Saturday, July 7, 2018

Gaming Ads: Maxis, Mc O'River, and Medalist International

Founded in 1987 by Will Wright and Jeff Braun, Maxis released its first game SkyChase in 1988. While its first game might not be well remembered, Maxis quickly became a household name with the release of its second game. In 1989 SimCity was self-published by Maxis on some platforms as most publishers didn't expect a game with no defined goals or ending to be so popular. Maxis became synonymous with the simulation genre as it went on to release SimEarth, SimFarm, SimAnt, SimLife, and a few SimCity sequels. It did develop other games as well, and published games by other developers. Despite the SimCity series being a huge hit, the company had a number of failures too and was not in great financial shape when it was acquired in 1997 by Electronic Arts (EA).

As a development studio and publishing brand of Electronic Arts, Maxis created The Sims which would go on to become one of the best selling computer game series of all-time. However, Electronic Arts closed down Maxis branches beginning in 2004 and Will Wright left the company in 2009. The name Maxis is still around but it's more of a collection of other EA studios with The Sims Studio acting as the lead on all games involving The Sims franchise. Will Wright announced this past March that he is working on a mobile game called Proxi. I only have a couple ads from Maxis, in part because it published more computer games than console games and many of my magazines are console focused. Therefore, this post also includes a couple of other companies.

Mc O'River was a publisher and distributor that brought games from its parent company, the Japan-based Video System, to North America, though it did not release many games at all. Its first release was AeroFighters (aka Sonic Wings) in 1993, then Hyper V-ball in 1994, and beyond that I'm not sure. I've got an ad for Super Vollyball (1991) on the Sega Genesis that lists Mc O'River as the distributor but most media sites credit Sega as the publisher so I would think Sega would have distributed it. In any case, the company name changed to Video System USA in 1997 when it released AeroFighters Assault for the Nintendo 64. That appears to be the last game though the ads for that will appear later when I post a separate album for Video System.

Medalist International was a division of MicroProse Software that marketed and distributed games for other publishers, most notably Paragon Software (later acquired by MicroProse), Hewson Consultants, and Firebird Software. The ads could fall under the other companies but I believe Medalist is the one responsible for them since they all say "New From Medalist International" ahead of the publisher's name. There will be many more Paragon ads later when I post a separate album, with most of those placing Medalist International or MicroProse in small print under the Paragon name. The Medalist name also appears in a bunch of ads I'll be posting in a few weeks under MicroPlay, another MicroProse brand.

Flickr album: Maxis
Flickr album: Mc O'River
Flickr album: Medalist International

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