Imagic

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For the company formerly known as iMagic Online, see IEntertainment Network. For the company known as I-Magic, see Interactive Magic.
Imagic
Private
Industry Video games
Fate Liquidation
Founded 1981
Defunct 1986
Headquarters Los Gatos, California, United States
Key people
Bill Grubb
Bob Smith
Rob Fulop

Imagic was a short-lived American video game developer and publisher that created games initially for the Atari 2600 and later for other consoles. Founded in 1981 by Atari and Mattel Intellivision expatriates, its best-selling titles were Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, and Demon Attack.[1] Imagic also released games for the Mattel Intellivision, ColecoVision, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, IBM PCjr, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64 and Magnavox Odyssey². Their Odyssey² ports of Demon Attack and Atlantis were the only third party releases for that system in America. The company never recovered from the North American video game crash of 1983 and was liquidated in 1986.

History[edit]

Activision was the first third-party publisher for the Atari 2600. Imagic was the second.[2]

Imagic founders included Bill Grubb, Bob Smith, Mark Bradley, Rob Fulop, and Denis Koble from Atari, Inc.,[3] Jim Goldberger, Dave Durran and Brian Dougherty from Mattel,[4] as well as Gary Kato from Versatec. Grubb left an 18-month post at Atari as a vice president of marketing[5] to form Imagic. Before that, he was with the marketing department at Black and Decker for 11 years.[6] It was Grubb's goal to take Imagic public[7] and to eventually overtake Activision as the number one third party video game publisher.[6]

Atari sued Imagic over Demon Attack because of its resemblance to Phoenix,[8] to which Atari had the exclusive home-version rights. The case was settled out of court.

Despite initial success and sales greater than projections, the company's fortunes reversed after the stock market dumped videogame stocks in late 1982, scuttling Imagic's initial plan to become a publicly traded company.[9]

Fan club[edit]

During its height, Imagic ran a fan club for their games, the Numb Thumb Club, which published an annual newsletter.[10] Only two issues were published before Imagic's demise in 1983.[10]

Decline[edit]

Although Imagic grew quickly in its early years, it was irreparably harmed by the video game crash of 1983. It released 24 titles before going out of business by 1986, but the exact time it disbanded is unknown. In 1983 the company laid off 40 of their 170 employees[11] but appeared at the 1984 Consumer Electronics Show with plans for four IBM PCjr games.[12] The rights to Imagic's most popular titles have been owned by Activision since the late 1980s, and they have been re-released on several occasions.

Games[edit]

The years are for the original versions only, not subsequent ports.

1982[edit]

1983[edit]

1984[edit]

Unreleased[edit]

Cubicolor, a two-player puzzle game loosely based on a combination of a Rubik's Cube and fifteen puzzle, that was completed but never officially released before Imagic's demise. Approximately 60 cartridges exist and most are signed and numbered by the original programmer, Rob Fulop.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Demon Attack". Atari Age. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  2. ^ "Classic Gaming Expo Distinguished Guest: Alan Miller". Classic Gaming Expo. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
  3. ^ "Playing Catch Up: Night Trap's Rob Fulop". Gamasutra. CMP. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  4. ^ http://www.livevideo.com/video/7B3359CD66794A01A02F14942198B12A/making-of-atlantis-video-game-part-1-imagic.aspx
  5. ^ Hayes, Thomas C. "Imagic Scores in Video Games". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Video Games Interview: Bill Grubb and Dennis Koble". Video Games Magazine. Atari HQ. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "All in the Game - Imagic: The Making of Atlantis". Enterprise. PBS. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Demon Attack: This game is pure Imagic!". Atari Times. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  9. ^ http://www.livevideo.com/video/151AF95D9F4D4AD0B23A7123E2B65C0C/making-of-atlantis-video-game-part-3-imagic.aspx
  10. ^ a b "Imagic Titles for Intellivision". Intellivision Lives. Intellivision Productions. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  11. ^ Imagic Layoffs
  12. ^ Cook, Karen (1984-03-06). "Jr. Sneaks PC into Home". PC Magazine. p. 35. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Holyoak, Craig (1984-05-30). "Here are ColecoVision's jewels". Deseret News. pp. 4 WV. Retrieved 10 January 2015.