From Sega Retro
|Place of birth: London, England, United Kingdom|
|Date of birth: 1965-06|
|Date of death: 2016-02-27 (age 50)|
|Company(ies): Probe Software, Jakks Pacific, HotGen|
|Role(s): Executive, Producer, Designer, Tester|
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Fergus McGovern was a British video game executive and founder of Probe Software and HotGen, most known for his various contributions to both the British and American game software industries, and for his titular inclusion as a fatality in Mortal Kombat II - the Fergality.
Fergus McGovern was first introduced to the world of home computers at the age of 16, when he was working at British computer distribution company P&P Micros. As the country's home computer market had just begun to take off, the distributor experienced a significant level of success, and McGovern was there to share in that success; he was awarded with both a premium £5,000 IBM PC and an Apple II for his own personal use, something that would truly kickstart his interest in home computers.
Seeing the rising popularity of computer video games, McGovern considered the idea of creating a game publishing label. After discussing the thought with his friend and business partner Vakis Paraskeva, the two eventually founded the Croydon, England-based publisher and distributor Probe Software.
Initially founded as a distributor and publisher, Probe Software began its existence by contracting out the development of computer games (primarily ports of popular arcade games) to smaller development studios. Their first game, the Commodore 16 budget title Alcatraz, did not perform as well in the marketplace as the company had expected, leading McGovern to re-evaluate the company's direction. Soon, Probe switched to developing for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum, when they notably acquired an official license to port many of Sega's flagship franchises to contemporary home computers.
Fergus McGovern was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1995 Golden Joystick Awards, and later was also awarded the honorary Freedom of the City of London. McGovern additionally served as associate director of the Crystal Palace Football Club, and was an active fundraiser and philanthropist.
On February 26th, 2016, McGovern returned from a transatlantic flight with a cerebral blood clot, and passed away the following day.
Originally created by an artist named Dokk sometime in the early 1990s, the Fergus Head made a number of cameo appearances in games developed by Probe Software, most notably as the Fergality fatality from Mortal Kombat II (in which the losing fighter is transformed into the digitized face of McGovern himself.)
List of game appearances
- Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1994)
- Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1994)
- Fergus McGovern: From games whizzkid to multimillionaire article by Bobby Johnson at The Guardian
- Fergus McGovern, co-founder of Probe Software, has passed away obituary by Stuart Williams at Retro Computing News
- Probe, Hotgen co-founder Fergus McGovern dies aged 50 obituary by Matthew Jarvis at MCV/Develop
- Goodbye, Fergus McGovern obituary by Paul Morrison at They Were Our Gods
- Fergus McGovern obituary by David Perry at David Perry's Blog