Classic gamers may have cause to rejoice. A Los Angeles-based distribution company--Writers' Group Film Corp.--says it will acquire Amiga Games Inc. (AGI), which reportedly has the rights to distribute more than 300 classic games.
But what those games might be, who owns them, or what rights AGI has to the Amiga brand and trademark are unclear. We have reached out to Writers' Group to confirm the acquisition as an email address for AGI was inoperable at this writing.
Here's what we know: The Writers' Group Film Corp. said Monday that it had signed a binding definitive term sheet to acquire AGI for $500,000 in company stock and cash. The Writers' Group will use its purchase to distribute the more-than-300 games in AGI's catalog to smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
The company said it will have further distribution announcements in the coming weeks. AGI's catalog is reportedly based on existing licensing agreements with various intellectual property owners that have rights to classic games.
It's not clear, however, how many of AGI's licensed games are classic Amiga games or even if some of the top classic Amiga games such as Overdrive, Alien Breed, and Gods are part of the Writers' Group deal. You see, there's another company out there that is also distributing classic Amiga games to mobile platforms that goes by a name you may have heard of, Amiga, Inc.
What about Amiga, Inc.?
Amiga, Inc. claims the rights to the Amiga trademark and intellectual property, and it's not clear what relationship, if any, AGI has with Amiga, Inc. We have requested comment from Amiga, Inc., but have yet to hear back.
The original Amiga Corporation was acquired by Commodore International in 1984; Commodore declared bankruptcy ten years later. The brands and trademarks for both companies have changed hands multiple times since then.
Similar to AGI, Amiga, Inc. also is in the business of making friends with developers of classic games and relicensing them for newer platforms.
Amiga, Inc. currently distributes a number of classic games such as Alien Breed, Wings, and Overdrive for BlackBerry 10 and the BlackBerry PlayBook. The company has, so far, partnered with a number of rights holders of classic Amiga games such as Cinemaware, Bitmap Brothers, and games from defunct studios such as Gremlin Graphics and Psygnosis (acquired by Sony in 2001).
Amiga, Inc. also licenses the classic AmigaOS and Amiga Anywhere, a platform for emulating Amiga software--such as the BlackBerry Amiga games--on modern devices.
Why the confusion?
There's not much stopping multiple companies from approaching classic video-game houses and licensing their content for distribution on mobile platforms and PCs. And the Amiga name has been widely used by other businesses such as Amiga Forever from Cloanto.
So AGI may very well have the rights to some great classic Amiga games that Writers' Group can distribute. Popular games such as Cannon Fodder and Lemmings, for example, have yet to show up with Amiga Inc. on BlackBerry.
And some game makers are even distributing the games themselves. Alien Breed developer Team 17 Digital distributes the game on Android, even though Amiga, Inc. distributes Alien Breed on BlackBerry.
But Amiga fans may want to keep their eye on what Amiga, Inc. is doing since some of the bigger names from Amiga's past are already working with Amiga Inc.