||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|Former type||Proprietary limited company|
|Industry||Computer and video games
|Headquarters||Edgware, London, England|
Argonaut Games plc was a British video game developer. Founded as Argonaut Software by teenager Jez San in 1982, the company name is a play on his name (J. San) and the movie title Jason and the Argonauts. It had its head offices in Edgware, London.
In 1993, Argonaut collaborated with Nintendo during the early years of the NES and SNES. The combined efforts from both Nintendo and Argonaut made a prototype of the game Star Fox, initially codenamed "NesGlider" and inspired by their earlier Atari ST and Amiga game Starglider, that they had running on the NES and then some weeks later on a prototype of the SNES. Jez San told Nintendo that this was as good as it could get unless they were allowed to design custom hardware to make the SNES better at 3D. Nintendo said yes, and San hired chip designers and made the Super FX chip (originally codenamed by them the “MARIO chip”). So powerful was the Super FX chip that was used to create the graphics and gameplay that they joked that the Super Nintendo was just a box to hold the chip.
After building the Super FX, they went on to design a chip for Philips for a videogame machine that never came out (codenamed GreenPiece aka CD-I 2) and also designed one for Apple Inc. which was also for a videogame machine that never appeared (codenamed VeggieMagic) – and one for Hasbro – for a Virtual Reality game machine that similarly never appeared (codenamed MatriArc).
In 1996, Argonaut Software was split into Argonaut Technologies Limited (ATL) and Argonaut Software Limited (ASL). With space being a premium at the office on Colindale Avenue, ATL was relocated to an office in the top floor of a separate building; Capitol House on Capitol Way, just around the corner, where they continued the design of CPU and GPU products and maintained 'BRender', Argonaut's proprietary software 3D engine.
In 1997, the two arms of the company once again shared an office as the entire company was moved to a new building in Edgware.
In 1998, ATL was rebranded ARC after the name of their main product (aka Argonaut RISC Core) and became an embedded IP provider.
Argonaut Software Limited became Argonaut Games and was floated in 1999.
In late October 2004, Argonaut Games called in receivers David Rubin & Partners, made 100 employees redundant and was put up for sale. Lack of a constant stream of deals with publishers led to cashflow issues and a profit warning earlier in the year.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
BRender (abbreviation of Blazing Renderer) is a development toolkit and a real-time 3D graphics engine for computer games, simulators and graphic tools. It was developed and licensed by Argonaut Software. The engine had support for Intel's MMX instruction set and it supported Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS and Sony PlayStation platforms. Support for 3D hardware graphics accelerator cards was added. Well-known games made with BRender include Carmageddon, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, FX Fighter and I-War (Independence War).
- Skyline Attack, 1984 (Commodore 64)
- Alien, 1984 (Commodore 64)
- Starglider, 1985
- Starglider 2, 1988
- Days of Thunder, 1990 (Atari ST, Amiga)
- Race Drivin', 1992 (Atari ST, Amiga)
- A.T.A.C, 1992 (PC CDROM)
- Birds of Prey, 1992 (AMIGA)
- X, 1992 (Game Boy)
- Star Fox, 1993 (SNES) (assistance in programming)
- King Arthur's World, 1993 (SNES)
- Vortex, 1994 (SNES)
- Stunt Race FX, 1994 (SNES) (assistance in programming)
- Creature Shock, 1994 (PC CDROM)
- Ren & Stimpy: Fire Dogs, 1994 (SNES)
- FX Fighter, 1995 (PC CDROM)
- Alien Odyssey, 1995 (PC CDROM)
- FX Fighter Turbo, 1996 (PC CDROM)
- Scooby Doo Mystery, 1996 (SNES)
- Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, 1997 (PS1, SAT, PC)
- Buck Bumble, 1998 (N64)
- Croc 2, 1999 (PS1, PC)
- The Emperor's New Groove, 2000 (PS1, PC)
- Alien: Resurrection, 2000 (PS1)
- Red Dog: Superior Firepower, 2000 (DC)
- Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge, 2000 (PS1, PC)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 2001 (PS1, PC) (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002 (PS1, PC)
- Bionicle: Matoran Adventures, 2002 (GBA)
- Bionicle: The Game, 2003 (Xbox, PC, PS2, GameCube)
- I-Ninja, 2003 (Xbox, PC, PS2, GameCube)
- SWAT: Global Strike Team, 2003 (Xbox, PS2)
- Carve, 2004 (Xbox)
- Catwoman: The Game, 2004 (Xbox, PC, PS2, GameCube)
- Power Drome, 2004 (Xbox, PS2)
- Malice, 2004 (Xbox, PS2)
- Croc 3: Stone of The Gobbos, 2005 (Xbox, PS2, GameCube)
- "Argonaut Contact information". Argonaut Games. 1998-01-13. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- Bolton, Syd. "Interview with Jez San, OBE". Armchair Empire. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- "Interview with Jez San". arwinglanding.net. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
- "BRender Web page". Argonaut Software. Archived from the original on 1996-10-29. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "The Wave Report on Digital Media Issue 606 8/16/96". 4th WAVE, Inc. Retrieved 2010-06-22.