In the 1980s and 1990s, Broderbund Software, Inc. became one of the leading producers and distributors of home computer video games and electronic software. In 1986, it was the 9th-largest United States computer software company, and by 1997, the company had annual revenues of $190 million.
Broderbund began as a truly family affair. Brothers Doug and Gary Carlston founded the company in 1980, in order to market Doug's strategy game, Galactic Empire. Their sister, Cathy Carlston, joined the venture a year later. The company's name comes from the Afrikaans word Broederbond, loosely translated as association of brothers. In order to distance themselves from a South African white supremacist group that shared the same name, the Carlstons altered the spelling and added the Scandinavian letter 퀏�, which also represents the slashed zero found in computer codes.
Broderbund's popularity stemmed from its wide range of products, as well as the fact that it released games for nearly every home computer system in America. The company also licensed certain series overseas, allowing its games to appear on systems such as the British ZX Spectrum and Japanese MSX.
The company is best known for popular games such as Prince of Persia, Karateka, Myst, Lode Runner, and the educational Carmen Sandiego franchise. It also produced Raid on Bungeling Bay, the first video game created by SimCity-designer Will Wright. Additionally, Broderbund produced computer software programs such as the Print Shop, Kid Pix, and Family Tree Maker, as well as an interactive reading series known as Living Books.
This artifact represents part of a donation from co-founder Doug Carlston, which includes approximately 1,500 electronic games and software products developed, published, and licensed by Broderbund, as well as archival materials such as company newsletters, competitive market research, financial statements, photographs, promotional materials, and awards.