FASA

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FASA Corporation was an American publisher of role-playing games, wargames and board games between 1980 and 2001. Originally the name FASA was an acronym for "Freedonian Aeronautics and Space Administration", a joking allusion to the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup. This tongue-in-cheek attitude was carried over in humorous self-references in its games. For example, in Shadowrun, a tactical nuclear device was detonated near FASA's offices at 1026 W. Van Buren St in Chicago, Illinois.

FASA first appeared as a Traveller licensee, producing supplements for that GDW role-playing game, especially the work of the Keith Brothers. The company went on to establish itself as major gaming company with the publication of the first licensed Star Trek RPG, then several successful original games. Noteworthy lines included BattleTech and Shadowrun. Their Star Trek role-playing supplements and tactical ship game enjoyed popularity outside the wargaming community since, at the time, official descriptions of the Star Trek universe were not common, and the gaming supplements offered details fans craved. The highly successful BattleTech line led to a series of video games, some of the first virtual reality gaming suites, called Virtual World (created by a subdivision of the company known at the time of development as ESP, an acronym for "Extremely Secret Project") and a Saturday-morning animated TV series.

Contents

Notable games

History

FASA Corporation was founded by Jordan Weisman and L. Ross Babcock III in 1980 with a starting capital of $350. The two were fellow gamers at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Mort Weisman, Jordan's father, joined the company in 1985 to lead the company's operational management having sold his book publishing business, Swallow Press.[1] Under the new commercial direction and with the Mort's capital injection, the company diversified into books and miniature figures. After consulting their UK distributor, Chart Hobby Distributors, FASA licensed the manufacture of its BattleTech figurines to Miniature Figurines (also known as Minifigs). FASA would later acquire the US figures manufacturer Ral Partha, which was the US manufacturer of Minifigs. While Mort ran the paper and metal based sides of the business, the company's founders focused on the development of computer-based games. They were particularly interested in virtual reality (particularly the BattleTech Centers / Virtual World) but also developed desktop computer games. When Microsoft acquired the FASA Interactive subsidiary, Babcock went with that company. After the sale of Virtual World, Jordan turned his attention to the founding of a new games venture called WizKids.

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