Ambrosia Software

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Ambrosia Software
IndustrySoftware, video games
FoundedAugust 18, 1993; 27 years ago (1993-08-18)
DefunctJuly 19, 2019; 20 months ago (2019-07-19)[citation needed]
HeadquartersRochester, New York, U.S.
Key people
Andrew Welch
ProductsShareware video games and utilities

Ambrosia Software was a predominantly Macintosh software company founded in 1993 and located in Rochester, New York, U.S. Ambrosia Software was best known for its Macintosh remakes of older arcade games, which began with a 1992 version of Atari, Inc.'s Asteroids from 1979. The company also published utility software. Its products were distributed as shareware; demo versions could be downloaded and used for up to 30 days. Later the company released some products for iOS. Ambrosia's best-selling program was the utility Snapz Pro X,[1][2] according to a 2002 interview with company president Andrew Welch.

In 2017, customers reported on Ambrosia's Facebook page that attempts to contact the company were unsuccessful and they were unable to make new purchases.[3] As of July 2019, the website is offline.


Ambrosia Software was incorporated August 18, 1993 by Andrew Welch after he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1992.[4] The first game produced by Ambrosia was Maelstrom, a 1992 remake of the 1979 Asteroids arcade game. Maelstrom won a number of software awards.[5] This initial success led Ambrosia to release several more arcade-style games, including Apeiron (a remake of Centipede), Swoop (a clone of Galaxian), and Barrack (a clone of JezzBall). In 1999, Cameron Crotty of Macworld wrote "No other company has gotten so much mileage out of renovating mid-1980s arcade hits."[6]

Nearly all of the company's ten employees were laid off in 2013, but Welch denied rumors of the company shutting down.[7] In late 2018, the company's last remaining employee announced that Ambrosia was officially shutting down its operations.[8]



Ambrosia Software's games, in order of release:

Ambrosia, in conjunction with DG Associates, has also released the Escape Velocity Nova Card Game.

Productivity Software[edit]

Ambrosia Software's utilities, in order of release:

  • EclipseScreen saver CDEV
  • Big Cheese Key — FKey to mask screen image from boss.
  • FlashWrite — Text editor Desk Accessory
  • FlashWrite ][
  • ColorSwitchMenu bar item to change monitor color depth
  • EasyEnvelopes — Envelope printing Desk accessory. Later a Mac OS X v10.4 and Mac OS X v10.5 Dashboard widget.
  • Snapz
  • To Do!
  • Oracle
  • ColorSwitch Pro
  • Snapz Pro— Screen capture application
  • iSeek — Desktop search application
  • Snapz Pro XMac OS X-compatible version of original
  • WireTap Pro — Audio recording utility
  • Screen Cleaner ProApril Fool's joke
  • DragsterFile transfer application
  • iToneriPhone custom ringtone transfer utility
  • WireTap Studio — Audio recording, editing and master storage; won a 2007 "Eddy Award" from Macworld
  • WireTap Anywhere — professional virtual audio patchbay utility, enabling the recording of any Mac OS X application's audio output from within any Mac OS X audio application.
  • SoundboardMac OS X Audio playback ("computerized cart machine")
  • Big Cheese Key XMac OS X-compatible version of original

No "Crippled" shareware[edit]

One of Ambrosia's founding mantras was that shareware software should not be distributed as crippleware. The company's software was released on the honor system with only a short reminder that you had used the unregistered software for "x" amount of time, creating what is commonly called nagware.[10]

This policy was later changed and the company employed typical shareware piracy prevention measures,[11] as well as more innovative ones such as used in the Escape Velocity line of games where the team's mascot, Hector the Parrot (known in-game as Cap'n Hector), would use her heavily armed ship to ceaselessly attack players of unregistered copies after the trial period had expired. Their software products therefore fell under the category of crippleware.[11] Now that the company no longer provides new expiring license codes, customers who had purchased Ambrosia software are now treated as though they have expired trial versions, for instance meaning that Cap'n Hector's attacks in Escape Velocity games cannot be stopped.

Matt Slot has written about the factors that played into the policy change.[10]


  1. ^ "MacSlash Interview: Andrew Welch of Ambrosia". MacSlash (retrieved from the Internet Archive). 2002-01-23. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
  2. ^ More information on Snapz Pro X
  3. ^ "Ambrosia Software". Facebook. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Home-grown Ambrosia feeds software niche", Michael Saffran. In RIT: The University Magazine, Vol. 10, #1
  5. ^ "Into the Maelstrom". The Mac Observer. 1999-12-08. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
  6. ^ Crotty, Cameron (January 1999). "Mars Rising". Macworld.
  7. ^ Mathis, Joel. "Despite layoffs, Ambrosia says it's still in business". Macworld.
  8. ^ "Bonus: The Rise & Fall of Ambrosia Software, '90s Mac Legends - PAX Aus 2019 talk".
  9. ^ Salvador, Phil. "Barrack". The Obscuritory.
  10. ^ a b Slot, Matt (2002-03-11). "The Plain Truth about Casual Software Piracy". TidBITS. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
  11. ^ a b Welch, Andrew (2000-01-22). "Ambrosia Times: President's Letter: On CDs and Shareware". Ambrosia Software. Retrieved 2011-04-28.

External links[edit]