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 its popular educational franchise, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, as well as games such as Lode Runner, Myst, and an interactive reading series known as Living Books . It also produced Raid on Bungeling Bay, the first video game created by SimCity-designer Will Wright.
This artifact represents part of a donation from Jordan Mechner, a video game designer who created some of Broderbund's best-selling games, including Karateka and the Prince of Persia series. Mechner later founded the independent game development company Smoking Car Productions, where he created an adventure game entitled The Last Express.