Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Broderbund

Broderbund
Brøderbund Software Inc.
17 Paul Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
USA
Year Founded:
Year Defunct:
1980
1999
View all items from this company in our collection...

Brøderbund Software was an American maker of computer games, educational software and The Print Shop productivity tools. It was best known as the original creator and publisher of the popular Carmen Sandiego games. The company was founded in Eugene, Oregon, but moved to San Rafael, California, and later to Novato, California. Brøderbund was purchased by The Learning Company in 1998.

Brøderbund scored an early hit with the game Galactic Empire, written by Doug Carlston for the TRS-80. The company went on to become a powerhouse in the educational and entertainment software markets with titles like Fantavision, Choplifter, Apple Panic, Lode Runner, Karateka, Wings of Fury, Prince of Persia, In the 1st Degree, The Last Express, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and Myst, which stayed in the top 10 list of home computer games for years.

Brøderbund was easily one of the most dominant publishers in the computer market of the 1980s, having released video games for virtually all major computer systems in the U.S. This included not only the popular IBM PC-DOS personal computer, but also the leading home computers from the decade, notably the TRS-80, the Apple II (for which their first title was Tank Command, written by the third Carlston brother, Professor Donal Carlston), the Commodore 64, the Atari 8-bit and the Amiga. The company even went on licensing some of its titles to European and Japanese companies who ported Brøderbund's games to the different home computers of these regions, such as the Amstrad CPC, the MSX and the ZX Spectrum.

Brøderbund also published the Print Shop series of desktop greeting card making programs, Family Tree Maker (a genealogy program supported by hundreds of CDs of public genealogy data) and 3D Home Architect, a program for designing and visualizing family homes. By the end of the 1980s, games represented only a few percent of Brøderbund's annual sales, which by then were heavily focused in the productivity arena and early education and learning areas.