1982 - Imagine Software Ltd
So how did it all start?
Imagine Software was founded in 1982 by former members of Bug-Byte including Mark Butler, David Lawson and Eugene Evans. Mark and Eugene had previously worked at Microdigital, one of the first computer stores in the UK. Imagine Software produced several very successful games, including Arcadia for the Vic 20 and ZX- Spectrum, before running into financial trouble in late 1983.
Rumours of Imagine's financial situation began to circulate in December 1983 following the revelations that an estimated £50,000 of its advertising bills had not been paid. The following year the debts mounted, with further advertising and tape duplication bills going unpaid, and Imagine was forced to sell the rights to its games to Beau Jolly in order to raise money. The company then achieved nationwide notoriety when it was filmed the following year by a BBC documentary crew while in the process of going spectacularly bust.
On the 28th of June 1984 a writ was issued against Imagine by VNU Business Press for monies owed for advertising in Personal Computer Games magazine, and the company was wound up on 9 July 1984 at the High Court in London after it was unable to raise the £10,000 required to pay this debt (though by this time its total debts ran to hundreds of thousands of pounds).
Former programmers went on to establish Psygnosis and Denton Designs. The company's back catalogue was owned by Beau Jolly, while rights to the Imagine label were acquired by Ocean Software, which used it to publish home computer conversions of popular arcade games under the name of Imagine Studios. The final game bearing the Imagine name was released in 1989.