The Mastertronic site on Guter.Org
About this website
At its peak in 1987, Mastertronic was the dominant computer games publisher in the UK, selling millions of "budget priced" games (retailing at £2.99 or less). It owned the famous Melbourne House label and was involved in ambitious projects for new arcade game systems largely sourced and managed in the USA by Mastertronic Inc. Virgin Group was a part owner. Mastertronic was exclusive wholesaler of computer games to Woolworth's, Toys'R'Us and other leading retailers. It was the exclusive UK supplier for Sega consoles and software. Yet the business had started from nothing at the end of 1983.
Between 1985 and 1991 I worked for Mastertronic (later Virgin Mastertronic). I was Financial Controller until 1989 and then Systems Manager. By 1992 the non-console part of the business had become secondary to European-wide distribution of Sega products. Virgin Group disposed of the console side to Sega Japan and the remainder (comprising Mastertronic and Mastertronic Inc, Virgin Games, Melbourne House and Arcadia) was renamed Virgin Interactive Entertainment, became wholly based in the USA and the distinctive Mastertronic budget games were no longer published.
Today the memory of the label and its many successful games (as well as a large number of deeply bad ones) is kept alive on a number of websites. I am not trying to compete with any of these. Instead these pages explore the history and image of the company.
Copies of the original games can be downloaded and replayed on games emulators. In theory this is a breach of copyright. In practice, not only have some of the authors publicly renounced their copyright, but nobody has any commercial interest in the titles. (However some games may well convert nicely to run on smartphones and tablets).
In August 2003 a new business venture was launched using the Mastertronic name which featured a range of budget priced rereleases of PC games. It folded in 2015. There is more about it on the Press page. Also on this page are many magazine news items and features that illuminate the story of Mastertronic, from the early suspicions and hostility of the trade to the eclipse of budget games by the new generation of consoles. There have been major updates in 2016 and 2017.
If you have any questions about Mastertronic I will be happy to try to answer them. Please remember that I was not a games programmer and cannot answer questions about coding, solutions or cheats.