Penguin Software

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Penguin Software was a video game publisher from Geneva, Illinois that produced graphics software and games for the Apple II, Macintosh, IBM, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari 8-bit, and Atari ST computers. They produced the graphics programs Graphics Magician and Complete Graphics System, graphic adventure games such as the Transylvania series, arcade-style games like Spy's Demise, and role-playing video games such as Xyphus.


The company was founded in 1978 by Mark Pelczarski but adopted the name of "Penguin Software" only in 1981. Like many other home computer publishers at the time, Penguin Software openly credited the developers of their games on boxes and title screen; developers that were often not direct employees of Penguin Software but rather independent designers that were paid royalties by Penguin Software for the games that sold.

Examples are Crime Wave (1983) by Scott Schram[1] and the Atari 800 version of Pie Man (1983.[2] Schram converted Eagle Berns' original Apple II version of the game to the Atari 800.

One of the other widely touted aspects of Penguin Software's titles was that they deliberately stopped using copy protection, thus making it easier to back up their programs. Pelczarski took out advertisements in many computer magazines to describe his position, and asked that users of their software not abuse their trust.

Penguin Software was confronted by Penguin Books in regard of infringement of their name. Fearing that the legal costs of a lawsuit could have decimated his company, even in the case of an eventual victory, Pelczarski renamed his company Polarware in 1986, ending the "Penguin Software" brand.

In 1987 Polarware was purchased by four employees, Jeffrey (JJ) Jay, Steve Greene, Peg Smith, and Trish Glenn. This new team produced the award-winning children's software series written by Brian A. Rice, The Electric Crayon, a simple electronic coloring book. In 1988, Polarware was acquired by another company and then disbanded later in the year.


Many years later, Penguin Software released several of their titles as freeware to bring them out of Abandonware.[3]

Also after end of official support of their products, an enthusiast reconstructed a source code variant of the comprehend engine to port these games to modern platforms.[4]

Software Titles[edit]

  • Spy's Demise (1982)
  • Transylvania (1982)
  • Pie Man (1983)
  • Crime Wave (1983)
  • The Quest (1983)
  • The Coveted Mirror (1983)
  • Expedition Amazon (1983)
  • Bouncing Kamungas! (1983)
  • Xyphus (1984)
  • Sword Of Kadash (1984)
  • Transylvania II: The Crimson Crown (1985)
  • Electric Crayon: Fun on the Farm (1985)
  • Electric Crayon: This Land Is Your Land (1985)
  • Ring Quest (1985)
  • The Spy's Adventures in Europe (1986)
  • The Spy's Adventures in North America (1986)
  • Oo-topos (1987)
  • Sesame Street Crayon: Letters For You (1987)
  • Sesame Street Crayon: Numbers Count (1987)
  • Sesame Street Crayon: Opposites Attract (1987)
  • Talisman: Challenging the Sands of Time (1987)
  • Electric Crayon Deluxe: Dinosaurs Are Forever (1988)
  • Electric Crayon Deluxe: At the Zoo (1989)
  • Transylvania III: Vanquish the Night (1990)


  1. ^ Cover of the game "Crime Wave" from Penguin Software from the Scott Schram website, creator of that game
  2. ^ Cover of the game "Pie-Man" from Penguin Software
  3. ^ The Comprehend Adventures on
  4. ^ recomprehend by Ryan Mallon on

External links[edit]