Apogee Software, Ltd is an American video game publisher and former developer originally founded by Scott Miller in 1987 and headquartered in Texas as a limited partnership with Action Entertainment, Inc. Apogee helped pioneer the shareware business model that was really popular for PC games in the 1990s.
In 1996, the company rebranded itself to 3D Realms, as it had mostly switched over to developing and publishing 3D games. In 2008, Apogee spun off a separate company called Apogee Software, LLC by Miller's college friend, Terry Nagy which was meant to handle distribution of software and remakes, while 3D Realms would handle development of new games, but the next year, 3D Realms fired its development staff. In 2014, 3D Realms was purchased by SDN Invest, a Danish holding company. Since 2009, both 3D Realms and Apogee Software, LLC continue to published the occasional game, but neither has accomplished much.
I learned about Apogee in the early 1990s when I started coming across their shareware games. I'm not sure which games of theirs I saw first, probably Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle or Wolfenstein 3-D, both which were developed by id Software. I rarely spent money on Apogee titles because they usually published games with poor controls and dated graphics and sound. Any decent tech seen in Apogee games was developed by outside companies who licensed it to them. They did do a pretty good job in-house with the Build engine used in Duke Nukem 3D, but that was one of the last successful games they made in-house. For the most part, it seemed like Apogee was publishing games that should have been released on a console rather than PC. In the early 1990s, the PC was great for games that needed a lot of space or a mouse interface, but not action platformers.
These are the Apogee games that are important to me.
- Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle
- Duke Nukem II
- Raptor: Call of the Shadows
- Terminal Velocity
- Wolfenstein 3-D
These are people who worked at Apogee whose work I appreciate.