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Acclaim Entertainment (stylized as A<<laim) was an American video game developer and publisher. It developed, published, marketed and distributed interactive entertainment software for a variety of hardware platforms, including Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, PlayStation and PlayStation 2, Xbox, personal computer systems and arcade games for the Master System in Europe.

After Acclaim Entertainment's 2004 demise, the Acclaim brand and logotype were purchased by the unrelated company Acclaim Games (defunct from August 27, 2010). Canadian video game publisher Throwback Entertainment acquired more then 150 titles from Acclaim's video game library. In July 2010, WeGo Interactive, based in Seoul, South Korea, purchased all IP related with Re-Volt, RC Revenge Pro, RC De GO from Throwback Entertainment.

Acclaim Entertainment was the company that published the Spider-Man video game for Sega Genesis.

History

Founded in 1987 as a Delaware corporation, Acclaim maintained operation in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan. In it's initial years, Acclaim was exclusively a video game publisher, either farming out the creation of it's 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-founders'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 and movies. They were also responsible for the ports of many of Midway's arcade games in the early to mid-1990's, including the Mortal Kombat series. They also published some games from other companies that at the time of production didn't have an American branch, such as Technos Japan's Double Dragon II: The Revenge and Taito's Bust-a-Move series.

In the 1990's, Sunsoft joined forces with Acclaim Entertainment to handle ad sales rights to Sunsoft's video games for game consoles.

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 Freestlye BMX series.

In June 1994, the company switched from video gaming to a media conglomerate.

In 1995, the company acquired Sculptured Software, Iguana Entertainment and Probe Entertainment and the companies switched to the first-party development studio, known as Acclaim Studios from 1999 to 2004. The company also had a motion capture studio built into their headquarters, making them the first video game company to have an in-house motion capture studio.

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. Lastly, they created the ASF/AMC motion capture format which is still in use in the industry today.

Acclaim enjoyed a long relationship with the World Wrestling Federation dating back to 1988's WWF WrestleMania. However, after failing to match the success of World Championship Wrestling's THQ/AKI games amidst the Monday Night Wars, the WWF unexpectedly defected to THQ in 1999. Acclaim then picked up the license to Extreme Championship Wrestling and released tow games for the company. ECW declared bankruptcy in 2001 while still owning Acclaim money. The game publisher would release three wrestling titles under the Legends of Wrestling banner in the throes of it's final years.

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 it's Salt Lake City studio (formerly veteran developer Sculptured Software).

Acclaim suffered multiple lawsuits, a portion of them with former parents. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sued over unpaid royalties.

Acclaim suffered financial problems in 2004, the result of poor sales of their video game titles. 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, Kung Faux and Made Man.

On September 1, 2004, Acclaim files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, which would virtually annihilate their company in liquidating all possible assets to pay off their 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 was aimed at the US and UK preteen multiplayer markets. However, the second iteration of Acclaim did not go well due to connectivity and payment issues for their online games, along with a lack of action against dishonest players, earning that iteration of the company as "F" grade from the Los Angeles/Southern California Better Business Bureau.

In 2006, Throwback Entertainment, a video game company that had once considered acquiring Acclaim Entertainment, announced that it had purchased more than 50 of Acclaim's games, and vowed 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.

In July 2010, WeGo Interactive Co.,Ltd, based in Seoul, South Korea, acquired all IP related with Re-Volt, RC Revenge Pro, RC De Go from Throwback Entertainment.

Controversies

During Acclaim's decline towards bankruptcy, an executive Steve Perry, made several controversial business and marketing decisions. One example was a promise that a US $10,000 prize would be awarded to UK parents 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 Shadow Man: 2econd Coming.

In the last iteration of the BMX series, BMX XXX, semi-nude, nude and pornographic content (e.g. full motion video of strippers and nude female riders) was added in hopes of boosting sales. However, like most of Acclaim's video games during it's final years, BMX XXX sold poorly and was derided for it's content and poor game play. 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 managment had published misleading financial reports.

Subsidiaries

Studios

  • 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 April 14, 1991, acquired 1995.
  • Acclaim Studios Cheltenham in Croydon, England, founded as Probe Software in 1984, acuired October 10, 1995.
  • Acclaim Studios Manchester in Manchester, England, founded as Software Creations (UK) in 1987, acquired May, 2002.
  • Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City, founded as Sculptured Software in 1984, acquired October 9, 1995.
  • Acclaim Studios Teesside, founded Teesside, England as Optimus Software in 1988, acquired by Iguana Entertainment in 1993, subsequently acquired by Acclaim in 1995.

Labels

  • Arena Entertainment, founded as Mirrorsoft, acquired in 1992, discontinued in 1994.
  • Acclaim Max Sports, launched in 2000, renamed AKA Acclaim in 2002.
  • Acclaim Sports, launched in 1997, discontinued in 2003.
  • AKA Acclaim (Athletes Kick Ass), launched in 2002, discontinued in 2003.
  • Club Acclaim, launched in 1999, discontinued in 2004.
  • Flying Edge in Glen Cove, New York, started in 1991, discontinued in 1994.
  • LJN, founded in 1970, acquired in 1988, closed in 1994. Brand briefly revived in 2000.

Headquarters

Acclaim had it's headquarters in One Acclaim Plaza, located in Glen Cove, New York. Acclaim bought the three story 65,000 square feet (6,000 m²), ClassA office building in 1994 for $4 million. Acclaim was originally located in the hamlet of Oyster Bay in the Town of Oyster Bay. It originally occupied a one-room office in Oyster Bay. At a later time it occupied a brick structure with two stories.

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