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Originally published March 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Page modified March 7, 2012 at 10:14 PM

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Maker of Scene It? movie-trivia game shutting down

Paramount Pictures closes Seattle subsidiary Screenlife, which made the DVD board game.

Seattle Times technology reporter

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I've only ever played the Xbox version.; it's a ton of fun. Whatever. MORE
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Mr. Banfield is a bit of a wind-bag. MORE

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Screenlife, the Seattle-based DVD board-game company that created the movie-trivia game Scene It?, is closing its doors.

Paramount Pictures, which acquired Screenlife in 2008, issued a statement Wednesday explaining its reasons for closing the company, which has 40 employees.

"Unfortunately, the board-game market is not where it used to be and continues to weaken," Frederick Huntsberry, Paramount's chief operating officer, said in the statement. "Given these tough economic circumstances, the only remaining choice was to bring Screenlife's operations to a close."

Screenlife employees were told of the closure Tuesday, said a studio source with knowledge of the situation.

Screenlife representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Screenlife was perhaps best known for Scene It?, created by David Long and Craig Kinzer. The game combined a trivia board game with questions and clues coming from film clips on a DVD.

"Screenlife was the victim of the same radical changes that all the media companies are facing," Steve Banfield, former Screenlife senior vice president of digital strategy, wrote in a personal blog post.

By the time he left Screenlife last September, "the writing had been on the wall for a while," Banfield wrote.

"Consumers aren't buying as many DVDs and instead relying on digital downloads. Consumers aren't playing board games but instead getting their gaming on mobile phones and tablets, and instead of playing together in a living room they are playing together on Facebook. ...

"It was a great company with some really passionate people, and a shame to see it go away," Banfield wrote.

Just last month, the company had announced a new Scene It? game based on "Star Wars" as well as one called "Movie Night," featuring past and present blockbusters. Both were slated to be released in fall.

It's unclear whether that is still the plan.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @janettu.

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