly takes cues from the DiC cartoons and both the 1993 and 2023 movies from OTL.

[2] Similar to Universal’s Super Nintendo World IOTL.

[3] The cast contains some actors who were (or were originally supposed to be) in the OTL 1993 movie, and some who weren’t.

A dream is born.

1993 (Part 2) - The Birth of Indrema​

During Gildred’s role at Sega, he founded Indrema Corporation in early 1993 [1], initially as a side hustle. They would make CD-ROMs of shareware games for Windows, Macintosh, and later Linux. Unlike other publishers, Indrema was looking for games from developers around the world that were high quality.

One of those was a little company known as Stargate Entertainment, founded in 1990 in Santa Monica, CA, who was working on a platformer known as Snark! at the time.

“The evil blob, Humblegump, has taken over the Snark Kingdom! Now it’s up to Snark to rescue his world! Explore different worlds, and rescue King Snark!” - Snark blurb, 1993

Indrema published the game on PC, starting a long-running relationship with Stargate.

Indrema started becoming well known for their use of quality control and being a platform for indie games. Indrema distributed their CD-ROMs, known as “Treasures” at stores, at low prices. These mainly got positive reviews - praised for the quality of the games, but the company was criticized for its overabundance. Although some people found “Treasures” annoying back in the day, many people and Indrema fans are nostalgic for it, representing a weird period of Indrema’s history where it was making Windows and Macintosh games instead of exclusively Linux-based hardware and software.



[1] officially founded in 2000 IOTL, with the L600 being its major priority

We meet the fastest thing alive.

After 1993, I might fast forward it to a few years. Don't know if there's anything interesting during that time period.
Awesome!

Also, I might be able to make some posts.
 

1993 (Part 2) - The Birth of Indrema​

During Gildred’s role at Sega, he founded Indrema Corporation in early 1993 [1], initially as a side hustle in Alameda, California. They would make CD-ROMs of shareware games for Windows, Macintosh, and later Linux. Unlike other publishers, Indrema was looking for games from developers around the world that were high quality.

One of those was a little company known as Stargate Entertainment, founded in 1990 in Santa Monica, CA, who was working on a platformer known as Snark! at the time.

“The evil blob, Humblegump, has taken over the Snark Kingdom! Now it’s up to Snark to rescue his world! Explore different worlds, and rescue King Snark!” - Snark blurb, 1993

Indrema published the game on PC, starting a long-running relationship with Stargate.

Indrema started becoming well known for their use of quality control and being a platform for indie games. Indrema distributed their CD-ROMs, known as “Treasures” at stores, at low prices. These mainly got positive reviews - praised for the quality of the games, but the company was criticized for its overabundance. Although some people found “Treasures” annoying back in the day, many people and Indrema fans are nostalgic for it, representing a weird period of Indrema’s history where it was making Windows and Macintosh games instead of exclusively Linux-based hardware and software.



[1] officially founded in 2000 IOTL, with the L600 being its major priority
[2] Same as OTL.

We meet the fastest thing alive.

After 1993, I might fast forward it to a few years. Don't know if there's anything interesting during that time period.
sonic?
 
1994-1997 Recap
1994-1997 Recap

Note: The next post will probably fast forward a few years to 1998-99, so here's what happened during 1994-1997 (some ideas from @Otakuninja2006 and @CrashBandicam):
  1. Stargate's Snark gets ported to Linux by Indrema.
  2. The PS1, Sega Saturn, and N64 released (same as OTL)
  3. Indrema's indie game compilations for Windows and Macintosh, known as "Treasures", get a following for their more-or-less high-quality games compared their competitors. Indrema releases the Linux version later in 1995 when Linux gaming was picking up steam. (which would later become their main focus)
  4. Toonami launches earlier in September 1997 to give CN more time.
  5. Nick and Disney are basically the same as OTL.
  6. In 1996, Turner merges with MGM and CBS.
  7. The initial MGM script of a Sonic the Hedgehog movie (Wonders of the World) gets rejected for being "too silly", and gets replaced with a fully-animated film about Sonic's origins to compete with Mario's movie.
  8. Super Mario Bros.: The Movie 2 releases in the summer of 1997, revolving around Yoshi, like the upcoming (as-of-writing) sequel to OTL's 2023 film. It's considered to be even better than the previous film due to Ninimation's bigger budget and grander scale, praised for its humor, animation, writing, and score, both by critics and fans.
I guess that's all.
 
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1994-1997 Recap

Note: The next post will probably fast forward a few years to 1998-99, so here's what happened during 1994-1997 (some ideas from @Otakuninja2006 and @CrashBandicam):
  1. Stargate's Snark gets ported to Linux by Indrema.
  2. The PS1, Sega Saturn, and N64 released (same as OTL)
  3. Indrema's indie game compilations for Windows and Macintosh, known as "Treasures", get a following for their more-or-less high-quality games compared their competitors. Indrema releases the Linux version later in 1995 when Linux gaming was picking up steam. (which would later become their main focus)
Cool.
  1. Toonami launches earlier in September 1997 to give CN more time.
I even have the launch schedule:

04:00PM: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
04:30PM: The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
05:00PM: Magic Knight Rayearth
05:30PM: Sailor Moon
  1. Nick and Disney are basically the same as OTL.
  2. In 1996, Turner merges with MGM and CBS.
Ok. Here would probably be the list of notable assets.

Turner Pictures (MGM, United Artists, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock)
MGM Television
Hanna Barbera (Cartoon Network Studios, Ghost Planet Industries, MGM Animation)
CBS
Turner Sports (CBS Sports merged into)
CNN (CNN International, CNN Headline News)
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS, TNT, The National Network, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Turner Family Channel, Turner EyeOnPeople)
  1. The initial MGM script of a Sonic the Hedgehog movie (Wonders of the World) gets rejected for being "too silly", and gets replaced with a fully-animated film about Sonic's origins to compete with Mario's movie.
When would this release?
  1. Super Mario Bros.: The Movie 2 releases in the summer of 1997, revolving around Yoshi, like the upcoming (as-of-writing) sequel to OTL's 2023 film. It's considered to be even better than the previous film due to Ninimation's bigger budget and grander scale, praised for its humor, animation, writing, and score, both by critics and fans.
That's good.
I guess that's all.
Should be enough.
 
Cool.

I even have the launch schedule:

04:00PM: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
04:30PM: The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
05:00PM: Magic Knight Rayearth
05:30PM: Sailor Moon

Ok. Here would probably be the list of notable assets.

Turner Pictures (MGM, United Artists, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock)
MGM Television
Hanna Barbera (Cartoon Network Studios, Ghost Planet Industries, MGM Animation)
CBS
Turner Sports (CBS Sports merged into)
CNN (CNN International, CNN Headline News)
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS, TNT, The National Network, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Turner Family Channel, Turner EyeOnPeople)

When would this release?

That's good.

Should be enough.
does Turner merge with TimeWarner?
 
1998-2000: The Birth of the L600 New
1998-2000: The Birth of the L600

(fast forward)​

In 1995 [4], Gildred had conceptualized a console that anyone could develop for. However, this didn’t come to fruition at the time as technology wasn’t sufficient. The idea later came back to him in mid-1998 during a game of Quake CTF, when technology was starting to shape up with the advent of DVDs, faster processors, and larger hard drives. Unlike most other game consoles at the time, it would use mainly off-the-shelf components shared with PCs. It would also have something almost unheard of for a console; a proper operating system. Indrema chose the free and open-source Linux kernel. They partnered up with Red Hat to use their Linux distro as the basis of the console’s OS. They called it… the Indrema L600. After the Quake game, Gildred started work on the project.

Meanwhile, Sony held a firm grasp in the gaming industry with the PlayStation, released in 1994 in Japan and 1995 internationally, was making a PlayStation 2. One of the PSX’s competitors, the Nintendo 64, despite having beloved titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, and Banjo-Kazooie, to name a few, couldn’t beat Sony. And they were already developing a PlayStation 2 by that point. Sega had the Saturn flop (at least in the West) after making some stupid decisions, but tried redemption with the Dreamcast. And for the next generation, two new competitors would be joining the console wars.

In early 1999, the rumor that Indrema was entering the console ring started spreading. People were skeptical if an American game console would succeed after the Jaguar, Atari’s ill-fated “64-bit” console. [2] Some were a little optimistic about the system. The plan was ambitious, even for the time; it could play DVDs, CDs, and MP3s, record TV, surf the web, and download the games, If Indrema weren’t able to get all the features in the system, they would probably put it in the L600’s successor if the console succeeded.

Microsoft had been developing their own console during that time period, envisioned as something similar to the L600. It wasn’t as ambitious as Indrema’s, and ran on a modified version of Windows instead of Linux. They called it the “DirectX Box”, which also would use off-the-shelf PC parts.

In January 2000, Indrema officially announced the L600 and the preliminary specs [3]:

l600-pre-april-2001.jpg
An plain-jane L600 prototype (mockup?), used on the Indrema website (source: Indrema Informer)
CPUx86 CPU @ (either AMD or Intel) 600 MHz
Memory64 MB DDR
GPUnVidia GPU (upgradable)
StorageIDE hard drive (either 8, 30, 50 GB)
AudioAnalog stereo, optical audio
VideoS-Video in/out, composite in/out, component out
OSDV Linux (Linux distro for the L600)
ConnectivityEthernet, 6x USB ports (4x front, 2x back)


Yes, it was as ambitious as it was rumored to be, and did we mention it had an upgradable GPU? You didn’t have to upgrade your console, you just had to upgrade your GPU and you were ready! Meanwhile, Stargate Entertainment had been bought out by Indrema, serving as the company’s first first-party developer as the company hadn’t really developed games before. Stargate was already working on their most ambitious game up to date, known as “Aeri (working title)”. Another game that they were working on was Astro Armadillo, basically an earlier Ratchet and Clank IN A SPACE WESTERN! During E3 2000, Indrema teased the L600 a.k.a the Indrema Entertainment System, including a demo of games such as Unreal Tournament, Quake, Aeri, and Astro. The console was expected to release somewhere in Spring 2001 [5].

hdtv-demo.jpg

The HDTV demo units (IOTL source: Indrema Informer)​



[1], [5] The L600 and Indrema officially started in 1999 IOTL. In the same interview, Gildred stated that he expected the IES’ release to be in Spring 2001.

[2] Both TTL and OTL.

[3] Sourced from OTL Indrema’s website circa 2000.

[4] The L600 was conceived around that time IOTL.

2001: An Indrema Odyssey
 
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2000-2001: Goodbye L600, Hello LSeries! New
2000-2001: Goodbye L600, Hello LSeries!

Behind the scenes, Indrema signed a deal with Nvidia to supply a GPU for the L600, while Intel would provide the CPU, based on the Pentium III Coppermine. [1] After the demo at E3, some companies now had hope for the L600. It wasn’t just indie developers any more. Big names such as Activision, EA, and Ubisoft announced that they would support the L600. It could be a proper console because many were thrown off by the GameCube, which didn’t have regular DVDs or any of the hit games that the PS2 and Xbox would have. They stopped temporarily halted Indrema’s game publishing business to focus their resources on Gildred’s brainchild.

During the development of the L600/IES, Indrema started working with the developers to port their games to Linux and make some changes to the hardware. Notably, the “GPU Slide Bay” had to go because developers didn’t like the fact they had to make their games work on every GPU the L600 could support. Indrema decided on a built-in Nvidia GPU (based on the GeForce 3-4) for the system. Unlike its competitors, Indrema allowed anyone to make games, as long as Indrema certified it. For people who didn’t have a powerful-enough PC, Indrema supplied a development kit that would have similar specs to the retail console, but with PC parts available at the time.

Indrema Entertainment System Development Kit​

CPU700 MHz Intel Pentium III “Coppermine”
Memory128 MB SDRAM
MediaDVD-ROM drive, CD-ROM drive, 3.5” floppy disk
GPUnVidia GeForce2 GTS
Storage60 GB 3.5” IDE drive
AudioCreative SoundBlaster Live
VideoVGA
OSRed Hat Linux
ConnectivityEthernet, USB 1.1
Price$1000-2000?

This was essentially just a PC Indrema sold to developers big and small, although some people could make their own development kit for the IES if they wanted to. One could get the kit either online or by calling Indrema.

While the IES was in development, Indrema decided to redesign the console to make it more futuristic. Indrema wanted to make the system less bland-looking and more sleek and stylish, contrasting with the boxy designs of MS, Sony, and Nintendo.

Indrema_Console.png

The LSeries’ final design (IOTL source: Next Generation, this version from Wikimedia Commons)​

Indrema also wanted to appeal to consumers better. “Indrema Entertainment System” and “L600” weren’t good names for the system, they wanted something catchier, cooler, and memorable. They hired an advertising agency to come up with the new name. After a bunch of scrapped names like “Fantasia” and “Indrema System L”, they kept the “L” from L600, and got inspired by Indrema’s statement of the system being the first in a line of products. After focus group testing, Indrema chose “LSeries” as the official name of the product. The media conglomerate Turner was interested in Indrema, wanting to join the gaming industry, investing $25 million in the company, funding both Stargate and Indrema. [2]

One year later, at E3, something magical was happening.

John Gildred walked on stage standing behind something big covered in cloth.

“Thank you for coming. If you don’t know me already, I’m John Gildred, founder and CEO of Indrema. Since the mid-1990s, I’ve wanted to make something that can change the gaming industry. We’ve been developing the Indrema L600, or the Indrema Entertainment System, since 1999, and we’d like to thank all the developers who joined the Indrema revolution. Today, we’re here to announce that the L600 has a new name, and a new look. Let me introduce you to… Indrema LSeries.”

Gildred pulled off the cloth, revealing the LSeries to the world. The startup played as the audience applauded.

Indrema revealed trailers of games planned at launch for the LSeries [4]:

  1. Xsona - A refined version of Aeri. A normal 15-year-old boy, Joe Anderson, with his best friend Johnson and his girlfriend, Melinda, find themselves in the titular planet of Xsona as Lord Osma captures Aria (formerly Aeri), the ruler of the planet.
  2. Astro Armadillo - Plays like an earlier Ratchet & Clank, but you’re an armadillo saving a Space Western world from Dr. Kai Yote.
  3. Railpunchers (by @Otakuninja2006) A skateboarding/graffiti game in the vein of Jet Set Radio.
  4. Tux’s World Adventure! [3] - A Banjo-Kazooie-esque game where you play as Tux, the Linux mascot, as he travels across the world for fish to defeat Bill, the leopard seal.
  5. Shogo: Mobile Armor Division - FPS
  6. Soulride - ski game
  7. Tux Racer - racing game.
Then, the final specs were revealed:

CPUCustom Intel Pentium III “Coppermine”-based processor @ 800 MHz
Memory128 MB DDR (64 MB for general tasks, 64 MB for graphics)
MediaDVD-ROM drive, CD-ROM drive, 3.5” floppy disk.
GPUNVIDIA GeForce3 @ 240 MHz
Storage10 GB 3.5” IDE drive
AudioAnalog stereo, optical audio, Dolby Digital, DTS
VideoComposite, component, S-Video, VGA
OSDV Linux (stripped down Red Hat Linux)
Connectivity100 Mbps Ethernet, USB 1.1
Price$329.99


No one expected Indrema to be this good. If Indrema succeeded, they could be a serious contender to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, with an easier entry point than the others. No need to buy an expensive specialized development kit, you could just get your PC and develop games right away! It, on paper, was the most powerful console in the market. Though, it was a little more pricier than its competition.

Because they didn’t want its competitors’ releases overshadowing the LSeries, Indrema deliberately waited until Spring 2002 to get LSeries in test markets in the USA (Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas), and later that year in the rest of North America. All they needed was a company that could handle both distribution and production of the LSeries, while Indrema handled the advertising.

Despite all of that, Indrema had to scale down the console’s multimedia capabilities. It was just too ambitious. Indrema removed the DVR functionality for something more akin to its competitors; built-in media playback and basic online functionality (mainly to connect to online services).

The LSeries, despite its comparisons to Xbox, was going to be promising. Who knew an underdog in the gaming industry could make a console that was actually good? Nintendo wished them luck, but Microsoft felt it would be a threat if the LSeries was a huge success. Sony did its own thing, supplying Linux for the PlayStation 2, which had already been a huge success for the company.

Indrema also let onlookers play LSeries demo games on prototype hardware (on the said development kits, of course) after the presentation.






[1] This butterflies the Xbox’s Nvidia GPU, as GigaPixel (another manufacturer, bought by 3Dfx IOTL) does the GPU, as was originally planned IOTL. Bill Gates also doesn’t sign a contract with Intel, as AMD supplies the Xbox’s CPU, also planned for the console IOTL.

[2] Turner’s stake in Indrema and the company being older ITTL completely butterflies Indrema’s downfall.

[3] TTL-exclusive. Bill is an obvious jab at Microsoft’s Bill Gates. His house even has windows that always crash. There’s also apples who try to bite Tux.

[4] Some games were intended to be released on the L600 IOTL.

[5] Based on @Neoteros’ suggestions in the first incarnation of this timeline.

A dawn of a revolution/Who makes the LSeries?

(edit: this was kind of my own graduation present)
 
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