Home > The Sinclair Industry > Publishers > Imagine

1982-84, 1985-89


(Spectrum only)

See World of Spectrum for
downloadable versions

Arcadia 1982
Alchemist 1983
Zip Zap 1983
Stonkers 1983
Schizoids 1983
Molar Maul 1983
Jumping Jack 1983
Zzoom 1983
Ah-diddums 1983
Cosmic Cruiser 1984
Pedro 1984
BC Bill 1984

(As an Ocean label)

Title Year
Yie Ar Kung Fu 1985
Hyper Sports 1985
World Series Basketball 1985
World Series Baseball 1985
Mikie 1985
Konami Golf 1986
Legend of Kage 1986
Terra Cresta 1986
Tennis 1986
Green Beret 1986
Super Soccer 1986
Movie 1986
Ping-Pong 1986
Yie Ar Kung Fu 2 1986
Galvan - Cosmo Police 1986
Mag Max - Robo Centurion 1987
Game Over 1987
Salamander 1987
Athena 1987
Basket Master 1987
Arkanoid 1987
Arkanoid 2: Revenge of Doh 1988
Game Over 2 1988
Vindicator 1988
Renegade 2: Target Renegade 1988
Rastan 1988
Guerrilla War 1988
Dragon Ninja 1988
Play for Your Life 1988
Renegade 3: The Final Chapter 1989
Victory Road 1989

The home computer boom of the early 1980s, like the dot.com boom of the late 1990s, produced a crop of high flying companies which crashed spectacularly. None flew higher or crashed harder than Imagine.

The Liverpool-based company was founded by Mark Butler and David Lawson, formerly of Bug-Byte. It achieved major success with its very first product - Arcadia, a simple shoot-em-up which became a best-seller over the Christmas of 1982 at a time when the shops were starved of software to sell. Like the dot.coms 15 years later, Imagine built its reputation largely on hype. Its products were competent if uninspiring, but the company's high profile owed rather more to its glossy advertising and tireless self-promotion.

Imagine became (entirely willingly) a poster child for the brave new world of electronic entertainment. Newspaper readers were fed stories of teenage programmers earning £35,000 a year and owning sports cars which they weren't old enough to drive. Twenty years earlier, the Beatles had transformed Liverpool's image, repositioning the city as a powerhouse of the music industry. Imagine - whose chosen name was, not coincidentally, that of one of John Lennon's most famous songs - hoped to be seen as the computer equivalent.

The company had rather less staying power, however, and barely 18 months it had been established it collapsed spectacularly amid a welter of recrimination and lawsuits, owing more than £500,000 to a variety of creditors. Much of this debt was, unsurprisingly, for unpaid advertising expenses.

In the subsequent fire-sale of Imagine's assets, its name was sold to Ocean Software. The Manchester-based company used the Imagine brand as a label to publish licensed conversions of arcade machines (many of which were actually very good - games such as Green Beret and Renegade were widely acclaimed and sold well). Imagine was finally retired in 1989, and Ocean itself pulled out of the Sinclair software market three years later.

Several new programming teams and companies arose out of the ashes of Imagine. Software Projects (publishers of Jet Set Willy) was established by ex-Imagine staff, as were Psygnosis (Lemmings) and Denton Designs (Shadowfire).

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