Superior Software Ltd (a.k.a. Superior Interactive) is a video game publisher. It was one of the main publishers for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers in the 1980s and early 1990s. It currently releases games for Microsoft Windows; mostly updates of its original games.
Superior Software was established in 1982 by Richard Hanson and John Dyson, two graduates of the University of Leeds, England. They had previously programmed software published by Micro Power, and they wrote Superior's first four-game releases for the BBC Micro: three were written by Hanson and one by Dyson. Describing the early days, Hanson commented:
We set up Superior Software with just £100 — John and I each put £50 into a company bank account; and we placed a small black-and-white advertisement in one of the early home computer magazines ... £100 was the most money that we would lose from the Superior Software venture if it had not worked out. Anyway we received a very good response to our first advertisement, and the software sales which it generated covered the cost of the advertisement several times over. We started to place larger advertisements in a few magazines, and invited other programmers to send their software to us for evaluation and possible marketing by us.
Superior mostly focused on the machines of Acorn Computers Ltd, but also made attempts to enter the market of other platforms including the Oric-1 and Commodore 64. Key management personnel have included Steve Botterill, Chris Payne and Steve Hanson.
Major software developers Peter Johnson, Tim Tyler, Martin Edmondson, Nicholas Chamberlain, Kevin Edwards, David Hoskins, Matthew Atkinson, Chris Roberts, Tony Oakden, Peter Scott, Gary Partis, Peter Irvin, Jeremy Smith, David Braben, Ian Bell, Geoff Crammond, Jonathan Griffiths and Nick Pelling have all produced software published by Superior, sometimes released under the joint Superior Software / Acornsoft brandname.
Their most well-known games are the Repton series of games, which sold over 125,000 units for the Acorn computers. Other notable Superior Software games for the BBC and Electron include Overdrive, Citadel, Thrust, Galaforce, Stryker's Run, Ravenskull, Codename: Droid (sequel to Stryker's Run), Palace of Magic, Bonecruncher, Quest, Pipeline, Exile and Ricochet. They also published the seminal Zarch for the Acorn Archimedes, as well as follow-up games using the same engine, Conqueror and Air Supremacy.
As well as their high quality original games, Superior released a number of official Acorn conversions of big games from other systems including Barbarian, The Last Ninja, Predator, Hostages and Sim City.
Superior also published a number of educational and utility software titles including the speech synthesis program Speech!.
The "Play It Again Sam" series of compilations were used to re-release their old titles, with four games for the usual price of one. The original Play It Again Sam featured four Superior games which had each made No. 1 individually (Citadel, Thrust, Ravenskull, and Stryker's Run), but subsequent compilations increasingly featured one or more makeweight games of lesser quality, mainly licensed from other software houses such as Micro Power or Alligata. They were also used to release new games that were thought not quite up to the standard of their full price games. The series eventually ran to 18 on the BBC Micro, though the latest ones were released on disc only, well into the demise of the 8-bit scene, and very few copies were sold.
Superior, under the brandname Superior Interactive, now mainly develops and publishes software for computers running Microsoft Windows; and they have released several updated versions of their popular 1980s hits for that operating system. This includes the original three Repton games as well as Repton Spectacular, featuring new levels, and iRepton for the iPhone.
As well as new versions of the Repton games, Superior Interactive has published re-releases called Galaforce Worlds, Ravenskull, Pipeline Plus, Ricochet and a new game Solid Spheres Deluxe.