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Apogee Software

From Academic Kids

Corporate logo of Apogee Software
Corporate logo of Apogee Software

Apogee Software, Ltd. is a video game publisher that was established in 1987. Unlike traditional publishers which sold games in retail outlets, Apogee sold their software via the shareware distribution method, depending mostly on BBS's for distribution of their software. Typically they would provide the first installment of a game trilogy for free and then would sell the remaining installments by mail order, a method which became known as the "Apogee Model". Apogee later moved to the traditional retail model through intermediaries like GT Interactive, though it still offers its earlier titles via shareware.

Apogee started in 1987 with the release of Scott Miller's Kingdom of Kroz, which used crude extended ASCII characters as graphics. Nevertheless, the game sold quite well and Apogee was born. In 1991 George Broussard joined the company as co-owner, bringing with him several games of his that were previously released under the name Micro F/X. Miller and Broussard run the company to this day.

Apogee published games by other developers in addition to its own in-house titles. One of these developers, id Software, contributed to Apogee's success with games such as Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D, but later severed their ties with Apogee with their release of Doom in 1993 (although in its earliest stages, Doom was still an Apogee title).

Apogee has two spin-off brands, 3D Realms and Pinball Wizards, which are really the same company but target different markets. Instead of publishing every game under Apogee as it had been in the past, the goal of this strategy was to create a spin-off brand for each type of game genre, making each new game identifyable based on which brand it belonged to. However many of those varied genres such as pinball, platform, or scrolling-shooter (that were much of Apogee's early releases) were slowly dying out in the late 1990s making this strategy unecessary in the end. In addition, due to the increasingly lengthy development time in producing a game title, video game publishers were no longer releasing titles at the rapid rate at which they once were. 3D Realms was created in 1994 for the 3-D title Terminal Velocity and is responsible for the latest installments of the successful Duke Nukem and Max Payne series (earlier 3D games like Rise of the Triad were released under the Apogee name). The Pinball Wizards name was created for the 1998 pinball title Balls of Steel but has not been used since. The last game to be published under the Apogee name was Stargunner in 1996. Since all of Apogee's released games since 1998 have been using a 3D engine (even if the gameplay is 2D, like Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project), 3D Realms has in effect replace Apogee as the brand name to publish games under.

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