Sunday, January 23, 2011

Acclaim -- The Long Winddown Begins

Acclaim was a powerhouse videogame publisher during the 8-bit and 16-bit hardware eras, but as the 32-bit CD-ROM era dawned, the company found itself struggling with increased development costs and heightened quality expectations.  One potentially positive development in 1995 was a North American distribution agreement with Taito, giving Acclaim the right to market the Japanese game giant's titles in the US.

This ad promoted the first two games released under the agreement, and the tagline seems oddly prophetic, if misdirected:

Judging from the way the artwork has been squashed and distorted to fit the available space, the company was looking to save money by combining two full-page ads into one, and not, at this early stage, betting on either the Sega Saturn or the Sony Playstation to win the biggest share of the market.  Unfortunately, neither Jupiter Strike for the Playstation nor Galactic Attack for the Saturn was a major hit in the US.  Acclaim struggled on for almost another decade after this late-1995 ad ran, with few hit games to show for its efforts, until the company finally filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

It makes one wonder if copies of this clairvoyant ad were posted around the Acclaim offices as the debt piled up, suitably amended with regard to whom, exactly, was IN DEEP S#?T.

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