Bill Stealey and Sid Meier founded the game developer and publisher Microprose in 1982 – after meeting at their previous employer General Instrument. At Microprose, Stealey acted as the CEO and Meier worked as a designer and programmer. The company went from strength to strength, growing every year, and in 1991 it became publicly traded.
Microprose was first known for its simulators and strategy titles, which often had a military theme. Silent Service, F-15 Strike Eagle and Gunship are familiar names for most 1980s gamers. What these classic games have in common is Sid Meier.
Meier's part in the success of Microprose is impossible to exaggerate. The developer became synonymous with the company's strongest output, which is why Microprose started to use his name and face as a selling point. The first game to take full advantage of Meier's status was the legendary Sid Meier's Pirates!
Pirates! was a groundbreaking game in more ways than one. The pirate simulator was something from the leftfield, and a really interesting mix of genres. For Meier, it was a break from earlier military themes and flight simulators. Pirates! also showed that there is interest in different themes and experimental, open-ended gameplay.
Pirates! was soon followed by Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon (1990) and probably the developer's most famous strategy title Civilization (1991).