Reply To: California Dreams origins.

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Thank you for an invitation. Im not big on public speaking, rather stay a lurker.

Article looking at Karen from modern perspective. Published by Pixel magazine, one of the last men standing of Polish paper gaming press. Even includes quotes from one of the original Street Rod programmers, Przemysław Rokita.

I dug deeper into PZ Karen. Its surprising how important and influential it was for Polish IT sector.

Apparently Atari/Karen moved over 160K units thru PEWEX. 8bit Atari scene is still very strong in Poland to this day.

Four members of Karen board of directors listed in this article went really far.

Bogdan Wiśniewski – Director General, then Chairman at Karen. In 1991 moved to Sales Director at Dell Poland. Director General at Apple Poland. Vice President at ComputerLand Poland. Back to Director General at Apple Poland. Briefly Chairman of the Board at Optimus SA!(1). Partner at MCI Capital. CEO at Yandex, yada yada.

Sławomir Dudziński – Vice Chairman at Karen. Board member Damovo Poland (former Ericsson). Alcatel Poland. Chairman of the Board at Polish National Lottery Association (Lotto, etc).

Tomasz Sielicki – Software Development Director at Karen. Founder and President of ComputerLand Poland, later Sygnity. IT consulting, software development and deployment.
Made “Stars of Europe 2005” BusinessWeek list. Nowadays various board seats.

Michał Jaworski. Marketing director at Dell Poland. From 1994 at Microsoft, today National Technology Officer.

1. Optimus SA was the biggest IT company in Poland in 1988-2004. In 2011 Optimus SA went thru share swap with CDP Investment, owners of CD Projekt/ CD Projekt Red/ GOG (Witcher series,, renamed itself to CD Projekt Red SA and divested non gamedev assets.

From Karens Street Rod thru Bogdan Wiśniewski to Optimus to Witcher, connected by association. Fascinating 😉

My first experience with Street Rod was around 1992-1993 in a computer club. A cellar full of 286 boxes linked over Novell NetWare. I think the idea was to teach us networks, but we ended up just playing Street Rod and F29 Retaliator over whole summer.
Btw neither Street Rod 1 nor 2 were officially distributed in Poland, probably none of Karen games ever were. As Pixel magazine article from the top of my post stated, rampant piracy and low wages made it totally infeasible. Officially 1994 was the first year Polish law regulated copyright, CD Projekt was created same year … by two pirate game salesmen 🙂

There was a somewhat modern spiritual successor to Street Rod series from Hungarian developer Invictus Games. 2002 Street Legal and 2003 Street Legal Racing: Redline. Online shopping replaced Los Angeles News classifieds, but you still had to wrench on your cars manually. There are drag events, street races and special races, plus whole city to free roam.
Heavily modified game (new real cars and parts added)
Hilariously bad, yet surprisingly advanced for its time destruction model