Brøderbund Software, Inc. Founder Donates Games and Business Archives

The Strong News Release
NEWS RELEASE
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700 museumofplay.org

March 3, 2014

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@museumofplay.org

Brøderbund Software, Inc. Founder
Donates Games and Business Archives to
The Strong Museum

ROCHESTER, New York—Doug Carlston, computer games pioneer and founder of Brøderbund Software, Inc., has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, a collection of games, consumer software, and corporate records that document the history of the company and the development of the computer games industry in the 1980s and 1990s. The materials will be cared for by The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) and made accessible to researchers.

Anyone that has explored the mysterious islands of Myst, dodged traps and battled swordsmen in Prince of Persia, or tracked down bad guys in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? has played some of the best-selling games from Brøderbund Software, Inc. Best known as the original creator and publisher of the Carmen Sandiego games, Brøderbund was one of the leading producers and distributors of games for the home computer during the 1980s and 1990s with titles such as Lode Runner, Prince of Persia, Myst, and SimCity. It also produced best-selling consumer software such as Family Tree Maker, Print Shop, Kid Pix (an art program), and Living Books (the title Just Grandma and Me was one of the first interactive children’s books).

Starting with Doug Carlston’s 1980 game Galactic Empire, Brøderbund grew quickly and by 1986 it was the ninth-largest United States computer software company. By 1997 the company had annual revenues of $190 million. The Brøderbund Software, Inc. Collection chronicles the firm’s activities from its first game released in 1980 to its acquisition by The Learning Company in 1998.

“In 20 years my siblings and I built Brøderbund from an idea in the living room to a 1,500-person company with a market value in the billions of dollars. During that time, we gave little thought to building a legacy, but we still saved every product and every memo,” says Carlston. “I am grateful now to have discovered the work of The Strong, which has the staffing and capacity to curate this collection of materials and others like it. Now scholars and interested parties can see first-hand the evolution of the company and the software industry in the 1980s and 1990s.”

The Brøderbund Software, Inc. Collection includes nearly 1,500 games and other pieces of consumer software, including copies of virtually every game and product produced by Brøderbund as well as titles from their competitors. There are also copies of original art, production masters, and other disks used in the production of games, as well as examples of company promotional materials, awards, board game versions of their products, and other related items. Extensive corporate records document the workings of Brøderbund specifically and the computer software industry in general. Business records include internal company newsletters, strategic plans and other long-term planning documents, competitive market research, meeting notes, financial statements, news clippings, catalogs, photographs, correspondence, and other items that reveal the company’s domestic and international operations. The collection also includes records related to the Software Publishers Association trade group, of which Doug Carlston was President and Chairman.

“The Brøderbund Software, Inc. Collection enhances the museum’s extensive collection of materials related to video game history and complements recent donations of materials from other video game pioneers such as Ken and Roberta Williams, Will Wright, and Joel Billings,” says ICHEG Director Jon-Paul Dyson. “Both the games and archival materials will be invaluable resources for anyone seeking to understand the history and development of computer games.”

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. 

About the International Center for the History of Electronic Games

The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world.