|Stormfront Studios #47 |
Games developed: 8
Games published: 1
Period: 1991 - 1998
If there was ever an award for "the most resilient survivor" in today's turbulent climate of mergers and acquisitions that affect the gaming industry no less than others, Strategic Simulation, Inc (SSI) would rank high on the candidates' list. One of the oldest and most prolific computer game companies of all time, SSI has weathered many storms in its 20+ years history, and has emerged none the worse for wear. At a time when many of its fellow pioneers, most recently Sierra On-Line, succumbed to the tides of times and had all but lost their identity, SSI's strengths still lie in the same core genres that rocketed the company to fame years ago: historically accurate wargames. Ever since SSI released its first game Computer Bismarck for the TRS-80 in 1979, the company has developed and published scores of wargames that introduced many concepts that became the mainstay of today's wargames: fog of war, unit stacking, and Therefore, it's not surprising that SSI is affectionately known by fans worldwide as the GOM ("Grand Old Man") of computer wargaming.
Since their heyday in late 1980s and early 1990s, SSI wargames have declined considerably in both quality and quantity. Although the megahit Panzer General single-handedly resurrected the dying wargames genre in 1994 with innovative RPG elements and unparalleled accessibility to non-wargamers, it signaled the end of hardcore wargames era and the beginning of SSI's focus on mass-market wargames.
SSI also published dozens of RPGs based on TSR's famous Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) paper & pencil RPG system. Most notable among these are the so-called "Gold Box" games, based on a common engine and were commercially very successful.
SSI was acquired by Mindscape, which was in turn acquired by The Learning Company, which was *in turn* acquired by Mattel. Despite all these M&A activities, it seems that SSI is finally trying to appease its hard-care constituencies again. Only time will tell if the GOM of wargaming is back for good.
- Most manuals for 1981 - 1990 games were taken from the amazing Apple Emulator's Wargame Pages. Visit the site for SSI wargames released for the Apple II that you can run on the emulators.
- Atari Magazine had an excellent article on SSI history, based on the interview with Robert Billings, SSI's founder. A must read for all SSI fans.
- Norm Koger's Homepage contains many interesting comments on his games, most of which were published by SSI.
Related companies: Dreamforge Intertainment, Stormfront Studios, Mindscape, The Learning Company, Mindcraft, Frog CityRelated companies: Dreamforge Intertainment Stormfront Studios Mindscape The Learning Company Mindcraft Frog City