HeartBeat Corporation

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HeartBeat Corporation was a third-party American video game hardware manufacturer which developed the HeartBeat Catalyst, a Sega Mega Drive exercise peripheral with included body-mounted fitness sensors that adjusts gameplay according to the user's current level of exercise. The company's slogan was "It's Serious Fun".[9]


Founded in 1988[1] by Adam Benjamin[10][11], Justin Hall-Tipping, and Nick Burton[1], and officially incorporated on on December 24, 1991[2], HeartBeat Corporation was headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut[3], and worked with Sega of America, Western Technologies, and Electronic Arts.[10] The company was established with the sole intent of developing and marketing the HeartBeat Catalyst, a unique fitness-sensor accessory for the Mega Drive which adjusted gameplay to player's current level of exercise, and the HeartBeat Personal Trainer, a fitness themed system to accompany the peripheral.

HeartBeat contracted the development of two Catalyst-compatible video games to Western Technologies, which would ultimately become Outback Joey and Outworld 2375 AD. It additionally became an Electronic Arts licensee, entering into an agreement with the company to convert two of its existing sports games to the hardware, internally producing the titles NHLPA Hockey and PGA Tour Golf II.[12] The company's products were generally purchased directly through HeartBeat by phone or mail order, but could also be purchased through the fitness retailer NordicTrack (who in January 1994 was selling the Personal Trainer at $350).

Although novel, the Catalyst sold very poorly, resulting in the company's 1997 downfall.

Sales of the Catalyst and Personal Trainer were notably poor, and HeartBeat encountered significant difficulties in marketing and selling the unique devices. Plans to bring their products to international markets like Japan[13] also fell through, and the company found that their previous funding source (NEPA Venture Fund[14]) was no longer able to finance their chosen business model. Less than one year later, the company cancelled production of any remaining hardware and software projects while it tried to locate other sources of funding, and transferred the entirety of its tangible assets to a newly-formed sister corporation[2] in Lansing, Michigan.

This new affiliated company did not produce or develop any content, only existing to advertise and liquidate unsold HeartBeat products. Notably, the company had continued development of NHLPA Hockey, PGA Tour Golf II, and Outworld, completing all three games for this sister company to distribute. Notably, these final three HeartBeat games were produced on such a limited budget that they are still frequently mistaken for prototypes, boasting printer-paper manuals and hand-cut cartridge labels. Despite continuing to sell the system and games (specifically at three Target stores in the local cities of Lansing, Okemon, and Jackson around April 1995), and was later officially dissolved on September 8, 1997.[2]




External links


HeartBeat Catalyst
Topics Magazine articles | Promotional material | Personal Trainer | HeartBeat Corporation
Games NHLPA Hockey | Outback Joey | Outworld 2375 AD | PGA Tour Golf II