Silicon Beach Software

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Silicon Beach Software, Inc.
Founded1984; 40 years ago (1984) in San Diego, California
FounderCharlie Jackson and Hallie Jackson[1]
FateAcquired by Aldus Corporation

Silicon Beach Software, Inc., was an early American developer of software products for the Macintosh personal computer. It was founded in San Diego, California, in 1984 by Charlie Jackson and his wife Hallie.[1] Jackson later co-founded FutureWave Software with Jonathan Gay. FutureWave produced the first version of what is now Adobe Flash.[2] Although Silicon Beach Software began as a publisher of game software, it also published what was called "productivity software" at the time.


Silicon Beach's best known "productivity software" product was SuperPaint, a graphics program which combined features of Apple's MacDraw and MacPaint with several innovations of its own. SuperPaint2 and Digital Darkroom were the first programs on the Macintosh to offer a plug-in architecture, allowing outside software developers to extend both programs' capabilities. Silicon Beach coined the term "plug-in".

Silicon Beach was a pioneer in graphic tools for desktop publishing. Not only was SuperPaint a tool that had advanced graphic editing capabilities for its day, but Digital Darkroom was also a pioneering photo editor. It was grayscale only, not color (like the early Macintosh computers), but had a number of interface innovations, including the Magic Wand tool, which also appeared later in Photoshop. It also had a proprietary option for printing grayscale content on dot matrix printers. Digital Darkroom was used professionally to clean up scanned images for clip art libraries.

Another Silicon Beach product was SuperCard which, like SuperPaint, superseded the capabilities of an Apple-branded product (in this case, HyperCard). SuperCard used a superset of the HyperTalk programming language and addressed common complaints about HyperCard by adding native support for color, multiple windows, support for vector images, menus and other features.

Silicon Beach Software produced video games for the Macintosh. The most well known is Dark Castle released in 1986. It was ported to several other operating systems by other companies. Sequel Beyond Dark Castle was Silicon Beach's last game, because productivity software was much more lucrative.[3] Their 1985 release, Airborne!, was the first Macintosh game to feature digitized sound.[1]

Silicon Beach Software is credited with coining the term Silicon Beach to refer to San Diego in the same way that Silicon Valley refers to the Santa Clara Valley and San Jose area.[4]

Silicon Beach was acquired by Aldus Corporation in 1990 and Aldus, in turn, by Adobe Systems in 1994.[5]

Other products[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lavroff, Nicholas (April 1986). "Making Waves on Silicon Beach". Macworld. Vol. 3, no. 4. pp. 116–120.
  2. ^ "Macromedia - Showcase : History of Flash". Archived from the original on 2006-01-14.
  3. ^ Moss, Richard (2018-03-22). "The making of Dark Castle : An excerpt from The Secret History of Mac Gaming". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  4. ^ "Siliconia - Part 1 A -- Silicon F". TechVenue. 1997. Archived from the original on 2006-02-23.
  5. ^ Flynn, Laurie (1994-08-24). "BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY; Aldus and Adobe Lay Claim to Digital Publishing (Published 1994)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-04.

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