Accolade (game company)

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Accolade, Inc.
Former type Defunct
Industry Video game development and publishing
Fate Acquired
Founded 1984
Defunct 1999
Headquarters San Jose, California
Key people Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead, founders
Products Star Control, Test Drive, Jack Nicklaus, HardBall!, Bubsy

Accolade, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher of the 1980s and 1990s. Headquartered in San Jose, California,[1] it was founded in 1984 by game industry veterans Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead. Miller and Whitehead founded Accolade after leaving another game developer and publisher they had founded, Activision, the world's first third-party game developer.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

According to legend, Miller and Whitehead named their company "Accolade" because it came before "Activision" alphabetically—implying that Accolade was superior to their previous company, as reportedly the name Activision was chosen as it came before Atari. Later, a new game development company, Acclaim, another company formed from ex-Activision employees, apparently formulated their name because it came before "Accolade."[2] Absolute Entertainment, again, a third company formed from ex-Activision people, ended up being first with the 'first in the alphabet' race.

HardBall!, here seen on the Commodore 64, started a series that went on to become one of Accolade's most popular franchises.

Accolade's revenues grew from $1.5 million in 1985 to $5 million in 1986.[3] It developed for most 1980s-era home computers, including the Commodore 64, Atari 400 & 800, the Amiga, Apple II and the PC. Some of their first titles include Law of the West, Psi-5 Trading Company, The Dam Busters, Mean 18 Golf, Test Drive, and HardBall!. Test Drive and HardBall! went on to become two of Accolade's longest-running franchises.

As the popularity of other systems waned, Accolade focused on PC and console development, including the NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES and PlayStation during those systems' popularity.

All of Accolade's initial titles were developed in-house. But being a publisher as well as a developer, Accolade began to publish titles produced by other developers as well. By the mid-1990s, most of Accolade software development was done by third-party developers.

In October 1991, Accolade was served with a lawsuit regarding copyright infringement, that eventually led to the concept of reverse engineering for interoperability purposes. Sega wanted to keep a hold on their consoles, and wanted all its games exclusive to Sega. Unwilling to conform to single platform games, Accolade engineers reverse engineered the Sega Genesis console and created their own development systems; until then, game developers had to obtain the systems from Sega in order to develop games for the platform. Sega sued Accolade over the practice and won an initial injunction, forcing Accolade to remove all Genesis product from store shelves. Accolade, however, won on appeal and reached an out of court settlement with Sega that allowed Accolade to continue building their own Genesis cartridges, but as an official licensee.

Demise[edit]

The company had marginal successes during the early 1990s. Bubsy for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo sold well and was the company's best-selling game until Test Drive 4 came out in 1997. Star Control 2 for the PC (1992, DOS) is still very well regarded and was one of the highest rated games of its time.

However, beginning in the mid-1990s, Accolade started publishing a variety of games of differing genres which were perceived to be indistinguishing and lacking polish.

During a conference of management and producers, Accolade decided to focus only on sports and action games. Accolade already had several franchises based in these categories. Franchises in the sports genre included HardBall!, Unnecessary Roughness and Jack Nicklaus Golf. In the broad "action" category they had the long-running franchise Test Drive.

Bob Whitehead left Accolade shortly after its founding; Alan Miller left in 1995. Before Miller left, the position of CEO was taken over by Peter Harris, who was placed there by Prudential Investments (Prudential had made a US$10 million investment in the company). Harris was on the board of directors and was formerly the CEO of FAO Schwarz and after Accolade, became the president of the San Francisco 49ers. Harris left the fate of the company in the hands of game industry neophyte, Jim Barnett. Under Barnett's direction, the company relaunched the successful Test Drive series, began the Test Drive Offroad series and introduced both series to the PlayStation platform.

Accolade did well in its early years, but by the 1990s, Accolade's sales suffered and management was forced to enact several rounds of lay-offs. Under Barnett's direction, Accolade was rebuilt around action games and published Test Drive 4, 5 and 6 as well as Test Drive Offroad, all of which sold millions of units and become part of Sony's greatest hits program. Accolade was eventually purchased by French publisher Infogrames in 1999, right after publishing their last game Redline. Accolade was the entry point for Infogrames' North America expansion and was merged with Infogrames' other operations and moved to Los Angeles. All of Accolade's assets are now owned by Atari, SA (née Infogrames). Many employees from the time of the acquisition still work for Atari.[citation needed]

Games[edit]

Accolade was responsible for publishing many influential games. Some of the best known and best-selling series include Star Control, Test Drive, Jack Nicklaus Golf, HardBall and Bubsy.

Name Year Platforms Description
4th & Inches 1988 Amiga A critically hailed American football sports game
1987 Commodore 64
1988 Apple II
Apple IIGS
DOS
4th & Inches Team Construction Disk 1988 An expansion that allowed for the editing and creation of teams for 4th & Inches
Accolade Comics 1987 Apple II An adventure game with arcade sequences. Allows players to affect the story with branching choices.
Commodore 64
Accolade In Action 1990
Ace of Aces 1986 Amstrad CPC A World War II combat flight simulator where the player pilots a RAF Mosquito fighter-bomber
Atari 8-bit
Atari 7800
Commodore 64
DOS
MSX
Sega Master System
ZX Spectrum
Altered Destiny 1991 Amiga A graphic adventure game featuring an average man sucked into an alien world who has to save the galaxy
1990 DOS
Anatomic Man 1988
Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon 1987
Ballz 1995 3DO A widely derided fighting game where the fighters are represented as a collection of spheres
1994 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Bar Games 1989 DOS A collection of games typical of a bar, such as darts and pool, including picking up women
Barkley Shut Up and Jam! 1994 Atari Jaguar (never released) A basketball sports game featuring Charles Barkley
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Battle Isle 2200 1993 DOS A turn-based tactics game; released as Battle Isle 2 in Europe
Big Air 1999 PlayStation A sports game
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure 1991 Based on the movie of the same name
Blue Angels: Formation Flight Simulation 1989
Brett Hull Hockey 95 1994 DOS An ice hockey sports game
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Bubble Ghost 1987 Amiga An arcade/action game where the player controls a ghost trying to protect a bubble
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
1990 Game Boy
Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet 1996 PlayStation A widely derided and last entry in the Bubsy series of games
Bubsy II 1995 Game Boy A widely derided sequel to 1993's Bubsy
1994 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind 1993 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive A highly anticipated, but ultimately just warmly received debut of the Bubsy series of games
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1995 Windows
Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales 1994 Atari Jaguar The only Bubsy game released exclusively for the Atari Jaguar
Card Sharks 1987
Cardinal of the Kremlin, TheThe Cardinal of the Kremlin 1990
Combat Cars 1994 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive A racing and vehicular combat game
Cyclemania 1994 DOS A motorcycle racing game
The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing 1989 Amiga A motorcycle racing game featuring all the tracks of the 1989 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
DOS
ZX Spectrum
Dam Busters, TheThe Dam Busters 1984 Apple II A World War II combat flight simulator
ColecoVision
Commodore 64
DOS
Day of the Viper 1989 Amiga A first-person shooter adventure game where the user plays a robot
Atari ST
DOS
Deadlock: Planetary Conquest 1996 Windows An ambitious turn-based strategy game that failed to impress critics
Deadlock II: Shrine Wars 1998 Windows A sequel to the earlier Deadlock
Don't Go Alone 1989
Double Dragon 1992 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Based on the original arcade game, of all the ports of this game, this one comes closest to the original game
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark 1990 Amiga Generally better received than its namesake, the 1988 film, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus 1991 Amiga A disappointing sequel to the first game, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Eradicator 1996 DOS A first and third-person shooter
Fast Break 1989 Amiga A basketball sports game
Apple IIGS
Commodore 64
DOS
Macintosh
Fight Night 1985 Apple II A boxing sports game
Atari 7800
Atari 8-bit
Atari ST
Atari XEGS
Commodore 64
Fireteam Rogue 1995 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive An unreleased action game
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Game of Harmony, TheThe Game of Harmony 1990 Amiga A puzzle, strategy and action game involving manipulating spheres
Amstrad CPC
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Game Boy
ZX Spectrum
Games: Summer Challenge, TheThe Games: Summer Challenge 1991
Games: Winter Challenge, TheThe Games: Winter Challenge 1992
Grand Prix Circuit 1987 Amiga A Grand Prix motor racing game
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Commodore 64
DOS
Macintosh
ZX Spectrum
Grand Prix Unlimited 1992
Gunboat 1990 Amiga A warmly received combat simulation of a PBR during the Vietnam War.
DOS
TurboGrafx-16
ZX Spectrum
Hardball! 1987 Amiga A successful title for Accolade, a baseball game that incorporates managerial aspects as well as arcade action
Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Apple IIGS
Atari 8-bit
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Macintosh
MSX
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
ZX Spectrum
Hardball II 1989 Amiga A baseball game, the 1989 entry in the Hardball! series of games
DOS
Macintosh
Hardball III 1992 DOS A baseball game, the 1992 entry in the Hardball! series the console versions which, due to a lack of secondary storage, saved season stats via a lengthy password
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
HardBall 4 1994 A baseball game, the 1994 entry in the Hardball! series of games
HardBall 5 1995 A baseball game, the 1995 entry in the Hardball! series of games, which introduced some innovative features which have now become commonplace for all baseball video games
HardBall 6 1998 A baseball game, the penultimate entry of the long-running Hardball! series of games
HardBall 6 - 2000 Edition 1999 A baseball game, a revamping of Hardball 6 for the turn of the century
Heat Wave 1989
Hoverforce 1990
Ishido: The Way of Stones 1990 Amiga A puzzle/board game based on matching stones
1991 Atari Lynx
1990 DOS
Game Boy
Macintosh
1991 Nintendo Entertainment System
1990 Sega Genesis
1995 Windows
Jack Nicklaus 4 1997 Macintosh A golf sports game featuring the eponymous golfer
Windows
Jack Nicklaus 5 1998 Windows A golf sports game featuring the eponymous golfer
Jack Nicklaus Golf & Course Design: Signature Edition 1992 DOS A golf course designer for the related Jack Nicklaus Golf games
Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf 1998 DOS Eighteen favorite holes of the eponymous golfer
Jack Nicklaus' Unlimited Golf & Course Design 1990 DOS A golf course designer for the related Jack Nicklaus Golf games
Killed Until Dead 1986
Law of the West 1985 Apple II A graphical adventure/action game where the player is the sheriff in an Old West town
Commodore 64
Nintendo Entertainment System
Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. 1992 A graphical adventure game featuring a risqué theme, the second (and last) in the series
Les Manley in: Search for the King 1990 A risqué graphical adventure game, Accolade's attempt to duplicate the success of the Leisure Suit Larry series of games
Mean 18 1986 Amiga A launch title for Accolade, a sports golf game featuring critically hailed innovative features
Apple IIGS
Atari 7800
Atari ST
DOS
Mike Ditka Power Football 1991 A sports game of American football
Mini-Putt 1987 Commodore 64 A sports game of miniature golf
DOS
Macintosh
ZX Spectrum
Pelé! 1993 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive An association football sports game featuring the famed Brazilian player
Pelé II: World Tournament Soccer 1994 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive An association football sports game featuring Pelé, a sequel to 1993's Pelé!, released as Pelé's World Tournament Soccer in Europe
Pinball Wizard 1985 Amstrad CPC A pinball game and construction set
1986 Atari ST
1985 Commodore 64
1987 DOS
1985 MSX
Oric-1/Atmos
ZX Spectrum
PO'ed 1995 3DO A first-person shooter where the player is a cook on a crashed spaceship fighting for his life on a hostile alien planet
1996 PlayStation
Power at Sea 1988 Commodore 64 A strategy video game, a simulation of the Battle of Leyte Gulf where the player commands several WWII naval vessels
Powerboat 1990
Pro Sport Challenge 1991
Project: Space Station 1985
Psi-5 Trading Company 1985 Amstrad CPC A space trading and combat game where the player must command a crew of a spaceship trying to deliver cargo
Apple II
Commodore 64
DOS
ZX Spectrum
Rack 'Em 1988 Commodore 64 A cue sports simulator with a variety of game types available
DOS
Redline 1999 Windows A post-apocalyptic combination first-person shooter/racing video game
Road & Car 1991
Serve & Volley 1988
Slave Zero 1999 Dreamcast An action game where the player controls a 60-foot-tall humanoid robot, released to mixed reviews
Windows
Snoopy's Game Club 1992
Speed Racer in My Most Dangerous Adventures 1994 Super Nintendo Entertainment System A racing action game based on the eponymous anime/manga series
Speed Racer in The Challenge of Racer X 1992 DOS A racing action game based on the eponymous anime/manga series
Star Control 1990 Amiga A well-received science fiction action/strategy game that laid the ground for the more successful sequel soon afterwards
1991 Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
1990 DOS
1991 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
ZX Spectrum
Star Control II 1994 3DO A science fiction space, adventure shoot 'em up, widely hailed as one of the greatest PC games ever
1992 DOS
Star Control 1 & 2 CD Compendium A combination packaging of Star Control and Star Control II
Star Control 3 1996 DOS A largely ignored sci-fi real-time strategy sequel to Star Control II
Mac OS
Star Control Collection
Steel Thunder 1988
Stratego 1991
Strike Aces 1990
SunDog: Frozen Legacy 1984 Apple II Pioneering space trading game which implemented an advanced user interface that is now standard on most modern operating systems
1985 Atari ST
Test Drive 1987 Amiga A racing game where the player "test drives" a high-end sports car along a serpentine mountainside freeway at unsafe, high speeds in order to win the car for free
Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Test Drive II: The Duel 1989 Amiga Also known as The Duel: Test Drive II, the second game in the Test Drive series of racing games
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Atari ST
Commodore 64
DOS
Macintosh
MSX
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
ZX Spectrum
Test Drive II Car Disk: Musclecars 1989 An expansion pack for Test Drive II that adds some classic muscle cars from the 1960s
Test Drive II Car Disk: The Supercars 1989 An expansion pack for Test Drive II that adds some an additional high-performance cars
Test Drive II Scenery Disk: California Challenge 1990 An expansion pack for Test Drive II that adds an additional course with several California themes
Test Drive II Scenery Disk: European Challenge 1990 An expansion pack for Test Drive II that adds six additional course through several European countries
Test Drive II: The Collection 1991 A collection of Test Drive II and all its expansion packs
Test Drive III: The Passion 1990 DOS The first Test Drive series of racing games to use 3D graphics instead of sprites
Test Drive 4 1997 PlayStation The fourth game in the Test Drive series of racing games
Windows
Test Drive 5 1998 PlayStation The fifth game in the Test Drive series of racing games
Windows
Test Drive 6 1999 Dreamcast The sixth game in the Test Drive series of racing games
Game Boy Color
PlayStation
Windows
Test Drive: Off-Road 1997 PlayStation The first game in the Off-Road spin-off series from the Test Drive series of racing games
Windows
Test Drive: Off-Road 2 1998 PlayStation The second game in the Off-Road spin-off series from the Test Drive series of racing games
Windows
Test Drive: Off-Road 3 1999 Game Boy Color The third and last game in the Off-Road spin-off series from the Test Drive series of racing games
PlayStation
Windows
Third Courier, TheThe Third Courier 1990
TKO 1988
Train: Escape to Normandy, TheThe Train: Escape to Normandy 1987 Apple II An action game where the player commandeers a Nazi train and uses it to try and escape Nazi Germany during World War II
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
DOS
ZX Spectrum
Turrican 1991 Game Boy A science fiction run and gun with multiple inspirations
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
TG-16
Universal Soldier 1992 Game Boy Released as Turrican II on other platforms, this game is a sequel to Turrican
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Unnecessary Roughness The first in the much maligned series of American football games by the company
Unnecessary Roughness '95 1995 DOS A poorly received sequel to the first game in the Unnecessary Roughness series
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Unnecessary Roughness '96 1996
Waxworks 1992 Amiga A favorably received horror-themed, puzzle role-playing video game
DOS
Warp Speed Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Winter Challenge 1991 DOS A sports game, a collection of Olympic themed winter events
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Zero Tolerance 1994 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive One of the few first-person shooters released for this Sega console
Zyconix 1992 Amiga A puzzle game

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Accolade Great Jobs Page." Accolade. February 21, 1997. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  2. ^ Activision company profile from MobyGames
  3. ^ Wilson, Johnny L. (November 1991). "A History of Computer Games". Computer Gaming World. p. 10. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 

External links[edit]