For almost as long as there’s been a Mac, Pangea Software has been making games and other software for Apple devices. Today Brian Greenstone, Pangea’s founder, announced in an email that he’s retiring from game development and plans to sell the business. It’s the end of an era, especially for old-school Mac gamers like me.
Pangea got started in 1987, originally as an Apple II developer, but Greenstone found his most solid footing as the developer of Mac games. From the mid 90s to the mid-oughts, every consumer Mac shipped from Apple came with a Pangea game. The company successfully transitioned to iOS after Apple released programming tools for developers. All told, Pangea shipped more than a dozen games for the Mac and close to a dozen and a half for iOS, along with some utility software too.
Greenstone is in no hurry to sell Pangea and says he’ll only do it if he can find a buyer who promises to carry on the company’s legacy. “Pangea still has a decent revenue stream, and lots of IP assets, not to mention a contact network that many developers would cut off their right leg to get,” said Greenstone. So the games won’t disappear tomorrow, nor will they stop working – he plans to continue to support and update his existing library, he just won’t do any new development.
My first experience with Pangea was with a Centipede clone called Firefall, circa 1993. I loved classic arcade games and I loved gaming on the Mac, so Firefall was like catnip for me.
Pangea followed with a string of hits like Power Pete, published by MacPlay and later resurrected as Mighty Mike. More hits followed: the flying game Nanosaur, the racing game Cro-Mag Rally, a hilarious send-up of 50s B-movie Sci Fi called Otto Matic, the colorful, fun action game Bugdom, and the challenging physics puzzler Enigmo, along with a string of sequels. Most of these ultimately found their way to iOS, which helped a new generation of gamers become familiar with Greenstone’s work.
Greenstone, for his part, has found new professional and personal satisfaction in something about as far away from software development as you can imagine: Mineral and fossil sales. I wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor. I only hope he can find a new owner for Pangea who can carry the legacy forward for a new generation of Mac and iOS gamers.