Penguin Software collection
The Penguin Software collection is arranged in one series which has been further divided into four subseries. The collection is housed in one archival document box and one records carton.
- Majority of material found in 1982-1986
- Pelczarski, Mark (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy
Conditions Governing Use
1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Pelczarski added features to his previous drawing program concept and released Complete Graphics System. Other programmers and independent game designers joined Penguin, collaborating on ideas to use vector graphics to store many images on limited disk space, which paved the way for the popular (and later industry-standard) Graphics Magician. Penguin intentionally omitted copy protection on its software, making it easier for users to back up their programs. The company’s success allowed them to expand production from graphics programs to home applications, educational games, and adventure games. According to Pelczarski, Transylvania (1984) was the first originally programmed (not ported) game released for the introduction of the Macintosh computer in 1984.
That same year, Penguin programmers storyboarded a series of educational computer games which would teach geography with the player as a spy, pursuing an evil villain around the continent; in 1986, several months ahead of Penguin’s release of The Spy’s Adventures in North America, Brøderbund Software published the first game in its Carmen Sandiego series, effectively (and erroneously) branding Penguin Software’s Spy’s Adventures series a copycat in the educational software market. Also in 1986, Penguin Software received notice from book publisher conglomerate Penguin-Viking that they would be sued for copyright infringement regarding the word “penguin” in their company name. Rather than face prolonged—and expensive—legal proceedings, Penguin Software changed its name to Polarware. Four Polarware employees soon purchased the company from Pelczarski. In 1988, Polarware was acquired by another entity and rendered defunct later that year.
As of 2015, Pelczarski lives in the greater Chicago area and is an independent software developer and consultant.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Mark Pelczarski records of Penguin Software, 1970-2013
Subseries A: Correspondence
Subseries B: Game design documentation
Subseries C: Column text drafts and publications
Subseries D: Development and master disks
- Finding Aid to the Penguin Software Collection, 1970-2013
- Julia Novakovic
- 20 May 2015
- Description rules
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA