Computer Wargame Publishers
This is an even more diverse lot than the paper wargame publishers. This is not a complete list, as there are even more outfits zipping in and out of wargame publishing on the computer end of things.
Accolade. Primarily does arcade type games, but on occasion does a passable wargame title.
Applied Computer Concepts. Small outfit, not much output.
Avalon Hill. Long known for its paper wargames, has had a hard time finding success in computer wargames. They've been at it since 1980 and persistence should eventually pay off.
Compuserve. Similar to GEnie (see below).
Broderbund. Their games are striking visually, but not many wargames.
Dynamix. One of the major players in the wargame simulation game genre.
Electronic Arts (EA). Something of a giant in the industry, mainly because it functions largely as a distributor for small "production companies" (that just develop the software). Has numerous subsidiary labels. Because there is no centralized control over product development and quality, EAs games range from the sublime to the abysmal.
General Quarters. Noted for its naval wargames.
GEnie. An on line computer service, accessed with a PC and modem. Offers a number of wargames that allow hundreds of gamers to play simultaneously against each other. A much larger selection of on line games than the other computer services. Also provides bulletin boards and electronic mail that provide an increasingly popular way to play games and exchange information.
Interstel. One hit (Empire), a lot of near misses.
Koei. Publishes English versions of Japanese computer wargames.
Kesmai. Develops wargames for on-line services (GEnie and Compuserve)
LucasFilm. Specializes in aircraft simulators and is one of the leaders in this field.
MicroProse. Another outfit that has done well with wargame simulators (air, land and naval). Pioneered the use of extensive printed historical commentary. They have set a standard many other publishers are aiming for. A number of paper wargame developers ended up here, and it shows.
Mindscape. A few attempts at the wargame genre.
Quantum Quality Productions (QQP). A new company, which started out by publishing two wargames in 1991 that stressed "game" over "war" and got away with it. Nice work and bodes well for the future.
RAW. Like EA, mainly a distribution company. Has obtained the rights to several detailed computer wargames that were unable to obtain wide distribution on their own. RAW had the clout to get these games into a lot of stores. Nice concept.
Simulations Canada. An odd duck if there ever was one. Began in the 1970s as a paper wargame publisher. Located in Nova Scotia, mainly because Canadian government provided financial incentives for new companies that did so. Switched to computer wargames in the 1980s, but their games were not as flashy as the usual computer wargame and many still depend on paper play aids (as in a paper map).
Spectrum Holobyte. Another of the wargame simulator outfits. Still in the running, although they rarely come in first.
Spinnaker. A wargame once in a while.
Strategic Simulations, Inc. One of the earliest computer wargame publishers who were noted for their direct take offs of existing paper wargames. For that reason they were often called "Stolen Simulations, Incorporated." The only problem with that concept (which was not illegal, just obvious) was that it did not use the PC to greatest effect. SSI eventually became the official publisher of Dungeons and Dragons computerized role playing games. This kept SSI in business and enabled them to continue to publish a large number of computer excellent wargames. Mostly original work these days.
Strategic Studies Group. An Australian computer wargame publisher that stresses the use of standard game systems that, for different battles, are modified to fit each unique situation. Very prolific publisher of non-simulator computer wargames.
SubLogic. The original aircraft simulator publisher. There's always a chance for a comeback as they're still in business.
Taito. A Japanese computer wargame company, publishing English translations of computer wargames originally published in Japan.
Three Sixty Pacific (360). Made it big in 1988 with computer version of GDW naval miniature rules (Harpoon). Has had mixed success since then, but is still turning out interesting products that sell.
For all types of wargames, there are many other publishers that have not been mentioned if only because many of the smaller ones come and go so quickly. The best opportunity to see some of the more active (or at least currently active) publishers is to go to a software or game store and look around. Go to one of the wargame conventions and you can usually meet the designers and publishers in person. Also, many of the magazines mentioned carry reviews, and ads for direct mail vendors of all types of wargames.
Paper Wargame Publishers
Computer Wargame Published: 1979-1991
Table of Contents
List of Appendices