Founded on December 24, 1991, HeartBeat Corp, a company from Stamford, Connecticut, started to develop a new peripheral from the Genesis call the Catalyst. This peripheral was a heart-rate monitor and a speed sensor for an exercise device (ex: stationary bicycle, treadmills) and adapted to change the speed or skill level of a video game depending on a user’s heart rate and the speed of the exercise device.
The company starter to work on several Genesis games that would use this peripheral including :
- Outback Joey
- It’s Serious Fun
The Catalyst was finally released on November 24, 1993, at a price of $199 USD including the game Outback Joey. Another bundled also including a custom Genesis was available for $299 USD. The first game, Outback Joey, worked by moving the character based on your heart rate. If you go too slow, Outback Joey the kangaroo acts sluggish and may get stung by a scorpion. Go too fast, and Joey moves at an uncontrollable speed and sweats a lot.
At the time of the released, HeartBeat Corp had also started to add support on four additional games for the system:
- NHLPA Hockey ’93
- PGA Tour Golf
- Earthworm Jim
The game Outworld had been renamed Outworld 2375 AD, but aside then that, HeartBeat Corp had every intention to release lots of content for its peripheral.
Sadly, the sales of the Catalyst were not great. Around 1000 units were manufactured at first and HeartBeat Corp had a difficult time selling them. Eventually, the company had to cancel the development of the other planned games while trying to find other sources of funding. In 1994, the company transferred all of its tangible asset to a sister corporation and dropped all development and unfinished games. The newly formed company never released any new content and was dissolved on September 8, 1997