David Ward, one of the founders of Ocean Software, has died

David Ward, one of the founders of Ocean Software, has died

David Ward

Sad day today for the world of video games: Ben Ward announced the death of his father David Ward, born in 1947, one of the founders of Ocean Software, the historic English label that marked the European video game industry in the 80s.

Ben Ward: "I have to make the sad announcement of the death of my father, David Ward. Born in 1947, he was a pioneer of computer games and a father of six. We had a complicated relationship and loved each other. you will miss it, Pop. "

Ocean Software was founded in 1983 by Jon Woods and, indeed, David Ward. At the time it managed to grow to become the largest video game publisher in Europe, with dozens of titles published, including some big hits such as Batman - The Movie, Daley Thompson's Decathlon, Head over Heels, Platoon, Rambo - First Blood Part II, RoboCop, Wizball and many more.

Located in Manchester, Ocean Software was one of the realities that helped bring the European videogame scene out of its hobby dimension, so much so that in 2004 Ward and Woods were included inducted into the ELSPA Hall of Fame for their contributions.

In 1996 Ocean Software merged with Infogrames for £ 100 million, remaining independent until 1998, when it was renamed Infogrames United Kindom Limited.

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Ocean Software co-founder and games industry pioneer David Ward has died aged 75

David Ward, who co-founded British developer Ocean Software and was regarded as a pioneer of the games industry, has died.

Ward’s passing was announced by his son Benjamin Ward on Twitter earlier today (May 9), he wrote: “Sad to report that my father David Ward has died.”

He continued: “Born in 1947, he was a computer games pioneer and father of six. We had a complicated relationship and we loved each other. Will miss you Pop.”

Ward founded Ocean Software with Jon Woods in 1983, which grew to be one of the largest European game developers of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The studio was known for developing licensed games and arcade conversions.

In 2004 Ward and Woods were honoured by the UK video games industry (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz) with the ELSPA (The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) Hall of Fame award, which celebrates those who helped the UK games industry in the global market.

ELSPA director general Roger Bennett said at the time: “Many people consider Ocean Software to be pioneers who helped to transform the UK computer and video games into a real multinational business.”

“Together Ward and Woods coined much of the terminology of the games industry and instigated many of its milestones, including the use of brands and franchises from traditional media and the formal processes of protecting intellectual property.”

According to the Science and Industry Museum, Ocean Software’s first hit was a game based around decathlete Daley Thompson. Ward and Woods took a risk on Thompson and developed a game based on his athleticism before he won the decathlon gold medal and broke the event’s world record at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Ocean then bought Imagine Software and managed to do deals with Konami in Japan, who gave them the rights to publish the company’s arcade games for computers.

A YouTube documentary on the history of Ocean Software can be watched here, while a book on the company’s history can also be found here.

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