|Industry||Software, video games|
|Founded||August 18, 1993|
|Defunct||July 19, 2019citation needed][|
|Headquarters||Rochester, New York, U.S.|
|Products||Shareware 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', 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. As of July 2019, the website is offline. As of May 2021, the website resolves but leads to a domain parking page with ads unconnected to the company.
The first game distributed under the Ambrosia Software name was Maelstrom, a 1992 remake of the 1979 Asteroids arcade video game. It used raster graphics similar in style to Atari's later Blasteroids (1987) and the Atari ST game Megaroids (1988). Ambrosia Software was incorporated August 18, 1993, by Andrew Welch after he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1992.
Maelstrom won a number of software awards. This initial success led Ambrosia to release several more action 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 that "No other company has gotten so much mileage out of renovating mid-1980s arcade hits."
Nearly all of the company's ten employees were laid off in 2013, but Welch denied rumors of the company closing. In late 2018, the company's last remaining employee announced that Ambrosia was officially shutting down operations.
Ambrosia Software's games, in order of release:
- Maelstrom — Asteroids remake
- Apeiron — Centipede remake
- Swoop — Galaxian clone
- Barrack — JezzBall clone
- Escape Velocity
- Bubble Trouble — Pengo remake
- Harry the Handsome Executive
- Mars Rising
- EV Override
- Ferazel's Wand
- Pillars of Garendall
- Deimos Rising
- Coldstone game engine
- Escape Velocity Nova
- Bubble Trouble X — Mac OS X port of original, with minor gameplay changes
- Uplink — Mac OS X port
- Apeiron X — Mac OS X port of the original, with enhanced graphics
- Darwinia — Mac OS X port
- El Ballo
- SketchFighter 4000 Alpha
- DEFCON — Mac OS X port
- pop-pop — Universal Binary release
- Uplink — Universal Binary release
- Aki — Universal Binary release
- Mondo Solitaire
- Aki — iPhone/iPod Touch release
- Aquaria — Mac OS X port
- Escape Velocity Nova — Universal Binary release
- Multiwinia — Mac OS X port
Ambrosia, in conjunction with DG Associates, has also released the Escape Velocity Nova Card Game.
Ambrosia Software's utilities, in order of release:
- Eclipse — Screen saver CDEV
- Big Cheese Key — FKey to mask screen image from boss.
- FlashWrite — Text editor Desk Accessory
- FlashWrite ][
- ColorSwitch — Menu 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.
- To Do!
- ColorSwitch Pro
- Snapz Pro — Screen capture application
- iSeek — Desktop search application
- Snapz Pro X — Mac OS X-compatible version of original
- WireTap Pro — Audio recording utility
- Screen Cleaner Pro — April Fool's joke
- Dragster — File transfer application
- iToner — iPhone 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.
- Soundboard — Mac OS X Audio playback ("computerized cart machine")
- Big Cheese Key X — Mac OS X-compatible version of original
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.
This policy was later changed and the company employed typical shareware piracy prevention measures, 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 began to fall under the category of crippleware. 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, meaning, for instance, 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.
- "MacSlash Interview: Andrew Welch of Ambrosia". MacSlash (retrieved from the Internet Archive). January 23, 2002. Archived from the original on December 31, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- More information on Snapz Pro X
- "Ambrosia Software". Facebook. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- "Megaroids". Atari Mania.
- "Home-grown Ambrosia feeds software niche", Michael Saffran. In RIT: The University Magazine, Vol. 10, #1
- "Into the Maelstrom". The Mac Observer. December 8, 1999. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- Crotty, Cameron (January 1999). "Mars Rising". Macworld.
- Mathis, Joel (April 11, 2013). "Despite layoffs, Ambrosia says it's still in business". Macworld. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013.
- "Bonus: The Rise & Fall of Ambrosia Software, '90s Mac Legends - PAX Aus 2019 talk".
- Salvador, Phil (May 17, 2012). "Barrack". The Obscuritory. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015.
- Cohen, Peter (October 20, 2004). "Ambrosia makes Darwinia and EV board game". Macworld. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.