Accolade (company)

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Infogrames North America, Inc.
Formerly called
Accolade, Inc. (1984–1999)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Fate Merged out
Founded November 12, 1984; 32 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

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 combine 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]

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 Inc.[8] except for the Test Drive franchise, which is currently owned by Bigben Interactive.

Games developed or published[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
1988 4th & Inches Amiga
1987 Commodore 64
1988 Apple II
Apple IIGS
MS-DOS
1987 Accolade Comics Apple II
Commodore 64
1990 Accolade in Action
1986 Ace of Aces Amstrad CPC
Atari 8-bit
Atari 7800
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
MSX
Master System
ZX Spectrum
1991 Altered Destiny Amiga
1990 MS-DOS
1988 Anatomic Man
1987 Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon
1995 Ballz 3DO
1994 Genesis
Super NES
1989 Bar Games MS-DOS
1994 Barkley Shut Up and Jam!
Genesis
Super NES
1993 Battle Isle 2200 MS-DOS
1999 Big Air PlayStation
1991 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
1989 Blue Angels: Formation Flight Simulation
1994 Brett Hull Hockey 95 MS-DOS
Genesis
Super NES
1987 Bubble Ghost Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1990 Game Boy
1996 Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet PlayStation
1995 Bubsy II Game Boy
1994 Genesis
Super NES
1993 Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind Genesis
Super NES
1995 Windows
1994 Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales Atari Jaguar
1987 Card Sharks
1990 Cardinal of the Kremlin, TheThe Cardinal of the Kremlin
1994 Combat Cars Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
1994 Cyclemania MS-DOS
1989 The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
ZX Spectrum
1984 Dam Busters, TheThe Dam Busters Apple II
ColecoVision
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1989 Day of the Viper Amiga
Atari ST
MS-DOS
1996 Deadlock: Planetary Conquest Windows
1998 Deadlock II: Shrine Wars Windows
1989 Don't Go Alone
1992 Double Dragon Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
1990 Elvira: Mistress of the Dark Amiga
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1991 Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus Amiga
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1996 Eradicator MS-DOS
1989 Fast Break Amiga
Apple IIGS
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Macintosh
1985 Fight Night Apple II
Atari 7800
Atari 8-bit
Atari ST
Atari XEGS
Commodore 64
1995 Fireteam Rogue Genesis
Super NES
1990 Game of Harmony, TheThe Game of Harmony Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Game Boy
ZX Spectrum
1991 Games: Summer Challenge, TheThe Games: Summer Challenge
1992 Games: Winter Challenge, TheThe Games: Winter Challenge
1987 Grand Prix Circuit Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Macintosh
ZX Spectrum
1992 Grand Prix Unlimited
1990 Gunboat Amiga
MS-DOS
TurboGrafx-16
ZX Spectrum
1985 Hardball! Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Apple IIGS
Atari 8-bit
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Macintosh
MSX
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
ZX Spectrum
1989 Hardball II Amiga
MS-DOS
Macintosh
1992 Hardball III MS-DOS
Genesis
Super NES
1994 HardBall 4
1995 HardBall 5
1998 HardBall 6
1999 HardBall 6 - 2000 Edition
1989 Heat Wave
1990 Hoverforce
1990 Ishido: The Way of Stones Amiga
1991 Atari Lynx
1990 MS-DOS
Game Boy
Macintosh
1991 NES
1990 Sega Genesis
1995 Windows
1997 Jack Nicklaus 4 Macintosh
Windows
1998 Jack Nicklaus 5 Windows
1992 Jack Nicklaus Golf & Course Design: Signature Edition MS-DOS
1998 Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf MS-DOS
1990 Jack Nicklaus' Unlimited Golf & Course Design MS-DOS
1986 Killed Until Dead Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Commodore 64
ZX Spectrum
1985 Law of the West Apple II
Commodore 64
Nintendo Entertainment System
1992 Les Manley in: Lost in L.A.
1990 Les Manley in: Search for the King
1986 Mean 18 Amiga
Apple IIGS
Atari 7800
Atari ST
MS-DOS
1991 Mike Ditka Power Football
1987 Mini-Putt Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Macintosh
ZX Spectrum
1993 Pelé! Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
1994 Pelé II: World Tournament Soccer Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
1985 Pinball Wizard Amstrad CPC
1986 Atari ST
1985 Commodore 64
1987 MS-DOS
1985 MSX
Oric-1/Atmos
ZX Spectrum
1995 PO'ed 3DO
1996 PlayStation
1988 Power at Sea Commodore 64
1990 Powerboat
1991 Pro Sport Challenge
1985 Project: Space Station
1985 Psi-5 Trading Company Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
ZX Spectrum
1988 Rack 'Em Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1999 Redline Windows
1991 Road & Car
1988 Serve & Volley
1999 Slave Zero Dreamcast
Windows
1992 Snoopy's Game Club
1994 Speed Racer in My Most Dangerous Adventures Super NES
1992 Speed Racer in The Challenge of Racer X MS-DOS
1990 Star Control Amiga
1991 Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
1990 MS-DOS
1991 Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
ZX Spectrum
1994 Star Control II 3DO
1992 MS-DOS
Star Control 1 & 2 CD Compendium
1996 Star Control 3 MS-DOS
Mac OS
Star Control Collection
1988 Steel Thunder
1991 Stratego
1990 Strike Aces
1984 SunDog: Frozen Legacy Apple II
1985 Atari ST
1987 Test Drive Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Apple II
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
1989 Test Drive II: The Duel Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Apple IIGS
Atari ST
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Macintosh
MSX
Genesis
Super NES
ZX Spectrum
1989 Test Drive II Car Disk: Musclecars
1989 Test Drive II Car Disk: The Supercars
1990 Test Drive II Scenery Disk: California Challenge
1990 Test Drive II Scenery Disk: European Challenge
1991 Test Drive II: The Collection
1990 Test Drive III: The Passion MS-DOS
1997 Test Drive 4 PlayStation
Windows
1998 Test Drive 5 PlayStation
Windows
1999 Test Drive 6 Dreamcast
Game Boy Color
PlayStation
Windows
1997 Test Drive: Off-Road PlayStation
Windows
1998 Test Drive: Off-Road 2 PlayStation
Windows
1999 Test Drive: Off-Road 3 PlayStation
Windows
1990 Third Courier, TheThe Third Courier
1988 TKO
1987 Train: Escape to Normandy, TheThe Train: Escape to Normandy Apple II
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
ZX Spectrum
1991 Turrican Game Boy
Genesis
TG-16
1992 Universal Soldier Game Boy
Genesis
Unnecessary Roughness
1995 Unnecessary Roughness '95 MS-DOS
Genesis
1996 Unnecessary Roughness '96
1992 Waxworks Amiga
MS-DOS
Warp Speed Genesis
1991 Winter Challenge MS-DOS
Genesis
1994 Zero Tolerance Genesis
1992 Zyconix Amiga

References[edit]