22
Mar
14

Electronic Shareware Catalogs

Because of where I grew up we had very limited capacity to find information about games. The internet didn’t exist and we were too far from Australian BBS to make use of them. Consequently we had to get most of our information from magazines and the cover disks that came with them. The cover disks had game demos commonly from shareware companies such as Apogee and Epic Megagames. Often the demos would have an electronic catalog of games along with the ordering information. After having played the demo, and not having much else to do I would look at the catalogs and dream of playing the games therein.

Apogee were one of the larger shareware publishers of the time, and many of my favourite games were distributed by them. I liked reading their catalogs because they were always very detailed and included system requirements, but unfortunately they lack the colour that many others had.

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Epic Megagames were the main rival for Apogee at the time, they had very colourful catalogs that were very nice to look at. They often included some very basic text/ansi style graphics, although the picture of Jill from Jill of the Jungle doesn’t look much like her. The game descriptions aren’t as detailed as those from Apogee, but they got the important information across and let you know if the game had special hardware requirements.

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The bigger players weren’t the only ones to have an electronic catalog. Arcanum computing was basically one guy, Nels Anderson. I posted recently about some of his games, EGATrek and Shooting Gallery. He made a nice colour catalog program to advertise his other games, probably because it was hard to get information about them out there.

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I couldn’t find any other catalog programs in my archive and unfortunately I couldn’t find any information or examples of them on the internet. If you happened to have a software catalog I’d be interested in hearing about it.

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