Virgin Interactive

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Virgin Interactive Entertainment (Europe) Ltd.
Industry Interactive entertainment
Fate Sold
Founded 1981 (1981)
Defunct 2003
Headquarters London, England
Key people
Owner Virgin Group Ltd.

Virgin Interactive was a British video game publisher. It was formed as Virgin Games Ltd. in 1982. The company became much larger after purchasing the budget label, Mastertronic in 1987. It was part of the Virgin Group. In 1994 it was renamed Virgin Interactive.


Nick Alexander started Virgin Games in 1982 after leaving Thorn EMI. It was headquartered in Portobello Road, London. The firm initially relied on submissions by freelancer developers, but set up its own in-house development team in 1984, known as the Gang of Five. Early successes included Sorcery and Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future.[1]

Virgin Interactive published games for PC and systems, including the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, C64, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast.

It helped the career of many developers, including Westwood Studios (who developed Command & Conquer Series and the PC port of Resident Evil) and Synergistic. Also, many workers for Shiny Entertainment, including David Perry, worked for Virgin before splitting off to create Earthworm Jim.

Also among Virgin Interactive alumni are famed video game composer Tommy Tallarico, artist Doug TenNapel, designer David Bishop, animator Bill Kroyer, animator/artists Andy Luckey and Mike Dietz and programmer Andy Astor.

In 1993 Virgin Interactive created the "Digicel" process, originally for an unpublished game called "Dynoblaze" which was managed by Andy Luckey, Paul Schmiedeke and Bill Kroyer. Bill K. Key to developing the process were Dr. Stephen Clarke-Willson, David Perry, designer David Bishop, animator Bill Kroyer, animation producer Andy Luckey, technical director Paul Schmiedeke, animator Mike Dietz and programmer Andy Astor. The technology was first released to the general public in Disney's Aladdin for the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and subsequently on such projects as The Lion King video game.

In late 1993 Virgin formed a new company, Virgin Sound & Vision, to focus exclusively on CD-based entertainment.[2]

The worldwide operations were acquired in a management buyout backed by Mark Dyne who became its Chief Executive Officer in 1998. Tim Chaney, the former Managing Director was named as President. The U.S. operations were spun out to Electronic Arts as part of its acquisition of Westwood Studios that same year.

The Company's assets were acquired by the French publisher Titus Software—its name was changed to Avalon Interactive on July 1, 2003. Titus/Avalon became defunct in 2005.

In May 2002, the Spanish division of Virgin Interactive, known as Virgin Interactive España, was purchased by Tim Chaney along with former Spanish president and founder Paco Encinas. The branch was then separated from the main Virgin Interactive company, already part of Titus Software, and kept its own identity as a Virgin brand. Renamed Virgin Play in October 2002, Chaney left in 2008, it then entered liquidation in 2009.[3][4]



  1. ^ Fisher, Andrew (July 2014). "Gang Leaders: A Gang of Five Retrospective". Retro Gamer (131): 44–49. ISSN 1742-3155. 
  2. ^ "Virgin". GamePro (56) (IDG). March 1994. p. 186. 
  3. ^ "Virgin Play in trouble". MCV UK. 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  4. ^ "Chaney on the prowl for studios". MCV UK. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 

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