|[[Computer games]] and [[video games]]|
Acclaim Entertainment was an American video game developer and publisher. It developed, published, marketed and distributed interactive entertainment software for a variety of hardware platforms, including Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Gear, Nintendo's NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, Sony's PlayStation and PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox, and, to a lesser extent, personal computer systems and arcade games. It also released video games for the Sega Master System in Europe.
Since Acclaim Entertainment's 2004 demise, the Acclaim brand and logotype have been purchased by Acclaim Games and are now used by this unrelated company. Canadian video game publisher Throwback Entertainment acquired 150+ titles of Acclaim's video game library.
History[edit | edit source]
Founded in 1987 as a Delaware corporation, Acclaim maintained operations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan. In its first years, Acclaim was exclusively a video game publisher, either farming out the creation of its video games to external developers or localizing existing video games from overseas. But as it grew, it purchased some independent studios, including Iguana Entertainment of Austin, Texas, Probe Entertainment of London, England and Sculptured Software of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The name of the company was picked because it had to be alphabetically above the co-founder's former place of employment, Activision, and also had to be alphabetically above Accolade (another company formed by ex-Activision employees). This was a common formula for picking names of new companies that were founded by ex-Activision employees (the founders of Activision used this formula when they left Atari).
Many of Acclaim's products were licensed titles: games based on comics, television series (including wrestling shows and cartoons) and movies. They were also responsible for the ports of many of Midway's arcade games in the early-to-mid 1990s, including the Mortal Kombat series. They also published some games from other companies that at the time of publication didn't have an American branch, such as Technos Japan's Double Dragon II and Taito's Bust-A-Move series. Several games in the Acclaim catalog are frequently cited as among the worst of all time, a fact that has continued to earn it the derision of gamers and gaming media.
The waning of the arcade game industry, coupled with some poor sales and public enthusiasm from several key titles led to the eventual loss of many of their licenses. One result of this was their late refactoring of the Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX series. To add to that, their arcade game Batman Forever had poor sales also due to poor gameplay.
A less significant aspect of Acclaim's business was the development and publication of strategy guides relating to their software products and the issuance of "special edition" comic magazines, via Acclaim Comics, to support the more lucrative brand names.
During Acclaim's decline towards bankruptcy, Steve Perry, (former MD of Eddie Stobart Ltd & now IT guru - right hand man of Bill Gates) made several infamous business and marketing decisions. One example was a promise to UK gamers that a £500 prize would be awarded to up to five winners who would name their baby "Turok", to promote the release of Turok Evolution. Another was an attempt to buy advertising space on actual tombstones for a Shadowman game.
The company also had a history of shady dealings with its employees. Roughly two years after its acquisition of the Salt Lake City-based Sculptured Software, during which it offered Sculptured Software employees what looked like iron-clad contracts and stock that would be vested over the course of the contracts, it abruptly laid off about half the company, violating its own contract terms. The lay-off, however, came so abruptly that the employees had to choose between taking a reasonable severance package (whose terms altered several times during the initial weeks after the layoff) and not suing, or taking a number after a number of other creditors to sue and losing the severance package. (Personal communication from Paul G. Webb, a mid-level manager caught in the lay-off.) Roughly ten years later, one of numerous class action suits filed on behalf of stockholders was won, allowing some of these employees the chance at least to realize a return on some of the stock that had been vested. Named in this particular suit were founder and CEO Greg Fishbach, Edmond Sanctis, James Scoroposki and Gerard Agoglia.
Acclaim also suffered multiple lawsuits, a portion of them with former partners. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sued over unpaid royalties. In the last iteration of the BMX series, semi-nude, nude and porn content (e.g., full motion video of strippers and nude female riders) was added in hopes of boosting sales. However, like most of their other contemporary titles, BMX XXX sold poorly and was derided for its trashy content and poor gameplay. Dave Mirra himself publicly disowned the game, stating that he was not involved in the decision to include nudity, and he sued Acclaim for fear of being associated with BMX XXX. Another was from Acclaim's own investors, claiming that Acclaim management had published misleading financial reports.
In 2001, Probe Entertainment became Acclaim Cheltenham.
In May, 2002 Acclaim bought most of the assets of the Software Creations studio and established a new development company, known as Acclaim Studios Manchester.
In December 2002, Acclaim closed its Salt Lake City studio (formerly veteran developer Sculptured Software).
Acclaim suffered severe financial problems in 2004, the result of most of their video and computer game titles (like Showdown: Legends of Wrestling) selling very poorly. This resulted in the closure of Acclaim Studios Cheltenham and Acclaim Studios Manchester in England and other places and their filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving many employees unpaid. Amongst the titles under development at the UK studios were Emergency Mayhem, and Made Man.
On September 1, 2004, Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York, which would virtually annihilate their company in liquidating all possible assets to pay off their enormous debt which reportedly tops USD$100 million.
An attempt to reopen the Cheltenham and Manchester studios in October 2004 (under the new name Exclaim) failed due to legal wrangling over IP, with both the US and UK administrators claiming rights.
In August 2005, former Activision executive Howard Marks purchased the name "Acclaim" for a reported $100,000. In the beginning of 2006, Marks formed a new company called Acclaim Games. According to a job listing for the company, Acclaim Games is aimed at the US and UK preteen multiplayer markets.
In 2006 Throwback Entertainment, a video game company that had once considered acquiring Acclaim Entertainment, announced that it had purchased 50+ of Acclaim's games, and vows to bring such titles as Re-Volt, Extreme-G, Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, Vexx, Fur Fighters and many other franchises into the next generation and beyond.
Subsidiaries[edit | edit source]
Defunct Studios[edit | edit source]
- Acclaim Comics in New York, New York, founded in 1989 as Valiant Comics, acquired in June 1994.
- Acclaim Studios Austin, founded Sunnyvale, California as Iguana Entertainment on August 14, 1991, acquired 1995.
- Acclaim Studios London in Croydon, England, founded as Probe Software in 1984, acquired October 10, 1995.
- Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City, founded as Sculptured Software in 1984, acquired October 9, 1995.
Defunct Labels[edit | edit source]
- Arena Entertainment, founded as Mirrorsoft, acquired in 1992, discontinued in 1994.
- Acclaim Max Sports
- Acclaim Sports
- AKA Acclaim (Athletes Kick Ass)
- Club Acclaim
- Flying Edge in Glen Cove, NY, started in 1991, discontinued in 1994.
- LJN, founded in 1970, acquired in 1988, closed in 1994. Brand briefly revived in 2000.
Game titles[edit | edit source]
|AFL Live 2004||2003||PC, PS2, Xbox|
|AFL Live Premiership Edition||2004||PC, PS2, Xbox|
|Alias||2004||PC, PS2, Xbox, Mobile|
|All-Star Baseball||PS, PS2, N64, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|ATV Quad Power Racing 2||2003||PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, GBA|
|Armorines: Project Swarm||1999||PS, N64, GBC|
|Aggressive Inline||2002||PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, GBA|
|Batman & Robin||1998||PlayStation|
|Super NES, Sega Master System, Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy, PC|
|BMX XXX||2002||Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2|
|Bubble Bobble/Rainbow Islands||1995||Sega Saturn, PlayStation|
|Burnout||2001 (PlayStation 2)
2002 (Nintendo GameCube/Xbox)
|PlayStation 2/Nintendo GameCube/Xbox|
|Burnout 2: Point Of Impact||2002 (PlayStation 2)
2003 (Nintendo GameCube/Xbox)
|PlayStation 2/Nintendo GameCube/Xbox|
|Bust a Move 2||1997||Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64|
|Crazy Taxi||2001||PlayStation 2/Nintendo GameCube|
|D||1998||3DO, Sega Saturn, PS, PC|
|Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX||2000||PlayStation, Dreamcast, Windows PC, Game Boy Color|
|Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2||2001||PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance|
|Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3||2002||Game Boy Advance|
|ECW Anarchy Rulz||1999||PS, Dreamcast|
|ECW Hardcore Revolution||1998||PS, N64, Dreamcast, GBC|
|18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker||2001 (PlayStation 2)
2002 (Nintendo GameCube)
|PlayStation 2/Nintendo GameCube|
|Extreme-G 2||1998||N64, PC|
|XG3: Extreme G Racing||2001||PS2, Nintendo GameCube|
|XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association||2004||PS2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox|
|Forsaken||1998 ( )
|Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64|
(a.k.a. Fur Fighters in Viggo's Revenge)
|2000 (Dreamcast, Windows)
2001 (PlayStation 2)
|Dreamcast, Windows, PlayStation 2|
|Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance||2003||PS2, Xbox, PC|
|Iggy's Reckin' Balls||1998||N64|
|Juiced||2004||PC, PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Legends of Wrestling||2001 (PS2)
2002 (Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)
|PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Legends of Wrestling II||2002||PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Mortal Kombat||1991||GameBoy, Game Gear, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X, SNES, PC|
|Mortal Kombat II||1992||GameBoy, Game Gear, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega 32X, SNES, PC|
|NBA Jam||1993||Sega Genesis, SNES|
|NBA Jam Extreme||PS|
|NFL Quarterback Club||1994||PS, N64, GameBoy, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, SNES|
|Paris-Dakar Rally||2001||PC, PlayStation 2|
|Paris-Dakar 2: The World's Ultimate Rally||2003||PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Re-volt||1999||PS, N64, Dreamcast, PC|
|Revolution X||1995||Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PlayStation|
|World Championship Rugby||2004||PC, PS2, Xbox|
|Shadowman||1999||N64, PS, PC, Dreamcast|
|Shadowman: 2econd Coming||2001||PS2|
|Showdown: Legends of Wrestling||2003||PS2, Xbox|
|South Park||1999||PS, N64, PC|
|South Park Rally||2000||PS, N64, PC, Dreamcast|
|South Park: Chef's Luv Shack||1999||PS, N64, PC, Dreamcast|
|Space Jam||1996||PS, Sega Saturn, PC|
|Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six||1992, 1993||NES, Master System, Game Gear|
|Spider-Man and the X-Men: Arcade's Revenge||SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy|
|Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage||SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis|
|Spider-Man: The Animated Series||1993||SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis|
|Summer Heat Beach Volleyball||2001||PS2|
|The Simpsons: Bart & the Beanstalk||1994||GB|
|The Simpsons: Bart Meets Radioactive Man||1992||NES, Game Gear|
|The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants||1991–1992||NES, Master System, Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear|
|The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World||1991||NES, Master System, Game Gear|
|Bart vs. The Juggernauts||1992||GB|
|The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare||
|SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis|
|The Simpsons: Virtual Bart||1994||SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis|
|Turok: Dinosaur Hunter||1997||N64, PC, GameBoy|
|Turok 2: Seeds of Evil||1998||N64, GBC, PC|
|Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion||2000||N64, GBC|
|Turok: Rage Wars||1999||N64, GBC|
|Turok: Evolution||2002||PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PC|
|Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety||1995||SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC|
|WWF In Your House||1996||PlayStation, Sega Saturn|
|WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game||1995||Arcade, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PlayStation|
|WWF War Zone||1998||PS, N64, Sega Saturn (Cancelled)|
|WWF Attitude||1999||PS, N64, Dreamcast|
|Vexx||2003||PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube|
|Virtua Tennis 2||2002||PS2|
|X-Men: Children of the Atom||1997||Sega Saturn, PC, PlayStation|