Opera Soft, one of the main Spanish production companies, whose headquarters were in Madrid, dedicated to the world of video games.
It was born in 1984, and the five founding partners of Opera were Pedro L. Ruiz, Francisco J. Suárez, José A. Morales, Carlos A. Díaz and José R. Fernández, who decided to leave their position in the department of Indescomp, to establish itself as an independent company. They thought that they could get more out of their products, they were more creative, they had interests in getting the product out within a certain period, but not only out of commercial interest, but also professional.
Address of this company:
- C/ Gustavo Fdez. Balbuena, 25 (28002 Madrid)
Founders of the company:
- Pedro L. Ruíz (Director)
- Francisco J. Suárez (Investigation and development)
- José A. Morales (Head of the game development team)
- Carlos Alberto Díaz (Head of the team of graphic artists)
- José Ramón Fernández (Administrative and commercial management)
The first six months were the acid test that would determine the future of the company; they move to a flat in the Opera Square, from which they take their name. With a development team and several terminals provided by Philips, they start working on some games and a package of development programs commissioned by Philips itself. They locked themselves in for six months, forgot there was a world outside and began to write, releasing “Livingstone”, “Cosa Nostra”, “Last Mission” and the program “Ease” for Philips, a graphical environment with four programs.
From the beginning they defined their line of work as a common work where all ideas had a place; they discussed and carried them out with a distribution of work. As a company, Opera was a self-sufficient entity in terms of the coverage of its functions, from the administrative aspect to distribution and research; However, it was difficult to delimit the work of each of its members and when one breathed in the environment that something new had to be done, everyone came, those who were unemployed and those who were not.
From this kind of spontaneous meeting, and once the basic idea of the new program had been defined, the graphic designer developed a sketch and later a map on which the programmers would work. They made an original version without sticking to any specific computer model, adaptable to any machine. During the scheduling process, work was monitored, the different steps were supervised and new ideas were contributed. Each programmer was in charge of a program, but everyone was involved in developing the product.
Opera was a young company, the average age of its members was close to 27 years; However, it was among the leading Spanish producers, reaching a turnover of 100 million pesetas (€ 601,012.104), of which 50% was due to the export of its products. His production forked into two different lines: video games and management programs.
Among the video games created by the company, which distributed MCM, there were some as well known as “Livingstone I guess”, “Cosa Nostra”, “The abbey of crime”, “Goody”, “Mutan Zone”, “Black Sun”, and “ Gonzzalezz ”. The forecasts regarding the sale of their articles were not always fulfilled as they expected; on one of the occasions they took out two games almost at the same time, in one of them they put a lot of faith and in the other not too much, but the first did not have great success and the second was on the charts. They realized that people who played did not like complications, and that simplicity was an important asset. Now they had to maintain the balance between technical quality and commercial aspect.
Another aspect of production was occupied by management programs, among which they made “Ease” for Philips in a PC version for Spain and MSX for Europe, and an accounting program for Banco Exterior. The delimitation between both lines tends to become more and more accentuated and with this objective a department exclusively for games was created. Their expansion was export-oriented, so they attended the software fair organized in the United Kingdom to present their work and, incidentally, draw some conclusions regarding the foreign market and the products that were being sold abroad. They believed that in Spain they could no longer aspire to much more, so they thought to go out and publicize their programs abroad. They noticed how many older people were playing video games; It did not happen like in Spain, that most of the game consumers were children, in fact there were games created exclusively for adults, for computers like Atari, Amiga and some things for PC. That gave them the idea of where the shots would go in the market.
In Spain, the situation of Opera seemed to be clear for its components, all agreed that technically they had proven to be the most advanced company, although commercially they still had little experience. In this sense, relations with other companies were based on help and exchange of ideas within a limit, of course; They gave them commercial ideas and they helped them, if they could with technical aspects of the programs, there was no leonine competition and they had never had problems with plagiarism or anything like that. Ernesto Fernández (commercial director), pointed out that another of the characteristics that distinguished Opera was the thematic originality of its games; none resembled the previous one and it was an advantage for the user, because it did not classify them in a specific type of game. Within the projects, in addition to the aforementioned intention of expanding commercial borders to other countries, in the scope of the products themselves they would create expanded versions of the new games. A pack of four of his best games (Las Mission, Cosa Nostra, Livingston I suppose and Goody) was about to come out when the launch of his latest creation “Gonzzalezz” was still hot, a game in which the user becomes a Mexican forcibly insomniac with only one goal: sleep. Maybe the idea came from his own need to take a break. It was a company with great talents that disappeared at the right time.
For Amstrad PCW launched several games that took over the Spanish market, among which we highlight