Ocean Software co-founder David Ward has died aged 75. His company was responsible for many hit games in the 80s home computer boom, particularly those based on movie licenses.
The British company originally launched as Spectrum Games, cashing in on the popularity of the ZX Spectrum. It later rebranded as Ocean Games to avoid confusion after it expanded to produce games for virtually every home computer of note in the era, including the Commodore 64, Atari ST, BBC Micro and Amiga.
Originally the company concentrated on what could euphemistically be called clones of popular titles. It later found a niche with games based on licensed properties, finding early success with Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. Based around the 1980 and 1984 gold medallist, it was not a million miles away from Track and Field, but became a fondly-remembered favorite for a generation that spent many hours finding creative ways to waggle a joystick more quickly.
Ocean went on to have hits with numerous TV and movie-based titles, most notably a Batman title and a hugely successful Robocop game. The company also had some technical innovations including a faster loader mechanism for games from audio cassette.
French publisher Infrogrames took over Ocean in 1996. Eight years later Ward and co-founder Jon Woods were inducted into the Hall of Fame of industry body the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association.