I started my first company, Excelsior Software, mid-way through High School. The flagship product was Sim-CGA (written by Chuck Guzis). I discovered it as “shareware” on a BBS site and proposed Chuck and I take it commercial. I started Excelsior to package and market Sim-CGA while Chuck focused on enhacning and improving the software.

At the time, most PCs were sold with monochrome monitors. Yet most software required a color monitor to run. This was not like TV, where you could watch a color broadcast in B&W; if you did not have a CGA card in your computer and a color monitor, you were unable to run many of the apps and games of the time. Sim-CGA was a “TSR” (Terminate and Stay Resident program) that worked by emulating a CGA card using a Hercules Graphics monochome card. The 4 colors of a CGA monitor were mapped to monochrome shades/patterns. Most PCs sold with monochrome monitors had a Hercules-compatible card. Sim-CGA is mentioned (sic – SIMCGA) at the bottom of the Wikipedia page on Hercules cards.

Sim-CGA was a huge success ($39.95 retail price); it was one of the top-selling PC utility programs for several years because computer resellers found they were able to sell much more software by bundling Sim-CGA with new computer purchases.

Because of Excelsior and Sim-CGA, I learned a lot at an early age. I designed packaging, did marketing and sales presentations (much to the surprise of some of the distributors I visited), and managed the finances and shipping. My Dad was a huge help making copies and shipping bulk-orders to distributors across the country for resale .

No company can survive on a single product forever (I am looking at you, Riot Games ;)) so I did work to expand Excelsior’s product line. Chuck went on to wrote Sim-EMS, the first Expanded Memory simulator for the x86 market (retail $24.95) and I re-sold software from other authors, including “Point & Shoot” (a hard drive menu system) and “Winning Number Lottery” (for those people who don’t believe in statistics ;))

Sim-CGA was featured in several magazines of the time. I am most proud of being noticed by John Dvorak: “There are some software solutions such as Sim-CGA..it’s very popular”

“Sim-CGA can potentially run anything” – COMPUTE magazine
“Said company president Michael Oginz, ‘Sim-CGA is now 95-percent compatible with CGA and supports self-booting programs. It comes with an auto-patcher, and we provide free patches for any remaining compatibility problems.'”