Apogee was founded in Texas in 1987. They released their games or parts of their games in "episodes". Usually the first one would be free and the additional episodes were to be ordered separately, a business model which became known as shareware. This was a risky business model, considering the Internet had still been in its pioneering stages in the early 90s and the distribution was done via phone and mail. Apogee released many games which are now considered cult classics and pioneers in their respective genres, including Rise of The Triad, Wolfenstein 3-D, Raptor, Wacky Wheels and the Duke Nukem series, which Apogee re-released in 2008, following a long phase of hiatus, for various handheld systems. Some of these games were merely published by Apogee, such as Wolfenstein and Commander Keen, which had been developed by id Software.
Apogee planned to create a separate brand for all genres their release strategy might cover, yet it turned out to be unnecessary, as the 3D Realms brand, created for "3D" games such as Duke Nukem 3D and Terminal Velocity proved to be the only successful sub-brand that was worth continuation. Later on, the original name Apogee was dropped altogether in favour of the newer, more successful brand that was 3D Realms. Duke Nukem 3D was by far the most successful and appraised game by 3D Realms, however, they released other successful FPS shooters in the form of the Max Payne series and Prey. The last original game to be released by 3D realms as developer and not a publisher however has been Shadow Warrior in 1997.
The long awaited sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, called Duke Nukem Forever had been in development for over 12 years and widely considered vaporware by many users and game sites. This lead to a lawsuit being filed by Take Two Interactive who claimed that 3D Realms breached their contractual obligations by not delivering Duke Nukem Forever. Although Duke Nukem Forever was ultimately of significantly low quality upon its exceptionally belated release in 2011, internal sources claim that the studio - despite being smaller than before - is still active and will continue to release games.