LJN

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LJN Toys, Limited
Industry Toys and video games
Fate Closed by Acclaim Entertainment
Successor(s) Acclaim Entertainment
Founded 1970
Defunct 1995
Headquarters New York City, New York
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Key people Jack Friedman (Founder)
Products Toys: Wrestling Superstars, Thundercats, Bionic Six, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, E.T., Gremlins
Video games: Back to the Future series, Spider-Man series, WWF wrestling games
Parent LJN Toys, Ltd.:
Independent (1970-1985)
MCA (1985-1990)
LJN, Ltd.:
Acclaim Entertainment (1990-1995)
LJN Entertainment, Inc.:
Acclaim Entertainment (2000)

LJN Toys, Limited was an American toy company and a video game publisher in operation from 1970 to 1995. It manufactured toy lines and released video games based on licensed properties from movies, television shows, and celebrities. It was headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City,[1] and later in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.[2]

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

LJN Toys Ltd. was founded in 1970 by Jack Fredmans, who later founded other toy companies, notably THQ and Jakks Pacific (Holy Xerecas).[3]

The name LJN came from the initials of Lewis J. Norman, the reverse of Norman J. Lewis, whose toy company had employed Friedman as a sales representative in the 1960s. Lewis initially backed the company financially, but later sold his interest to a Chinese investor.[4]

MCA era[edit]

In 1985, MCA,[5] which had been actively acquiring companies in the mid-1980s,[4] acquired LJN for $66[5] or $67 million[6] in an effort to retain more profits from the merchandising of its film properties.[7]

LJN began publishing video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Although this was LJN's first foray into the video game business, it was not for MCA who had previously started MCA Video Games, as a joint venture with Atari, Inc., to create coin-operated and home games and computer software based on various MCA properties.[8]

In 1988, LJN acquired Italian toy company Al'es from the Fassi family.[9]

In 1989, MCA decided to sell LJN after years of losses[5] since 1987 when fallout surrounding toy guns made by LJN's Entertech division plunged MCA's profits 79.5% in the second quarter of that year.[7][10] MCA finally agreed to sell to Acclaim Entertainment in March 1990 for cash and Acclaim common stock for 30 to 50 percent.[11][12]

Acclaim era[edit]

During the time the company was owned by Acclaim Entertainment, LJN continued with the same licensing direction it had pursued under MCA or as an independent company. Acclaim rid LJN of its toy division and reorganized it exclusively as a video game publisher.

During the 8-bit gaming era, Nintendo, as a form of quality control, regulated the number of titles to appear on its console, the Nintendo Entertainment System.[13] As a result, companies like Acclaim used divisions such as LJN to produce more products than Nintendo would have traditionally allowed.[13] Konami also utilized such tactics with its division Ultra. Even after Nintendo dropped its rule in the early 1990s, Acclaim kept LJN operating, which published several titles for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy.[14] Although Acclaim distributed the video games, they were self-published and marketed by LJN.[15]

LJN, along with the Flying Edge and Arena Entertainment labels (the latter two labels which published Acclaim's games to Sega's consoles), were folded into Acclaim in 1995.[14]

In 2000, LJN made a return in name only when Acclaim used the brand to publish the Dreamcast port of Spirit of Speed 1937.[14]

List[edit]

Toylines[edit]

Video games[edit]

Video game development[edit]

LJN was exclusively a video game publisher when it comes to video games.[17] Although many of LJN's titles (particularly the pre-Acclaim ones) did not disclose the developer, there is no video game that has been developed in-house by LJN.[17] All of LJN's video games were developed by external developers. Most games made by LJN were movie tie-ins or based on an existing brand. Many of these games were not received very well and the LJN name holds a reputation as one of the least-acclaimed game publishers of the pre-2000's. The games spanned over a number of console generations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Doris McNeely. "Children's Toys and Books: Choosing the Best for All Ages from Infancy to Adolescence". Scribner, 1982. Unknown page. Retrieved from Google Books on July 8, 2010. ISBN 0-684-17767-6, ISBN 978-0-684-17767-0. "LJN Toys, Inc. 200 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10010."
  2. ^ Tang, Sheng (唐盛). 美欧中贸易年鉴:美欧卷 ("Yearbook of Europe and United States-China Trade, Europe and United States). Volume 1995-1996. Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 1995. 146. Retrieved from Google Books on July 8, 2010. ISBN 7-313-01608-5, ISBN 978-7-313-01608-9. "LJN TOYS, LTD. LJN %Jl$-R£^| 1200 Wall St., W., Lyndhurst, NJ"
  3. ^ Nelson, Valerie (May 6, 2010). "Jack Friedman dies at 70; toy maker". L.A. Times. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "JAKKS Pacific, Inc. -- Company History". 
  5. ^ a b c "COMPANY NEWS; MCA Taking Loss In Sale of Toy Unit". The New York Times. January 23, 1990. 
  6. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (February 9, 1987). "MCA TURNS HAND TO ACQUISITIONS". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b SHIVER Jr, JUBE (January 23, 1990). "MCA to Sell LJN Toys Unit After Losses". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  8. ^ "BRIEFS". The New York Times. May 11, 1983. 
  9. ^ "BRIEFLY". The Los Angeles Times. April 1, 1987. 
  10. ^ "After 3 Deaths, Realistic Toys Are Under Fire". The New York Times. June 16, 1988. 
  11. ^ "MCA Agrees to Sell Ailing Toy Unit". The Los Angeles Times. March 13, 1990. 
  12. ^ "MCA to Gain Acclaim Stock in LJN Deal". Daily News of Los Angeles. March 13, 1990. 
  13. ^ a b "Acclaim Entertainment Inc. Company History". Funding Universe. 
  14. ^ a b c "LJN Ltd Company Information". GameFaqs. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "WWF Royal (1993) Box Art.". LJN. 1993. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Battle of the Fun Factories". Time. December 16, 1985. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Video Game Rebirth". Video Game Rebirth. Retrieved December 24, 2006.