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Creator / Epyx

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Epyx was the name of a computer and Video Game publisher of The '70s and The Eighties. It is best remembered for several classic games for the Atari 8-Bit Computers and Commodore 64, particularly Temple of Apshai, Jumpman, Impossible Mission, Summer/Winter/California Games, and Chip's Challenge.

The company was founded in 1977 by Jim Connelley and Jon Freeman under the name Automated Simulations; Connelley had purchased a Commodore PET to perform bookkeeping for his Dungeons & Dragons games, and decided to create a game so he could write it off on his taxes. Connelly and Freeman created Starfleet Orion, a space-themed wargame for the PET, TRS-80 , and Apple ][.

Their third game was an action-adventure RPG called Temple of Apshai, which became a Breakthrough Hit. Since the game was not a simulation, they introduced the brand name Epyx for these titles. Using the same game engine, Epyx quickly released other action-oriented games, including Crush, Crumble, and Chomp!, Rescue at Rigel, Star Warrior, and two more sequels to Apshai.

In 1983, as the company consolidated under the Epyx name, it released another blockbuster hit, Jumpman. The company therefore shifted their output entirely towards action games, with more hits like Impossible Mission, Summer Games, Winter Games, and California Games, along with Licensed Games based on Barbie, Hot Wheels, and G.I. Joe. The British company U.S. Gold published Epyx games for the Commodore 64 and ported them to European platforms such as the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. Epyx returned the favor, distributing games from European programmers, along with games from other American developers including Lucasfilm Games and Microsoft.

Epyx was sued by Data East in 1987 over the game World Karate Championship, which Data East accused of being a copy of Karate Champ. Epyx ultimately won the case on appeal. Unfortunately, the company also tried to diversify in a wide variety of fields, including graphics and animation software, gaming peripherals, and even board games and VCR games. What few successes they had were offset by the failures.

The final straw was the company's attempt to get into handheld video gaming. With famed hardware designers Dave Needle and R.J. Mical (of Amiga fame), Epyx developed the "Handy," a system ahead of its time with color graphics, hardware scaling, and multiplayer network capabilities. However, Epyx ran out of money before development could be completed; Handy was sold to Atari, who eventually released it as the Atari Lynx. Atari was both a creditor and a debtor of Epyx; when Atari failed to pay for their contracted titles, Epyx went bankrupt, which gave Atari the titles for free.

Epyx was dissolved and sold to the Bridgestone Group in the early 1990s. The company eventually emerged from bankruptcy, but sold off all of its assets in 1993.

Games developed or published by Epyx include: