I have mentioned in a previous Flashback how much I enjoyed flight simulators. Besides Dynamix, one of my favored brands was Microprose. They produced a prodigious amount of flight sims in all types of aircraft. And I have had the opportunity to crash every single one. Yay me! So let’s look at the one time powerhouse Microprose.
Microprose was one of the more successful PC software houses during the 80’s. It was founded by Bill Stealey and Sid Meier in 1982. Microprose developed a wide variety of games that covered almost every genre. Strategy games, sports games, historically based games, and flight simulators, they never allowed their company to be pigeonholed into a certain type of game.
Sid Meier Game Designer
Popular games created during the 80’s included simulation games such as F-15 Strike Eagle, F-19 Stealth Fighter, Gunship, Red Storm Rising and Silent Service. Also included were action-strategy games such as Sid Meier’s Pirates! and Sword of the Samurai. Other than Sword of the Samurai, I have played them all. Sid Meier’s Pirates was a personal favorite.
As the 90’s arrived, MicroProse released the hit strategy games Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon and Sid Meier’s Civilization. These were designed by Meier and developed by its internal division, MPS Labs. Both games were critically acclaimed, and quickly became two of the best-selling strategy games of all time. In fact, both were in various lists as one of the best GAMES of all time. For its part, Civilization was named the 2nd best PC game of all time in 1994.
Some of MicroProse’s simulation games from the 1980s also received remakes in the early 1990s. Games such as Night Hawk: F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0, Silent Service II and Gunship 2000. Brand new simulation and strategy titles during that time included 1942: The Pacific Air War, Dogfight, Fields of Glory, Formula One Grand Prix, Harrier Jump Jet, Knights of the Sky, Starlord, Subwar 2050, Task Force 1942 and one of my personal favorites: B17-Flying Fortress.
The Beginning of the End
With their critical success, came the desire for Microprose to expand into other areas. Like many software companies, this endeavor was met with limited success. However, these attempts were not without cost or risk. Eventually due to money issues, they became a subsidiary of Spectrum Holobyte. This produced a number of titles due to Spectrum Holobytes liscensing deals. Games such as Top Gun: Fire At Will, Magic: The Gathering, Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Final Unity, Birth of the Federation, Klingon Honor Guard and MechWarrior.
While this prolonged the business, eventually the Microprose brand was dissolved and became defunct by 2003. Although it’s properties exchanged hands numerous times. While it may be gone, Microprose was a major part of my PC gaming collection. Many of which I still own. If you get the chance using DOSBox, you can relive the games that made Microprose a household name for gamers. If you remember these games, share those memories with us at GeekVibesNation.
I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.