Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Macrocom: Revolutionaries of Form and Function

ICON: Successes and failures

MobyGames: You mentioned previously that only 1000 copies of ICON were produced. Was this because of poor sales or marketing, or because the market for PC games was so small at the time?

Neal White III: The PC game market was tiny. We hoped to make a second run, but that never happened.

Rand E. Bohrer: Yeah, no publishers would pick us up because we weren't Apple II. But I wasn't the greatest marketer either. Actually I think the box run was 2000, and since I had about three hundred boxes sitting in garage for years we must have sold about 1600.

MobyGames: One of the strings found in the executable suggests that you implemented some rudimentary form of copy-protection. What method of copy-protection did you use?

Neal White III: ProLock. Unfortunately for today's fans, I worked very hard at detecting hacked copies of the game and saved-game files.

MobyGames: Was ICON a financial success?

Neal White III: No, but it provided enough income to finance the development of 7 Spirits. :-)

Rand E. Bohrer: But the game was a tremendous success in JAPAN, just not a financial success. Some engineer over there broke our copy protecion. Because the game used special modes, it became popular as a "test" to see if their clone graphics boards were truly compatble. So engineers were our "marketing force" in Japan. Apparently they gave copies out all over the place. Imagine our surprise when we went to Comdex and saw about 2/3 the of the Japanese and Taiwanese graphic board manufacturers using ICON as a demo to show how "superior" the color and animation capabilities of their boards were. We asked some floor rep, a Matsushita engineer I think, if he knew anything about the program, "Ohh, Icon Quest, most popular PC game in Japan, everyone copy it!" Then when he found out we made it, he ran around to other booths, bringing all these Japanese engineers and salesmen to meet us. So that was our 15 minutes of fame.

Continued: Seven Spirits of Ra

Table of Contents: Macrocom: Revolutionaries of Form and Function