AMSOFT

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Contents

Background

The software wing of Amstrad, Amsoft was created with one very specific goal: to get software on the shelves for the launch of the CPC 464. Amstrad owner Alan Sugar viewed this as a key component of his strategy for entering the already crowded British home micro market in the mid-1980s. Sugar was determined not to make the same mistake as the people behind already doomed machines like the Dragon 32 and Oric and saw a strong software base as a necessity if he was to break the stranglehold of the more established trio of machines being produced by Acorn, Commodore and Sinclair.

This domination of the home micro market made it difficult for any manufacturer to make an impact, particularly a new start in the industry, as the software industry in the UK had not reached its full potential by this point and those companies who had began to establish themselves were mostly unwilling to take a gamble on the expensive production of software for a machine with no user base.

Sugar's idea was to take a calculated risk. He reasoned that with the amount of money being invested into producing the machine, a dedicated software wing would be a relatively low additional cost with a potentially high yield return - if his software company got a cut of every game sold then they would soon re-coup at least part of the expenditure particularly when the user base grew enough to have third party developers approaching Amsoft to publish their games.

Amsoft was also place in charge of administrating and running the Amstrad User Club and the publication of Amstrad Computer User.

Early Days

Amsoft and its management team, headed up by Roland Perry and William Poel both of whom were still heavilly involved in the development of the CPC 464 itself, were given a straight forward brief of getting as much software on to the shelves as possible to support the launch and first years of the machine's life, with a minimum of regard given to the actual quality of the software itself.

Prior to the machine’s launch, the company approached a number of software houses who had made a name for themselves developing for the ZX Spectrum and C64, provided them with prototype CPC’s and commissioned the companies to produce software that could support the machine.

Every game and program produced was sold under the Amsoft label with developers given a credit on the uniform loading screens and spine of the cassette inlay along with a unique SOFT Number, all of which helped make the programs stand out on the crowded computer shop shelves.

Unfortunately, despite a raft of quality games like Manic Miner, Pyjamarama and Codename MAT appearing under the label's distinct and brightly coloured livery, Amsoft quickly developed a bit of a bad reputation in the industry from both frustrated developers unhappy with the cut of profits being taken by Amsoft through to the games players themselves who became disgruntled at paying top prices (£8.95 per game at a time when new ZX Spectrum releases were priced at £5.95) for poor titles.

As a result companies such as Ocean and Elite Systems decided to strike out on their own, releasing their games under their own labels as they did with other machines, now that the user base had begun to be established.

Roland

The earliest success for Amsoft, and it's biggest legacy, was the Roland series. Named after Roland Perry, the character was used as the basis for a number of games none of which (with the exception of Roland in Time and Roland in Space) had anything to do with each other! Instead, the Roland brand was added almost arbitrarily to a selection of games from different developers and all of which sold by the bucket load, regardless of the quality of game itself.


Roland’s status as a CPC icon was firmly established when two of the titles, Roland on the Ropes and Roland in the Caves, were sold as part of the CPC 464 bundle from the beginning of 1985 making Roland’s games amongst the first played by a large proportion of the CPC games playing market.

Despite this success and his popularity, the Roland character was shelved as the company attempted to shed the image it had created for itself of allowing any game to be published under their name. Roland was felt to be indicative of this approach and he was quietly phased out following the release of Roland in Space.

Decline

The loss of so many early supporters of the CPC as developers was a blow to the company. As well as Ocean and Elite Systems, the company’s working relationships with Kuma, Durell, Mikro-Gen and Software Projects also soured with each of those companies breaking away from the partnership and releasing games under their own banner.

Some of these break-ups were due to the tough negotiating stance taken by Amsoft who refused to be drawn into making bids for ‘expensive’ software when a cheaper alternative could be sought elsewhere. The most infamous example of this being their decision to not even tender a bid for the rights to produce a CPC version of Elite, arguably the most successful 8-bit game of all time.

Not even the re-packaging of their basic Snooker and Pool games with celebrity endorsement from World Champion Snooker player, Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins could turn their fortunes around. Something had to be done to stop the rot.

Amsoft Gold

In an attempt to combat the growing number of third party developers who were releasing games directly on to the system themselves, Amsoft attempted to re-establish their position as the leading CPC software house with a re-branding exercise to coincide with a marked increase in quality that was to prove confusing for the consumer.

While maintaining the regular Amsoft range the company also began releasing games under the Amsoft Gold banner. These games came packaged in distinctive gold clam cases and were purported to be the best games that the company had to offer.

Linking up with a new batch of companies who were set to have a significant impact on the industry including US Gold and Virgin Games, ‘’Amsoft’’ had seemed to turn a corner with positive reviews coming in for not only ‘’Amsoft Gold’’ games like Sorcery + and Beach Head but also releases made on the old label like Beyond Software’s Lords of Midnight and Alien from Argus Press Software.

Almost inevitably though, this was to be a short lived renaissance as the quality control soon dipped again with sub-par titles appearing for the Gold range and the stigma attached to their earlier policy never fully seemed to lift from the company.

The End

After a period of inactivity, the final releases which, in the past would’ve been greeted by a blaze of publicity, were almost sneaked out by the company.

All the more strangely, these titles were solid ports of high profile arcade games Tapper and Hard Balland came out at a time when former partners US Gold, Elite Systems and Ocean were leading the charge with home computer versions of all the most popular arcade games of the time.

Amsoft seemed almost apologetic for still being involved in the software business and the company finally pulled the plug on their software publishing wing at the beginning if 1987.

Their final game, a conversion of Sega's Spy Hunter was never released in Amsoft packagaing and was later brought out by US Gold as a launch title for their Kixx budget label, the title screen of which still bore the Amsoft name – a final reminder of this once powerful unit’s presence on the CPC scene.


Softography

Games

Title House Year Language:english Soft N. Language:spanish Soft N. Language:german Soft N. Language:french Soft N.
3D Boxing James Software 1985 06025 / 07025 46025 / 47025
3D Chess Intelligent Software 1985 06026 / 07026 AMC 169 26026 46026 / 47026
3D Grand Prix Exopal Software 1985 961 / 1961 - / 41961
3D Invaders Quark Data 1984 136 AMC 142 / S-511 436
3D Stunt Rider DJL Software 1985 183 / 1183 AMC 164 4183 / -
50000 Lieues Sous Les Mers Protek Computing 1984 135 / 1135 435 / 41135
Admiral Graf Spee Temptation Software 1984 146 AMC 118 446
Airwolf Elite Systems 1985 06011 / 07011 - / 47011
Ajedrez Tridimensional Intelligent Software 1985 06026 / 07026 AMC 169 26026 46026 / 47026
Alex Higgins World Pool Gem Software 1985 964 / 1964 2964
Alex Higgins World Snooker Gem Software 1985 978 / 1978 - / 41190
Alien Argus Press Software 1985 956 / 1956
Alien Break-In Romik 1984 137 S 137 237 437
Almirante Graf Spee Temptation Software 1984 146 AMC 118 446
Aguilas del Espacio Durell Software 1984 177 / 1177 S 115 477
American Football Argus Press Software 1984 901
Amsgolf Computersmith 1984 185 / 1185 S 130 285 485 / 41185
Asalto Shirekilo 1985 06022 / 07022 AMC 174
Assault on Port Stanley Shirekilo 1985 06022 / 07022 AMC 174
Astro Attack Ian Beynon 1984 175 475
Atom Smasher Romik 1984 139 S 139 439
Attaque Astrale Ian Beynon 1984 175 475
Attaque au Laser Mikro-Gen 1984 126 S 126 426
Aventure Classique Abersoft 1984 187 487
Beach Head US Gold/Access 1985 07001
Billar (Snooker) Gem Software 1984 190 S 190
Blagger Alligata Software 1984 926 S 506
Bourse Argus Press Software 1985 903 4903
Braxx Bluff Micromega 1985 955 / 1955 AMC 166
Bridge-It Epicsoft 1984 913
Briseur D'Atomes Romik 1984 139 S 139 439
Catastrophes Andromeda Software 1985 934 / 1934 AMC 153 4934 / 41934
Catastrophies Andromeda Software 1985 934 / 1934 AMC 153 4934 / 41934
Centre Court Epicsoft 1984 921 / 1921 S 508 2921
Classic Adventure Abersoft 1984 187 487
Classic Racing Paul Neil 1985 928 / 1928
Codename MAT Micromega 1984 129 / 1129 S 129 429 / 41129
Commandos Galactiques Terminal Software 1984 147 S 147 / AMC 119 447
Crazy Golf Mr. Micro 1984 149 S 509 449
Cubit Mr. Micro 1985 166 266
Cyrus II Chess Intelligent Software 1985 06026 / 07026 AMC 169 26026 46026 / 47026
Detective Argus Press Software 1984 902 4902
Doors of Doom Gem Software 1985 06047 / 07047
Dragons O. Goodman 1985 977 / 1977 AMC 165 41977
Dragon's Gold Romik 1985 935 / 1935 4935
Echec et Mat Mikro-Gen 1984 125 S 125 225 425 / 41125
El Hombre de la LLave Inglesa Gem Software 1984 114 / 1114 S 114 / AMC 103 214 414
El Laberinto del Sultan Gem Software 1984 113 S 113 / AMC 134
El Pirata Computersmith 1984 192 / 1192 AMC 128 / S 502
Electro Freddy Softspot Software 1984 144 / 1144 S 144 244 444 / 41144
Exocet Durell Software 1984 112 / 1112 S 112 212 412 / 41112
Fantastic Voyage Edmonds Software 1985 984 / 1984 AMC 148
Frank 'n' Stein PSS Software 1985 907 AMC 156
Fred L'Electronicien Softspot Software 1984 144 / 1144 S 144 244 444 / 41144
Fruit Machine Paul Aitman 1984 919 AMC 137
Fu-Kung in Las Vegas Romik 1985 979 / 1979 4979
Gatecrasher Exopal Software 1985 958 AMC 157
Gems of Stradus Kuma Computers 1984 121
Glen Hoddle Soccer Shirekilo 1985 06021 / 07021
Golden Path Magic Logic 1986 07055
Grand Prix Driver Britannia Software Ltd 1984 110 S 110
Grand Prix Rally II Loriciels 1985 06012 / 07012
Hard Ball Accolade 1986 06063 / 07063
Harrier Attack Durell Software 1984 112 / 1112 S 112 212 412 / 41112
Haunted Hedges Micromega 1984 128 S 128 428
Home Runner Britannia Software Ltd 1984 109
Hunchback Ocean 1984 132 / 1132 S 132 432
Hunter Killer Protek Computing 1984 135 / 1135 435 / 41135
Invasores Quark Data 1984 136 AMC 142 / S-511 436
Jammin Taskset 1985 911 / 1911 AMC 150
Jardins Hantes Micromega 1984 128 S 128 428
Jeannot le Rouge Paul Shirley 1984 181 / 1181 481 / 41181
Jet-Boot Jack English Software 1985 172 AMC 144
L'Apprenti Sorcier R. Meyer 1984 4202
L'Or des Dragons Romik 1985 935 / 1935 4935
La Troisieme Dimension Quark Data 1984 136 AMC 142 / S-511 436
Laserwarp Mikro-Gen 1984 126 S 126 426
Le Golf des Dingues Mr. Micro 1984 149 S 509 449
Le Labyrinthe du Sultan Gem Software 1984 113 S 113 / AMC 134 413
Le Mecano de la Centrale Gem Software 1984 114 / 1114 S 114 / AMC 103 214 414
Le Polichinelle Mr. Micro 1984 150 / 1150 S 150 250 450 / 41150
Les Dragons O. Goodman 1985 977 / 1977 41977
Les Envahisseurs de L'Audela Romik 1984 137 S 137 237 437
Les Faucons de L'Espace Durell Software 1984 177 / 1177 S 115 477
Les Portes du Destin Gem Software 1985 06047 / 07047
Lords of Midnight Beyond Software 1985 957 / 1957
Macrocosmica Datacom 1986 06042 / 07042
Manic Miner Software Projects 1984 173 S 173 473
Master Chess Mikro-Gen 1984 125 S 125 225 425 / 41125
Mr. Wong's Loopy Laundry Artic Computing 1984 923 S 505 4923
Mutant Monty Artic Computing 1984 922 / 1922 S 507 4922
Nom de Code : MAT Micromega 1984 129 / 1129 S 129 429 / 41129
Nuclear Defence James Software 1986 06031 / 07031
Oh Momies! Gem Software 1984 115 AMC 138 215 415
Oh Mummy! Gem Software 1984 115 AMC 138 215 415
Plaga Galactica Indescomp 1984 196 S 201 / AMC 125 496
Pool Billard Gem Software 1985 964 / 1964 2964
Punchy Mr. Micro 1984 150 / 1150 S 150 250 450 / 41150
Pyjamarama Mikro-Gen 1984 943 / 1943 AMC 146 4943
Qabbalah Gem Software 1986 06062 / 07062
Quack a Jack Paul Shirley 1984 181 / 1181 481 / 41181
Quasimodo Ocean 1984 132 / 1132 S 132 432
Raid US Gold/Access 1985 07002
Raid Souterrain Insight Software 1985 06010 / 07010 AMC 162 - / 47010
Roland a L'Abordage Computersmith 1984 192 / 1192 AMC 128 / S 502 492
Roland Ahoy! Computersmith 1984 192 / 1192 AMC 128 / S 502 492
Roland aux Oubliettes Indescomp 1984 118 / 1118 S 118 218 418 / 41118
Roland en el Infierno Gem Software 1984 169 / 1169 S 202 269 469
Roland en el Tiempo Gem Software 1984 170 / 1170 S 136 470 / 41170
Roland en Fuite Epicsoft 1984 199 / 1199 S 199 499
Roland Fait des Petits Trous Gem Software 1984 169 / 1169 S 202 269 469
Roland goes Digging Gem Software 1984 169 / 1169 S 202 269 469
Roland goes Square Bashing Durell Software 1985 937 / 1937 AMC 155
Roland in Space Gem Software 1985 927 / 1927
Roland in the Caves Indescomp 1984 117 / 1117 S 117 217
Roland in Time Gem Software 1984 170 / 1170 S 136 470 / 41170
Roland on the Ropes Indescomp 1984 118 / 1118 S 118 218 418 / 41118
Roland on the Run Epicsoft 1984 199 / 1199 S 199 499
Roland Voyage dans le Temps Gem Software 1984 170 / 1170 S 136 470 / 41170
Roland y los Cubos Durell Software 1985 937 / 1937 AMC 155
Rally II Loriciels 1985 06012 / 07012
Satellite Warrior D. M. Lock 1985 949 / 1949
Snooker Gem Software 1984 190 S 190 490
Sorcery + Virgin Games 1985 1983 AMD 109 21983 41983
Space Hawks Durell Software 1984 177 / 1177 S 115 477
Spannerman Gem Software 1984 114 / 1114 S 114 / AMC 103 214 414
Spitfire 40 Mirrorsoft 1985 07052
Splat! Incentive Software 1984 909 S 504 4909
Star Commando Terminal Software 1984 147 S 147 / AMC 119 447
Stockmarket Argus Press Software 1985 903 4903
Strangeloop + Virgin Games 1985 07058
Subterranean Stryker Insight Software 1985 06010 / 07010 AMC 162 - / 47010
Sultan's Maze Gem Software 1984 113 S 113 / AMC 134 413
Super Pipeline II Taskset 1985 987 / 1987 AMC 151
Tank Command Magic Logic 1986 06023 / 07023
Tapper Bally Midway/Sega 1987 06007 / 07007
Tenis Epicsoft 1984 921 / 1921 S 508 2921
Tennis Epicsoft 1984 921 / 1921 S 508 2921
Toujours Pret! H.R. Software 1985 988 / - - / 41988
The Fantastic Voyage Edmonds Software 1985 984 / 1984 AMC 148
The Galactic Plague Indescomp 1984 196 S 201 / AMC 125
The Game of Dragons O. Goodman 1985 977 / 1977 41977
The Key Factor Paul Aitman 1985 975 AMC 149
The Prize Arcade Software 1985 952
The Scout Steps Out H.R. Software 1985 988 / - - / 41988
Tombstowne Premier Software 1985 06040 / 07040
Traffic Andromeda Software 1985 929 / 1929
Une Lessive Eprouvante pour Monsieur Wong Artic Computing 1984 923 S 505 4923

Compilations

Title House Year Language:english Soft N. Language:spanish Soft N. Language:german Soft N. Language:french Soft N.
Amsoft 12-Pack Amsoft 999
6128 Games Collection 1986
Amstrad PP5 Promotional Pack Amsoft 1987 07073
Amstrad PP8 Promotional Pack Amsoft
Amstrad PP15 Promotional Pack Amsoft/Mastertronic 1988
Super Games I Schneider 19-- 28565
Super Games II Schneider 19-- 28566
Super Games III Schneider 19-- 28756
Super Sport I Schneider 19-- 28567
Super Sport II Schneider 19-- 28996

Educational Software

Title House Year Language:english Soft N. Language:spanish Soft N. Language:german Soft N. Language:french Soft N.
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 104 AMC 300
Animal, Vegetal, Mineral (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 104 AMC 300
Curso Autodidactico de BASIC I Amsoft 1984 111 AML-100 211
Curso Autodidactico de BASIC II Amsoft 1985 156 256
Happy Letters (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 105 / 1105
Happy Numbers (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 102 / 1102 202 402
Happy Writing (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 106 / 1106 406
L'Ardoise Magiques (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 106 / 1106 406
L'Horloger 1 (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 107 / 1107 407
L'Horloger 2 (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 108 / 1108 408
Le Geographe (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 103 / 1103 403
Le Pendu (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 101 / 1101 401
Les Chiffres Magiques (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 102 / 1102 202 402
Les Lettres Magiques (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 105 / 1105
Map Rally (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 148 / 1148
Mirando a las Estrellas Triptych Publishing 1984 915 / 1915 AMD 300
Osprey! (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 947 / 1947
Physics Revision (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1985 960 / 1960
Pitman Typing Tutor Pitman Publishing 1984 924 / 1924
Star Watcher Triptych Publishing 1984 915 / 1915 AMD 300
Teach Yourself Amstrad Basic - A Tutorial Guide - Part I Amsoft 1984 111 AML-100 211 411
Teach Yourself Amstrad Basic - A Tutorial Guide - Part II Amsoft 1985 156 256
Timeman One (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 107 / 1107 407
Timeman Two (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 108 / 1108 408
Wordhang (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 101 / 1101 401
World - Wise (BES) Bourne Educational Software 1984 103 / 1103 403
Xanagrams Dean Software 1984 133

Utilities

Title House Year Language:english Soft N. Language:spanish Soft N. Language:german Soft N. Language:french Soft N.
Amlettres Juniper Computing 1984 154 S-154 / AMC-502 254 454
Amsbase 1984 S-501
Ams Calc Saxon Computing 1984 153 S-153 253 453
Amsdraw 1984 AMC-703
Amstest 1985 06017 AMC-706
Amsword Tasman Software 1984 164 / 1164 S-164 / AMD-511
Cashbook Accounts Saxon Computing 1985 07014
Decision Maker Triptych Publishing 1984 918 / 1918 AMD-501
DFM Database + Labels Dialog Software 1984 941 / 1941
Easi-Amscalc Saxon Computing 1984 153 S-153 253 453
Easi-Amsword Juniper Computing 1984 154 S-154 / AMC-502 254 454
Easy-Topcalc Saxon Computing 1984 153 S-153 253 453
Easy-Topword Juniper Computing 1984 154 S-154 / AMC-502 254 454
Entrepreneur Triptych Publishing 1984 917 / 1917
Fig-Forth Abersoft 1984 188 / 1188 AMC-705
Forth Abersoft 1984 188 / 1188 AMC-705
Hisoft Devpac Hisoft 1984 116 / 1116 S-116 216
Hisoft Pascal 4T Hisoft 1984 155 / 1155 S-155
Hisoft Pascal Hisoft 1984 155 / 1155 S-155
Home Accounts Manager Dialog Software 1984 942 / 1942
Home Budget Kuma Computers 1984 119
Invostat Dialog Software 1984 939 / 1939
Mastercalc Campbell Systems 1985 905 / 1905 AMC-510
MasterFile 464 Campbell Systems 1984 914 / 1914 4914 / -
Microfile/Microword Saxon Computing 07053
MicroGraph Saxon Computing 1985 1014
MicroPen Intelligence 1984 1011 AMD-502
MicroScript Intelligence 1984 1010 AMD-503
MicroSpread Saxon Computing 1985 1012 AMD-508
Procesador de Texto Juniper Computing 1984 154 S-154 / AMC-502 254 454
Project Planner Triptych Publishing 1984 916 / 1916
Screen Designer DJL Software 1984 197 / 1197
Shape & Sound Gem Software 1985 06037 / 07037
Stock-Aid Dialog Software 1984 940 / 1940
SuperCalc 2 Sorcim/IUS 1985 07028
Tomando Decisiones Triptych Publishing 1984 918 / 1918 AMD-501
Transact Dialog Software 1984 938 / 1938

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