Gaming scene on territory of Slovakia after 1989

The revolution in 1989 has changed the Czechoslovak social and political happening in every branch not excluding the gaming scene. The opening of the boundaries, availability of goods and liberty in creation and undertaking caused an imitation of West market; that what has been secured under socialism almost exclusively by individual activity of hobbyists interlinked into associations is substituted by studios and by legally being published and distributed magazines.

At the beginning of the nineties the games of separate authors are still published. The Czechoslovak scene is steadily hugely fruitful and formed especially by young people who learned to programme alone and for which the games have been a natural part of the work with computer. For instance Milan Blažíček and his Notorik (Dipsomaniac) and Octopussy, Radoslav Maruša with Phantom F4, Rudolf Priečinský with games Tripe or Arkarum, or Slavomír Lábsky, who generated particularly the demos and system mathematical and printer programmes but he has for example also a game Traf ma! (Hit me!) or a program Genius 18 in his conscience who is today considered for a primitive chatbot.

Next thing from the other ones, which is worth Lábsky´s salt but also worth further other programmer´s salt, has been a programme for protection of cassettes against copying for Bratislava gaming publishing house UltraSoft. Till then a strong awareness of copyright did not exist and the blanket ban on undertaking did not permit an existence of private businesses, however, it was changed already shortly after the revolution. Existence of market mechanics where the games may be duly distributed did cause opening of the theme of authorship, intellectual property and claim for royalties; therefrom a need of protective mechanics is resulting; as the Labsky´s programme has been. Such awareness comes, however, gradually resp. it lasts more long while it is put into the practice; the authors defend themselves when someone duplicates their creation and he is enriching with it but the titles with figures from foreign action movies are still published and also magazines with articles criticizing the piracy are a quite frequent phenomenon whereas their advertising comprises advertisements for copied software.

Rise of the first gaming studios related closely with a change of access to the games; the games became a commodity in the capitalistic sense and the authors could sell them to distributors or straight ahead to establish own studio; although in this period we speak on small companies with several members. Despite the fact that the market was relatively quickly released, the people have been gaining the games often rather like publishers alone and they disseminated their demo versions or also the very whole games. Activity of these „spreaders” has not been legal in that time and just  Richard Pintér – according to his own words – has been one the first person condemned for gaming piracy; in that time one of the most distinctive persons of the Slovak gaming happening (although he has been alternatively exempt by president´s amnesties). Pintér began seriously to devote himself after this legal dispute to the games he established a company Riki focused on legal distribution of games –  also a magazine of the same name in 1994 and one year later also Riki Computer Games, a  publishing house which has roofed  publishing the Czech games (Ramon´s magic, Dragoon´s history, 7 days and 7 nights),  the first commercial debut of Slovak developers of Rune Software, adventure Anatema: Legend about curse and later further developer´s company Mayhem Studios arose from it. In neighbouring Bohemia player, programmer, distributor and publisher Petr Vochozka with developer´s companies Vochozka Trading and later Illusion Softworks (today 2K Czech, Slovak branch was Silver Wish Games) had a similar task like Pintér.

Journal Riki have been not the only Slovak journal dealing exclusively with the games. Until the nals with gaming themes begin to be published in Czechoslovakia, the Polish Bajtek (1985 – 1996) was popular. In Bohemia they start a bit later; already from 1989 the Computer Games are published, the next ones are predominantly focused on a concrete operating system; in 1991Commodore Amater, Amiga Magazín, Bit and journal Počítač Aktívne (Computer Actively) come, which has contained also a gaming column, later Joustic (1993) and Hráč (Player) (1996). Except for this also magazines Score or Fifo have been popular with us.

Despite this that in this time the popularity of personal computers ascended rapidly, the hardware has been cheaper and the software more available the Slovak gaming scene has been relatively small and interconnected and it owes its development to predominantly individual enthusiasts as were also Pinter or further pioneers of gaming industry.

For example one of the first associations, the DSA Computer Graphix with games for ZX Spectrum has been in reality formed basically only by brothers Balaras; Dušan Balara took care of graphics and animations and Ladislav Balara devoted himself to the programme aspect. The DSA Computer Graphix cooperated with mentioned Maruš on his first game Prvá Akcia!(First Action!) from 1992,  which is also an example of free taking-over of foreign contents; its main hero, cop intervening at banking raid shall intentionally remind Arnold Schwarzenegger (with regard to the then graphics only on the introduction caption). Except for this they have six games under their belt; it is possible to mention titles like Sherwood (referring to the topic of Robin Hood) or games connecting the action and adventure with logics Towdie (1994) and Kliatba Noci (Curse of Night) (1993).

The Bratislava Cauldron established by a team in composition of David Ďurčák, Marián Ferko, Maroš Stano and Peter Rjapoš belongs among further significant gaming companies. Already their first game, logical Quadrax (1996), has been very well accepted, and in the year of its publishing has been the bestselling one in Slovakia also un Bohemia. In 2014 the Cauldron has been absorbed by Czech Bohemia Interactive and the studio received a new identity Bohemia Interactive Slovakia, however, meanwhile they managed in time to develop eighteen further games for various platforms. A bit later in 1997 Cypronia/Cypron Studio comes into existece in Michalovce which publishes the remakes of its old games for new computer systems in last years.