Hercules Graphics Card

Noting the 720×350 resolution of the MDA display, a company called Hercules Computer Technology (founded by Van Suwannukul), in 1982, developed an MDA-compatible video card that could display MDA text as well as graphics by having routines to individually address each pixel in the display. Because the screen height had to be a multiple of four, the full resolution of the Hercules Graphics Card was 720×348.

The Hercules card addressed two graphic pages, one at B0000h and the other at B8000h. When the second page was disabled there was no conflict with other adapters and the Hercules card could run in a dual-monitor mode with CGA or other graphics cards on the same computer. Hercules even made a CGA-compatible card called the Hercules Color Card and later the Hercules Graphics Card Plus (June 1986) followed by the Hercules InColor Card (April 1987) which had capabilities similar to EGA cards.

The graphics caught on and not only did Hercules cards multiply rapidly but clones of them started to appear; the ultimate homage to success. Most major software included a Hercules driver.

However, despite its attempts to keep up, Hercules started to fail as a company and was acquired by ELSA in August 1998 for $8.5 million. ELSA then declared bankrupcy in 1999 and the Hercules brand was bought by Guillemot Corporation, a French-based company, for $1.5 million. In 2004 Guillemot stopped producing graphic cards but Hercules, the name, lives on in some of their software and other products.

But, color was still the ultimate goal and Hercules was pushed out by other IBM specifications…