Top 10 Game Publishers of All Time - #6 Microprose

Coming in at #6 for top publisher is Microprose.

Like Virgin Interactive, Microprose is sadly another defunct studio. It was originally formed in 1982 by legendary game designer, Sid Meier, and Bill Stealey, a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel. The company slowly died off during the late 90s with the 2002 game, Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4, being the last to have a Microprose logo on the box. The first Microprose game I can ever remember playing was Covert Action (1990), an old EGA game where you played a secret agent, flying around the world apprehending dangerous terrorists.

The biggest franchises published by Microprose would have to be Civilization, Master of Orion and X-COM. The first Civilization came out in 1991 but I remember playing it much later than that, in 1995 I believe, shortly before Civilization II (1996) was released. Even in 1995, Civilization's graphics were considered primitive but the addictive 'just-one-more-turn' gameplay was already there from the start. Playing Civilization II cemented my love affair for the series and I’ve been a Civ fan ever since.

Master of Orion (1993) was another sensational game which was basically Civilization in space, so it made sense for Microprose to publish this franchise! The best features of Master of Orion though were that each race had different benefits and best of all, you got to kit your own ships with the technology you researched! Master of Orion II (1996) would continue with this formula and just like Civilization, I became a Master of Orion fan.

To complete the trifecta of big Microprose franchises we have the X-COM series. UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994), was one of the first tactical, squad-based strategy games that I've played and there were many tense moments when you played this game. In the beginning of the game, the aliens have advanced technology and your team has practically no armour to protect themselves – so you can understand why it gets a bit tense! Only after several successful recovery missions and days of research do you finally get some nifty weapons and armour to combat the alien menace. X-COM Apocalypse (1997) continued with the same formula although it was set in retro-futuristic city instead of encompassing the entire Earth.

Other games that I've bought from Microprose include Sid Meier’s Colonization (1994), a strategy game that simulates the founding of the United States; Transport Tycoon (1994), the best transport company simulator I’ve ever played; Worms 2 (1997), the best version of Team 17’s take of the artillery game genre, and Mechwarrior 3 (1999), a highly realistic battlemech simulator (if you can call piloting battlemechs, realistic)!

As Microprose is defunct, no-one will be buying games from this publisher any time soon – unless they decide to resurrect the brand name of course! 2K Games is the natural successor though as it owns Firaxis.