In 1980, Brøderbund was founded by Doug and Gary Carlston in Eugene, Oregon. The company was founded for the purpose of releasing Doug's game, Galactic Empire for the TRS-80. After the release of Galactic Empire, Brøderbund became one of the biggest video game publishers of the 80s, releasing many edutainment and game titles for a variety of computers. Brøderbund published games such as Fantasvision, Choplifter, Apple Panic, Lode Runner, Wings of Fury, Prince of Persia, In the 1st Degree, The Last Express, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and Myst.
After the success of Myst, Brøderbund launched Red Orb Entertainment in May 1997 to operate as its publishing division for games, separate from its edutainment library. In Fall 1998, Brøderbund was acquired by The Learning Company. Games published under the Red Orb brand continued to be supported by Mindscape, a division of The Learning Company. By the end of the year, The Learning Company was acquired by Mattel for $3.6 billion. In March 2001, The Learning Company's library of video games was sold to Ubisoft. Brøderbund was acquired by Riverdeep (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology) as a separate brand to return to publishing only edutainment titles, bringing its connection to the game industry to an end.