Saturday, May 11, 2019

Gaming Ads: Sir-tech Software

In my research I found some conflicting information about the founding of the company that was originally known as Siro-tech Software. Many sources credit Norman Sirotek as the founder along with either his brother Robert or another Robert, Robert Woodhead. Using as my primary source, it appears Norman and Robert Woodhead decided to start a software business together in 1979 or 1980. Fred Sirotek, Norman and Robert Sirotek's father, was the president of the company, and he is the one that brought Norman and Robert Woodhead together. Fred initially hired Robert Woodhead, son of his business partner Janice Woodhead, while he was taking computer science classes at Cornell to help create programs for their office's Apple computer.

Based in Ogdensburg, New York, Siro-tech released its first software in 1981, beginning with a database program known as Info-Tree and then a game called Galactic Attack. The game was successful and that's when Robert Sirotek quit his job to join his brother at Siro-tech to help with marketing and administrative duties. Siro-tech's next game would be the one that put the company on the map among gamers and is still widely known today. Robert Woodhead wanted to make a Dungeons & Dragons type of game, as did his former classmate Andrew Greenberg. Andrew handled most of the design elements and Robert did all of the programming. While Robert Sirotek thought the early versions of the game were great, Norman thought they should drop it and Fred still viewed computers as business machines, not something for fun. However, Woodhead knew it would be something special so they kept going, and in the fall of 1981 Wizardry was released.

Richard Garriott's Ultima along with Wizardry set the foundation for the role-playing computer game genre. The popularity of Wizardy led to numerous phone calls from fans, and some of the calls went to the Sirotek residence which led to the guys opting to drop the "o" from the company name, and thus it became Sir-tech Software. Wizardry's success also led the the company's rapid growth and need to hire a software distributor so it wouldn't have to keep managing mail orders. Sir-tech continued to develop add-on scenarios and sequels in the Wizardry series, and opened a separate development studio known as Sir-tech Canada. It also published games from other developers, including Madlab Software's Jagged Alliance games. During the mid to late '90s Sir-tech Software published a number of poorly received games that led to its closure in 1998. Sir-tech Canada remained open until 2003.

Sir-tech Software albums: Facebook - Google Photos

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