Rhode Island Soft Systems
Rhode Island Soft Systems (also known as R.I. Soft Systems and RISS) was an American software development and new media company based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The company was best known for developing screensavers, computer games and programming tools for Microsoft Windows.
Rhode Island Soft Systems was founded in 1990 by Eric Robichaud. Originally conceived as a side venture to Robichaud’s full-time work as a computer programmer with CVS Caremark Corporation, Robichaud’s first product was a DOS screensaver called BLANK-IT. Additional products were created, and by 1994 Robichaud left CVS to start his own company.
Among the first Rhode Island Soft Systems products to gain wide attention was a 1994 signature font product that enabled computer users to incorporate their signature word processing documents. The company also created a digital jigsaw puzzle game called Jixxa, and received commissions to create screensavers and interactive CD-ROMs to promote Folgers Coffee, the New York Knicks and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
During the late 1990s, the company created a series of whimsical screensavers that poked fun at popular culture figures and trends. Among its most notable titles were Hey, Macaroni!, which used animated dancing noodles to spoof the Macarena craze, and Liverdance, which parodied Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance success with a troupe of anthropomorphic livers performing Irish stepdancing. Liverdance, released in 1998, was also the first screensaver that incorporated built-in multiple advertisements, with Hasbro Interactive, Prodigy, Barnes & Noble, Symantec and WinZip as the first advertisers.
Company expansion and sale
In 1999, the company acquired Mediaweave, a Providence, Rhode Island-based company that produced multimedia projects and Web sites. By 2000, Rhode Island Soft Systems grew to U.S.$1 million in annual sales.
In 2003, Rhode Island Soft Systems was sold to Freeze.com, a Waite Park, Minnesota-based screensaver development company. The transaction included a five-year development and sponsorship contract that highlighted the Rhode Island Soft Systems products on the Freeze.com web site.
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