Imagine Software

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    Imagine Software was founded in 1982. It then ran into financial trouble in late 1983. The following year it closed. Former programmers went on to establish Psygnosis and Denton Designs.The company's back catalogue was bought by Beau Jolly, while rights to the Imagine label were acquired by Ocean Software, which then used it to publish home computer conversions of popular arcade games under the name of 'Imagine Studios'. The final games released under the Imagine name appeared in 1989.

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    Imagine Software was founded in Liverpool, UK, in 1982 by six video game developers, including three former members of Bug Byte Software. Imagine soon became famous for the high-salaried sports car lifestyles of its employees, and at its height employed over 103 staff. It developed and published a range of games for 8-bit home computers including the Vic-20, C64, and ZX Spectrum. One notably title was Stonkers, an early real-time strategy game.

    The company traded heavily on its PR image, which made personalities of its staff including "Whizz kid" Eugene Evans, and was notable for its (unusual at the time) high-budget advertising and polished packaging of its games. The eventual collapse under massive debts and mismanagement was captured in a 1984 BBC documentary film. Former Imagine employees went on to found Psygnosis and Denton Designs.


    Imagine's so-called "mega-games" were intended to extend the capabilities of the ZX Spectrum and the C64 by including a hardware add-on (presumably containing extra ROM memory and possibly other hardware) at a premium price-point (~£30, about four times the cost of a standard game at the time). The hardware would also act as a dongle, helping combat piracy. Heavily hyped by teaser advertising, two titles were announced: Psyclapse for the C64, a fantasy action game, and Bandersnatch for the Spectrum, a sci-fi action-adventure. After Imagine's collapse, it was revealed that both games were little more than vaporware, and indeed the hardware itself had proved too costly to produce in any quantity. The remains of Bandersnatch would eventually surface as Psygnosis' first game, Brataccas for the Atari ST and Amiga.


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