Accolade (company)

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Infogrames North America, Inc.
Formerly
Accolade, Inc. (1984–1999)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Fate Merged out, "Accolade" brand name now owned by Billionsoft
Founded November 12, 1984; 33 years ago (1984-11-12) in Cupertino, California, U.S.
Founders
Defunct September 11, 2000 (2000-09-11)
Headquarters San Jose, California, U.S.
Area served
North America
Key people
Jim Barnett (CEO)
Parent Infogrames (1999–2000)
Website web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.accolade.com/

Infogrames North America, Inc. (formerly Accolade, Inc.) was an American video game developer and publisher based in San Jose, California. The company was founded as Accolade in November 1984 by Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead, who had previously co-founded Activision in October 1979.

In April 1999, Accolade was acquired by French video game company Infogrames Entertainment for a combined sum of US$60 million, of which US$50 million in cash and US$10 million in growth capital, and was renamed Infogrames North America, Inc.[1][2] The company chief executive officer, Jim Barnett, was named head of Infogrames Entertainment's American distribution subsidiary.[3] In December 1999, Infogrames additionally acquired a controlling stake in GT Interactive for a total investment of US$135 million, and renamed it Infogrames, Inc.[4]

On September 11, 2000, Infogrames North America was acquired by Infogrames, Inc. for 28 million market shares transitioned to Infogrames Entertainment, effectively merging Infogrames North America into a newly founded, wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames, Inc.[5][6][7]

In June 2017, Hong Kongese holding company Billionsoft announced that they had acquired the "Accolade" label, and announced Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, in cooperation with developer Black Forest Games and publisher Tommo, to be the first game released under it.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

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. 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 Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Super NES and PlayStation.

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's game 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 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 Genesis and Super NES 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, MS-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 several rounds of lay-offs ensued. 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 Tommo[8] except for the Test Drive franchise, which is currently owned by Bigben Interactive.

Brand revival[edit]

In June 2017, Hong Kong-based holding company Billionsoft announced that they had acquired the "Accolade" branding, and, together with developer Black Forest Games and publisher Tommo, announced the upcoming release of a fifth installment in the Bubsy franchise, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back.[9]

Gameography[edit]

Game Release Developer Publisher
SunDog: Frozen Legacy 1984 (Apple II) FTL Games Accolade
HardBall! 1985 (Apple II, Atari 8-bit, C64)
1986 (Amstrad CPC, MacOS, ZX Spectrum)
1987 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, Atari ST, DOS, MSX)
1991 (Genesis)
Accolade Accolade
Fight Night 1985 (Apple II)
1986 (Atari 8-bit, C64)
1987 (Atari XEGS)
1988 (Atari 7800)
Sydney Development Corporation Accolade
Law of the West 1985 (Apple II, C64)
1987 (NES, PC-88, PC-98)
Accolade U.S. Gold
The Dam Busters 1985 (Apple II, DOS) Sydney Development Corporation Accolade
Psi-5 Trading Company 1986 (C64, DOS)
1987 (Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, ZX Spectrum)
Accolade U.S. Gold
Mean 18 1986 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
1987 (Apple IIGS)
1989 (Atari 7800)
Microsmiths Accolade
Killed Until Dead 1986 (C64)
1987 (Apple II)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Ace of Aces 1986 (C64)
1987 (DOS)
1988 (Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Accolade Comics 1987 (Apple II, C64) Distinctive Software Accolade
The Train: Escape to Normandy 1987 (Apple II, C64)
1988 (Amstrad CPC, DOS, ZX Spectrum)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
4th & Inches 1987 (C64, Apple II)
1988 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, DOS, MacOS)
Accolade Accolade
Pinball Wizard 1987 (DOS)
1988 (Atari ST)
ERE Informatique Accolade
Mini-Putt 1987 (C64, DOS)
1988 (Apple IIGS)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon 1987 (C64)
1988 (DOS)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Power at Sea 1988 (C64) Distinctive Software Accolade
Test Drive 1987 (Amiga, Atari ST, C64, DOS)
1988 (Apple II)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Rack 'Em 1988 (DOS) Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Serve & Volley 1988 (Apple II, Apple IIGS, C64, DOS) Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Fast Break 1988 (C64, DOS)
1989 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, MacOS)
Accolade Accolade
Grand Prix Circuit 1988 (C64, DOS)
1989 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, MacOS)
1990 (Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Card Sharks 1988 (C64) Accolade Accolade
TKO 1988 (C64)
1989 (DOS)
Accolade Electronic Arts
Bubble Ghost 1988 (Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIGS, C64, DOS) ERE Informatique Accolade
Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf 1988 (C64, DOS)
1989 (Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple IIGS, Atari ST)
1990 (MacOS, TG-16)
Sculptured Software Accolade
Steel Thunder 1988 (C64) Accolade Accolade
Hardball II 1989 (DOS)
1990 (Amiga, MacOS)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Test Drive II: The Duel 1989 (Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple IIGS, C64, DOS, MacOS, ZX Spectrum)
1990 (Atari ST)
1992 (Genesis, SNES)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Blue Angels: Formation Flight Simulation 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
1990 (C64)
Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Day of the Viper 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST)
1990 (DOS)
Accolade Accolade
Test Drive II Car Disk: Musclecars 1989 (Amiga, C64, DOS)
1990 (Atari ST)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Test Drive II Car Disk: The Supercars 1989 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, C64, MacOS)
1990 (Atari ST, DOS)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Test Drive II Scenery Disk: California Challenge 1989 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, C64, DOS)
1990 (Atari ST, MacOS)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Test Drive II Scenery Disk: European Challenge 1989 (Amiga, C64, DOS)
1990 (Apple IIGS, Atari ST, DOS)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Don't Go Alone 1989 (DOS) Sterling Silver Software Accolade
The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing 1989 (Amiga, C64, DOS)
1990 (Amstrad CPC, Mac OS, ZX Spectrum)
Distinctive Software Accolade
The Third Courier 1989 (DOS)
1990 (Amiga, Apple IIGS, Atari ST)
Manley & Associates Accolade
Bar Games 1989 (DOS)
1990 (Amiga)
Accolade Accolade
Strike Aces 1990 (Amiga, DOS) Vektor Grafix Accolade
Test Drive III: The Passion 1990 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Gunboat 1990 (Amstrad CPC, DOS, ZX Spectrum)
1991 (Amiga)
1992(TG-16)
Accolade Accolade
Heat Wave 1990 (Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS) Artech Digital Entertainment Accolade
Ishido: The Way of Stones 1990 (Amiga, DOS, Genesis, MacOS) Publishing International Accolade
The Game of Harmony 1990 (Amiga, C64, DOS)
1991 (GB)
The Assembly Line Accolade
Altered Destiny 1990 (DOS)
1991 (Amiga)
Accolade Accolade
Stratego 1990 (DOS, MacOS)
1991 (Amiga, Atari ST, C64)
Accolade Accolade
Jack Nicklaus' Unlimited Golf & Course Design 1990 (Amiga, DOS) Sculptured Software Accolade
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark 1990 (Amiga, DOS)
1991 (Atari ST, C64)
Horror Soft Accolade
Les Manley in: Search for the King 1990 (DOS)
1991 (Amiga)
Accolade Accolade
Test Drive II: The Collection 1990 (Amiga, C64)
1991 (DOS)
Distinctive Software Accolade
Star Control 1990 (Amiga, Amstrad CPC, DOS)
1991 (C64, ZX Spectrum)
Toys for Bob Accolade
The Games: Winter Challenge 1991 (DOS) MindSpan Accolade
Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. 1991 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
The Cardinal of the Kremlin 1991 Capstone Software Accolade
Turrican 1991 (GB, Genesis, TG-16) Rainbow Arts Accolade
Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus 1991 (DOS)
1992 (Amiga, Atari ST)
Horror Soft Accolade
Hoverforce 1991 (DOS) Astral Software Accolade
Mike Ditka Power Football 1991 (DOS, Genesis) Accolade Accolade
The Games: Summer Challenge 1992 (DOS)
1993 (Genesis)
MindSpan Accolade
Jack Nicklaus Golf & Course Design: Signature Edition 1992 (DOS) Sculptured Software Accolade
Waxworks 1992 (Amiga, DOS)
2009 (Windows)
2012 (MacOS)
Horror Soft Accolade
Snoopy's Game Club 1992 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Universal Soldier 1992 (GB, Genesis) The Code Monkeys Accolade
Grand Prix Unlimited 1992 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Zyconix 1992 (Amiga, DOS) Miracle Games Accolade
Hardball III 1992 (DOS)
1993 (Genesis)
1994 (SNES)
MindSpan Accolade
Star Control II 1992 (DOS)
1994 (3DO)
Toys for Bob Accolade
Warp Speed 1992 (SNES)
1993 (Genesis)
Accolade Ballistic
Speed Racer in The Challenge of Racer X 1993 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind 1993 (Genesis, SNES) Accolade Accolade
Pelé! 1993 (Genesis) Radical Entertainment Accolade
Unnecessary Roughness 1993 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Unnecessary Roughness '95 1994 (DOS, Genesis) Accolade Accolade
Ballz 1994 (Genesis, SNES) PF Magic Accolade
Battle Isle 2200 1994 (DOS) Blue Byte Accolade
Bubsy II 1994 (GB, Genesis, SNES) Accolade, Images Software (GB) Accolade
Cyclemania 1994 (DOS) Compro Games Accolade
Barkley Shut Up and Jam! 1994 (Genesis, SNES) Accolade Accolade
Brett Hull Hockey 95 1994 (Genesis, SNES)
1995 (DOS)
Radical Entertainment Accolade
HardBall 4 1994 (DOS, Genesis) MindSpan Accolade
Pelé II: World Tournament Soccer 1994 (Genesis) Radical Entertainment Accolade
Zero Tolerance 1994 (Genesis) Technopop Accolade
Combat Cars 1994 (Genesis) Accolade Accolade
Speed Racer in My Most Dangerous Adventures 1994 (SNES) Radical Entertainment Accolade
HardBall 5 1995 (DOS, Genesis)
1996 (PS1)
MindSpan Accolade
Barkley Shut Up and Jam! 2 1995 (Genesis) Accolade Accolade
Unnecessary Roughness '96 1995 (DOS) Accolade Accolade
Star Control 3 1996 (DOS) Legend Entertainment Accolade
Eradicator 1996 (DOS)
2014 (Linux, MacOS, Windows)
Accolade Accolade (DOS), Night Dive Studios
Deadlock: Planetary Conquest 1996 (Windows, Windows 3.x)
1997 (MacOS)
Accolade Accolade, MacSoft (MacOS)
PO'ed 1996 (PS1) Any Channel Accolade
Pitball 1996 (PS1) Warner Interactive Entertainment Accolade
Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet 1996 (PS1) Eidetic Accolade
Test Drive: Off-Road 1997 (DOS, PS1) Elite Systems (DOS), Motivetime Ltd. Accolade
Jack Nicklaus 4 1997 (Windows) Cinematronics, LLC Accolade
Test Drive 4 1997 (PS1, Windows) Pitbull Syndicate Limited Accolade
Deadlock II: Shrine Wars 1998 (Windows) Cyberlore Studios Accolade
Test Drive 5 1998 (PS1, Windows) Pitbull Syndicate Limited Accolade
Test Drive: Off-Road 2 1998 (PS1, Windows) Accolade Accolade
Jack Nicklaus 5 1998 (Windows 3.x) Eclipse Entertainment Accolade
HardBall 6 1998 (Windows) MindSpan Accolade
Big Air 1998 (PS1) Pitbull Syndicate Limited Accolade
HardBall 6 - 2000 Edition 1999 (Windows) MindSpan Accolade
Redline 1999 (Windows) Beyond Games Accolade
Slave Zero 1999 (Dreamcast, Windows) Accolade Infogrames
Test Drive: Off-Road 3 1999 (Windows) Accolade Infogrames

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (April 19, 1999). "Infogrames Takes Accolade". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ Mullen, Micheal (April 27, 2000). "Infogrames Buys Accolade". gamespot.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (May 10, 1999). "Accolade's Barnett to Head Infogrames US". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Infogrames Entertainment Completes Acquisition of Controlling Stake in GT Interactive Software. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Infogrames Acquires Infogrames North America". www.vgf.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  6. ^ Ahmed, Shahed (May 17, 2006). "Infogrames Consolidates North American Operations". gamespot.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ Ahmed, Shahed (May 17, 2006). "Infogrames Completes Merger". gamespot.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Purchase Agreement between Atari, Inc. and Rebellion Developments, Stardock & Tommo" (PDF). BMC Group. July 22, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Accolade brand returns with a new Bubsy game". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved July 6, 2017.