Back to portal

The Covers 6 of 7:
Mastertronic USA

All images are clickable thumbnails

As previously mentioned, Mastertronic had a presence in the USA from early on but in the summer of 1986 we set up our own subsidiary. Mastertronic Inc was based in Costa Mesa, in the suburbs of Los Angeles. At that time all of its product was sourced from Mastertronic Ltd in the UK, but only C64 and IBM-PC games could be sold into the American market. As these were only on disks, the inlays were larger than those used for cassette tape. There was no 199 range in the USA - the disks sold for $9.99. In fact there was no concept of "budget" software in the USA. This is exemplified on the full-page advert in the press section

Mastertronic Inc used the look of the original 199 games but often rejected the UK cartoon-style artwork. Compare the cover used for Master of Magic in the UK with the original artwork used for the US version

 

Pro-Golf is a typical disk inlay. Mastertronic Inc used the tilted "M" logo long after it had been dropped in the UK.

 

 

Arcadia

Mastertronic bought Melbourne House with the intent of becoming a full price software house. However at the same time we developed the Arcadia label and gaming machines in the USA. The Arcadia project involved buying a large number of Amiga processors from Commodore and using them in arcade machines, using games also developed for the home Amiga market. To those ignorant of the way that games work, this sounded marvellous, a way to save money and cut out all the expensive custom designing of arcade machine circuits. To those of us who knew better (and I include myself in this category, having said so at the time) Arcadia would fail because games designed to take money fast in a machine are fundamentally different from games designed to grip people playing for fun at home.

Anyway, having spent real money buying Melbourne House for the name it was abandoned in favour of Arcadia in the USA. For example, AAARGH was released on Melbourne House in the UK and Europe but on Arcadia in the USA. Other Arcadia titles, all of which were developed for the arcade machines and converted for Amiga and Atari ST included Roadwars, Xenon and Sidewinder.

After our takeover by Virgin a new identity, Virgin Mastertronic, was developed. Here is another example of a different design for the US version of a game produced in the UK and sold on the 16 Blitz label