BRender - History


The company produced its first game Skyline Attack for the Commodore 64. It later produced the 3D Starglider games for the Amiga and Atari ST platforms.

In 1993, Argonaut were working with Nintendo during the early years of the NES and SNES. They developed a prototype of the game Star Fox, initially codenamed "NesGlider" and inspired by their earlier Atari ST and Amiga game Starglider, that they had running on the NES and then some weeks later on a prototype of the SNES. Jez San told Nintendo that this was as good as it could get unless they were allowed to design custom hardware to make the SNES better at 3D. Nintendo said yes, and San hired chip designers and made the Super FX chip (originally codenamed by them the “MARIO chip”). So powerful was the Super FX chip that was used to create the graphics and gameplay that they joked that the Super Nintendo was just a box to hold the chip.

After building the Super FX, they went on to design a chip for Philips for a videogame machine that never came out (codenamed GreenPiece aka CD-I 2) and also designed one for Apple Inc. which was also for a videogame machine that never appeared (codenamed VeggieMagic) – and one for Hasbro – for a Virtual Reality game machine that similarly never appeared (codenamed MatriArc).

In 1996, Argonaut Software was split into Argonaut Technologies Limited (ATL) and Argonaut Software Limited (ASL). With space being a premium at the office on Colindale Avenue, ATL was relocated to an office in the top floor of a separate building; Capitol House on Capitol Way, just around the corner, where they continued the design of CPU and GPU products and maintained 'BRender', Argonaut's proprietary software 3D engine.

In 1997, the two arms of the company once again shared an office as the entire company was moved to a new building in Edgware.

In 1998, ATL was rebranded ARC after the name of their main product (aka Argonaut RISC Core) and became an embedded IP provider.

Argonaut Software Limited became Argonaut Games and was floated in 1999.

In late October 2004, Argonaut Games called in receivers David Rubin & Partners, made 100 employees redundant and was put up for sale. Lack of a constant stream of deals with publishers led to cashflow issues and a profit warning earlier in the year.

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