American Video Entertainment, referred to as AVE, was formed in 1990 as a subsidiary of Macronix, a US ROM company. At this point in time, around 75% of all ROMs were used for the purpose of video games. Richard Frick was the founder and president of AVE, Phil Mikkelson the art dude, and Fred Hoot the guy responsible for quality control.
AVE did not program the games themselves, they bought their titles from various other companies and freelance programmers. Dave O’Riva and Franz Lanzinger developed the cool puzzle game, Krazy Kreatures while Michael Crick and his daughter Cam were busy cranking out the Dudes With Attitude and Trolls on Treasure Island games.
Art Cestaro III, the man behind Odyssey Software, was responsible for games such as Solitaire, Blackjack, Deathbots, and Cue Stick, an unreleased game. Most of the other games were bought from Asian game companies, Sachen produced Double Strike, F15 City Wars, and Pyramid, for example. Another good example would be that C&E; designed Mermaids of Atlantis, Tiles of Fate, and Venice Beach Volleyball.
Another person worth mentioning is Martin Gee. “Who is this guy?” you may ask. Martin was a college game tester and graphics artist for AVE. He did graphics for the manuals and some actual game graphics for Mermaids of Atlantis and Venice Beach Volleyball.
American Video Entertainment actually had a great relationship with retailers. Toys R Us was more than happy to sell AVE games until halfway through 1990, around this time Nintendo started “tweaking” with their lockout chip stopping the AVE games from working on newer NES consoles.
To counter this problem, AVE started notifying consumers of this problem. If you bought an AVE game, you could send your console to American Video Entertainment for modification, or if you were tech handy, you could modify the NES unit yourself. Best of all you would then be eligible for $5 off your next AVE game purchase.
A while later, American Video Entertainment actually sued Nintendo for anti-trust. AVE and Nintendo settled this case under an order of secrecy, then Nintendo turned around and sued AVE!!!
Losing two court cases was part of the reason why AVE went out. Another reason was since the Super NES and Genesis were released, NES sales dropped. With possible incompatibilities, retailers didn’t want to sell AVE games.