Shareware Heroes errata

If you find an error in the book, please tweet to me @MossRC or email me on rich at mossrc dot me and I'll add it to the list. If I ever get to do a second/revised edition, I'll get them all corrected.

  • page 79 - Scott Miller worked part-time at Whataburger, not Water Burger.
  • page 89 - David P. Gray was inspired to start self-publishing software after meeting a gynaecologist at a party, and he was inspired to get into shareware by Nels Anderson after meeting him, but these were two separate people and two separate events.
  • page 94 - Scott Miller allowed Broussard to make an Amiga version of Kroz, not Zork.
  • page 172 - Glenn Brensinger's name is misspelled.
  • page 173 - former space shuttle engineer Mark Lewis Baldwin worked on Empire Deluxe (and some other stuff), not Ancients 1 — that was a fellow called Mark Lewis, who appears to have vanished.

Shareware Heroes - Annotated bibliography

If I have missed something here, feel free to reach out directly to me on rich at mossrc dot me to ask about it. I saved something on the order of 99% of the materials that I consulted in writing this book, so unless noted otherwise its absence in the sources lists below is likely an oversight. And either way I may be able to help you find it. Similarly, if you’re doing research and you can’t find something I’ve cited, ping me and I’ll send it to you.

Chapter 1

  • Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Steven Levy, first published in 1984
  • My interviews with the creators of Maze, and the Polygon article I wrote about it
  • My interview with Brand Fortner for The Life & Times of Video Games episode 2, Airfight
  • For more on PLATO’s history, see The Friendly Orange Glow by Brian Dear, published 2018
  • My interview with Don Daglow, November 2019
  • Computer sales data comes from
  • Fluegelman’s book about writing with computers was called Writing in the Computer Age: Word Processing Skills and Style for Every Writer
  • The 1982 PC Mag interview (which contains also the “2,000 extra brains” quote) with Fluegelman was is the Feb-Mar 1982 issue, p64-8
  • Further Fluegelman backstory comes from TODAY Magazine Vol 02 Num 03, Jan/Feb 1983, p15
  • The Fluegelman quote in MicroTimes is from May 1985, p18-26
  • Jim Knopf/Button’s memoir of his early shareware days is at
  • My interview with Al Evans, 2020
  • I also got information about Evans from “Masterpieces of fantasy: Software wizards thrive on games” in Austin American-Statesman, Thursday 5 March 1987, pages G1 and G5.
  • (And I was interviewed for a follow-up piece written by another journalist at the same publication 24 years later: “Freeing Cap’n Magneto: How Austinite’s quest to overcome adversity inspired 1980s cult classic videogame”, published 13 May 2021 at )
  • The Scientific American article is called “White, Brown, and Fractal Music” and can be found here:
  • Information about Kaptajn Kaper:
  • Further info on the early travails of shareware can be found in that Jay Lucas magazine column that was called “Freeware” and then later changed to “Shareware”. My book makes direct use of material from these four installments:
    • InfoWorld 30 May 1983, p48-52
    • InfoWorld 7 March 1983, p62-65
    • InfoWorld 14 February 1983, p63-69
    • Bob Wallace’s use of the “shareware” name was covered in InfoWorld 19 September 1983, p3
  • Nelson Ford’s call-out for suggestions of a new name for software of this type was on page 84 of Softalk’s May 1984 issue
  • Ford revealed some of the results on page 103 of Softalk July 1984
  • Shareware was declared winner the following month, August 1984, on page 110

Chapter 2

  • The first PC-SIG ad in PC Magazine that I’ve found is dated January 8th, 1985, available here:
  • The PC-SIG ad tone shifted from “renting” to buying disks of public-domain software in the April 30, 1985 issue, available here:
  • The information about PC-SIG’s early offerings comes from “How to get more software for hard cash”, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4 Jul 1985, pages 5B and 8B
  • “The history of shareware & PsL” by Nelson Ford has good background on the emergence of PsL and shareware disk vendors in general:
  • All Bob Ostrander quotes come from my interview with him in December 2018; additional background material on Public Brand Software comes courtesy of documents provided by Bob
  • As a historical curio, you may be interested in seeing the seminar programme from the inaugural Summer Shareware Seminar:
  • Steve Lee quotes in present tense (eg “says”) come from my interview with him in May 2020
  • Steve Lee quotes in the past tense (eg “wrote”) refer to a company history article he wrote about the company’s history, available here:
  • Robin Nixon quotes are from an email interview I conducted with him in March 2019
  • Fred Fish announced his initiative in a “Freely distributable software available” net.micro.amiga Usenet post, dated 4 January 1986
  • Fred Fish’s Amazing Computing interview, “Goin’ Fishin’: An Interview with Fred Fish”, was in the October 1992 issue, p52-3
  • The Amiga Magazin “interview mit Fred Fish” [German] appeared in the December 1990 issue, pages 36 and 39
  • Additional Fred Fish background material I used:
    • Amazing Computing, July 1986, p20
    • Amazing Computing, March 1992, p6
    • Amazing Computing, May 1994, p9
    • “Friendly bites from Fred Fish”, Sydney Morning Herald, Monday July 3, 1989, p22
    • “Fishy CD is a first for Amiga”, Sydney Morning Herald, Monday July 22, 1991, p20
    • “Something fishy for your workbench”, The Guardian, Thursday March 2, 1989, p27
    • “Fish disc”, The Guardian, Thursday January 10, 1991, p31
    • “Users Of Off-Brand Computers Swim Against Mainstream”, The Sunday Rutland Herald and the Sunday Times Argus, June 18, 1995, Section E, p3
    • “Amiga show a turn-on for users”, Calgary Herald, Monday May 31, 1993, C5
  • The InfoWorld article about a disgruntled author suing Educomp was “Programmers Say Catalog Publisher Violates Copyright”, published 16 December 1985, p6
  • The National Capital Macintosh Club Bulletin op-ed was “Is Educorp Stealing From Software Developers”, published in Vol 5 No 4, June 1989, p4
  • Rob Eberhardt quotes come from my interview with him in June 2020

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

  • Nial Grimes op-ed quote is from “In Public: Emergency on planet shareware…”, ST Review issue 24, March 1994, page 34
  • Nick Harper’s issues getting Ozone published were covered in an interview with Atari Legend, published 1 June 2018 at
  • 17-Bit Software formation is covered in “Software for free” in Amiga Shopper issue 2, June 1991, page 112
  • 17-Bit history comes mainly from “Money for Nothing?” in Amiga Computing, issue 37, June 1991, pages 21-28
  • Additional 17-Bit backstory comes from “Team17: There and Back Again” in Retro Gamer issue 186, October 2018
  • Assassins history and quotes come from “The Assassins: Killing in the name of…”, Amiga Action issue 62, pages 52-53
  • “Famous Five” in CU Amiga, August 1991, page 142
  • “Demo” in Amiga Action, November 1991, page 122
  • “PD Zone” in The One Amiga issue 46, July 1992, page 115
  • A complete list of Budgie disks is available at:
  • The origins of Budgie UK are covered in “Software Going Cheep”, New Computer Express issue 38, 29 July 1989, pages 17 and 19
  • More background on Budgie UK: “Paul Rixon’s PD World” in New Atari User issue 47, December 1990, page 66
  • “Budgie Licences” letter to the editor, New Computer Express issue 71, 17 March 1990, page 67
  • Additional Budgie UK background comes from email correspondence with co-founder Simon Rush in December 2021
  • Background information on the Atari ST licenceware games by Robert Leong available at
  • Andrew Oakley’s webpage about his Atari ST games is available at
  • “The Licenceware Controversy” sidebar in “PD Utilities”, CU Amiga issue 32, October 1992, page 139
  • “Licenceware Register Established” in Amiga Shopper issue 16, August 1992, page 11
  • The efforts of F1 Licenceware to keep the licenceware scheme alive are documented in “Straight Talk”, Amiga Shopper issue 57, Christmas 1995, pages 74-75 and

Chapter 5

  • All present tense quotes from Scott Miller (and much of the background material on him) comes from our Skype interview and email correspondences between December 2018 and early 2021 as well as earlier email correspondence 2017
  • “Miller later wrote” quote about potential sales figures on his Shoot-Out book comes via a July 2007 3D Realms website article called “Zap! Some History Resurrected”, available here:
  • The 2009 Gamasutra interview, “20 Years of Evolution: Scott Miller and 3D Realms”, is available at
  • Further background on Miller’s work history comes from the Polygon article “Apogee: Where Wolfenstein got its start”, available here:
  • The version of Chase I found that seemed closest to Miller's description was at — though I must emphasise that this may not be the one he played
  • The Compute! magazine mention of Kroz was a one-page profile of Scott Miller in issue 122, October 1990, page 74
  • Big Blue Disk #15 describes the CodeQuest '87 contest, while #19 lists winners to the CodeQuest '87 contest; I consulted both while writing this chapter
  • The Return to Kroz and Kingdom of Kroz II executables include marketing info, origin stories for the games, and ordering info; wherever I found inconsistencies in between the information in those and later articles, I erred towards the former (since Miller wrote them himself, and they’re nearer to the date of the original events)
  • David Gray quotes come from my email interview with him from October to December 2018
  • I also consulted the Hugo’s House of Horrors hint book in writing the David Gray section
  • Other interviews with David Gray that informed my work:
  • The Todd Replogle quote came from “Fame, riches just a game: Soquel grad hits big with Duke Nukem”, published in Santa Cruz Sentinel, Monday, Nov 11, 1996, page A-10
  • The official description of Pharaoh’s Tomb that I cited was in the game’s registration document, supplied by
  • Pharaoh’s Tomb review by Michael Lasky, Computer Gaming World issue 80, March 1991, page 63

Chapter 6

  • The 2009 Gamasutra interview, “20 Years of Evolution: Scott Miller and 3D Realms”, is available at
  • All present tense quotes from Scott Miller (and much of the background material on him) comes from our Skype interview and email correspondences between December 2018 and early 2021 as well as earlier email correspondence 2017
  • All present tense quotes from John Romero come from an interview conducted in October 2020
  • Most John Romero/id Software background material is drawn from the book Masters of Doom by David Kushner and from Romero’s personal website
  • I also looked at “An audience with John Romero” in Edge issue 45, May 1997, pages 18-23
  • All Apogee game release dates come from this timeline that Joe Siegler put together:
  • Additional Apogee timeline stuff comes from a second company history page that Siegler made:
  • The Your Computer review of Duke Nukem was published in June 1992, page 112
  • The PC Games review was in January 1993, page 71
  • I neglected to write down where I got the Shareware Top Ten charts info; I’ve saved I sourced, though, so it’s in my data somewhere. If I find it, I’ll update this.
  • The $22 million turnover figure comes from “Caring about sharing ware” in The Guardian, March 26, 1992, page 33; the $2.2 million correction comes from fact-checking the figure with Scott Miller
  • For background on the ASP, see the “History of Shareware” page at
  • Peter Steffen quotes and background come from an email interview conducted from October to November 2020, as well as materials he supplied to me
  • Moraff’s Revenge in Big Blue Disk:
  • Wendell Hicken/Scorched Earth history comes from readme and manual files included with the game across its various versions as well as:
  • The Computer Gaming World mention of Scorched Earth was called “Best of the Rest: Applying a little strategy”, published in issue 110, September 1993, pages 76-78

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

  • As before, anything id Software-related comes primarily from Masters of Doom and my interview with John Romero, with further details and fact-checking through consulting old newspaper articles, other interviews with the id founders, or David L. Craddock’s Rocket Jump: Quake and the Golden Age of First-Person Shooters. Whenever it’s a case of id and Apogee, I also cross-referenced against or directly drew from my and other interviews with Scott Miller.
  • “The Third Reich In The Third Dimension: Id Software Puts New Perspective On A Classic” in Computer Gaming World issue 98, September 1992, pages 50 and 52
  • “Best Arcade Game: Wolfenstein 3-D” in Compute issue 15, January 1993, page 78
  • “Apogee: The Height of Shareware” in Electronic Games vol 1 no 2, November 1992, pages 44-45
  • PC Review issue 28, Feb 1994, page 48
  • Joe Siegler quotes come from an interview conducted on 9 January 2019
  • Glenn Brengsinger quotes come from an interview conducted on 1 February 2019
  • I found several examples of the Apogee vs Epic rivalry online. One is in the post “Apogee reaction to Jazz codes” on, from August 1994
  • Ste Cork quotes come from an email interview conducted 16-23 November 2020
  • “Playing Catch-Up: Castle of the WInds’ Rick Saada” - Gamasutra -
  • Rick Saada comments on an old Usenet post -
  • “Rick’s Moving Castle” in Vacant Ritual Assembly #3, Summer 2015, pages 19-22
  • Epic’s 1991-92 sales revenue was divulged in a private memorandum sent to company insiders as part of the Q3 1992 Epic Insider mailout
  • Ken Silverman quotes come from an email interview conducted in January 2021
  • Additional background on Ken comes from a Computer Gaming World interview about the Build engine in issue 142, pages 103-6

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

  • My background knowledge on Descent comes primarily from an interview I conducted with Parallax founders Matt Toschlog and Mike Kulas in early 2020. I also consulted Scott Miller, John Romero, and Brian Fargo about the game’s history.
  • And there’s the article “Descent and Doom spur shareware boom” in Computer Retail Week March 20 1995, p19
  • Lindsay Whipp quotes come from an email interview conducted in January and February 2019
  • Despite numerous attempts, I was unable to get in touch with Copysoft founder Philippe Mercier or the US rep David Snell. I did, however, get in touch with the Skunny Kart composer Hannes Seifert, who told me in November 2020 that his brief was to make music for “a Mario Kart like game” called Wacky Kart (the working title used on the initial prototype), adding:
    • "I used to be quite popular in the Adlib scene of the early 90s. Composers and programmers across this scene used to share music and code via sending floppy disks per mail. I do believe someone who worked with them was a fan of my music and contacted me via an actual letter. I had never heard of them before.”
    • I didn’t end up using any of the interview in the book, but you can read it here (it’s just a few questions):
  • My Skunny sources:
    • Skunny Desert Raid review in PC Games issue 2, page 87
    • Skunny Hardnut review in PC Zone issue 11, February 1994, page 137
    • Skunny Kart review [German] in Aktueller Software Markt, February 1995, page 77
    • Skunny Kart review in PC Zone issue 22, January 1995, page 139
    • Skunny Back to the Forest, Desert Raid, Lost in Space, and Save Our Pizzas reviews in Transend Catalogue, November 1993, pages 87-88
  • My Wacky Wheels sources:
  • My Duke Nukem 3D sources, besides my interviews with Scott Miller and Ken Silverman:
    • Strife Streams Ken Silverman interview:
    • Strife Streams Todd Replogle interview 2003:
    • Strife Streams Todd Replogle interview 2001:
    • “Duking It Out” in Computer Gaming World issue 142, May 1996, page 150
    • “Prescreen: 3D Realms” in Edge issue 24, September 1995, pages 36-39
    • “At Home with Apogee” in PC Zone issue 29, August 1995, pages 24-25
    • “Build It, And They Will Come” in Computer Gaming World issue 142, May 1996, pages 103-106
    • “Get Nuked” in Computer Player, May 1996, pages 28-31
    • “Duke Nukem 3D” in Computer Shopper, September 1996, page 283
    • “The Making Of Duke Nukem 3D” in Retro Gamer issue 39, June 2007, pages 66-69
    • “The Sultans of Shareware” in Game Developer Magazine, February 1995, pages 59-61
    • “Fame, riches just a game” in Santa Cruz Sentinel Tue Nov 12, 1996, page 13
    • “A Taste of the Duke” in Austin American Statesman Thu May 30, 1996, pages 22 and 25 of the (computers?) section, or pages 92 and 95 overall
  • Quake sales rankings for 1996 were reported in Computer Games issue 120, November 2000, page 70
  • Chris Snyder quotes are all from an interview conducted 17 December 2020
  • All MVP/Dave Snyder sources were supplied by Chris Snyder, except for magazine reviews of various MVP-published games and a plain-text catalogue — listing MVP games and a graphics program, with full descriptions and press quotes — found online.
  • MVP’s lawsuits against dodgy rackware publishers made the news at one point — “Cracking down on copyying shareware” in The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania), Wednesday 24 March 1993, page C-6
  • David Bollinger quotes come from an email interview conducted in January 2021

Chapter 13

Chapter 14


Website design adapted from Chris McKenzie's excellent BOOTSTRAP/386.