I came across an eBay auction that had a photo of a disk in it. I tweeted the photo with a caption matching this post title.
An early story of Apple II software marketing, as told by a disk label. pic.twitter.com/OCEbY5mspe
— Yesterbits (@yesterbits) March 13, 2017
But I thought it about a bit more and it actually feels like it’s worth expanding on this. There is a lot of information hiding in (or alluded to by) that photo.
Softalk v1n5 did a company overview of California Pacific Computers, in which it was mentioned that CPC had non-exclusive distribution rights to Sirius Software titles. In that same issue, Sirius had a direct sales ad for some of its products, including Both Barrels, Star Cruiser, Cyber Strike, and EZ-Draw. All of those titles were products of Nasir Gebelli, and there’s an interesting overview of Nasir’s history at The Golden Age Arcade Historian site. It includes a image of the Star Cruiser insert that reads “Synergistic Software presents.” So, Star Cruiser got around. I believe it was always a Sirius title, but it was definitely sold by California Pacific (with their own label on it, see above), and I guess also by Synergistic Software.
Both Barrels, at least, was also sold by Synergistic Software because I have one of the Synergistic versions of the disk:
It’s kind of interesting to see the CPC label simply stuck atop the Sirius label in the image I tweeted. I believe I’ve seen other ones that had the CPC label stuck over a more generic label, so this one in the photo is probably one of the early ones that Siruis would have sent to CPC for the initial distribution order, before CPC would have started duplicating their own? I guess. Certainly not something that was documented anywhere as far as I know, but that must be how it went, mustn’t it?
See? A whole story of early Apple II software marketing, as told by a disk label.