A History: Acclaim Entertainment


Written by: David Cameron

Acclaim Entertainment was a pioneering video game company that left an indelible mark on the gaming industry during its heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s. Founded in 1987 by Gregory Fischbach, the company quickly rose to prominence, producing an array of critically acclaimed and commercially successful games. However, like many giants of the gaming industry, Acclaim faced its share of challenges, leading to a tumultuous and ultimately tragic end.

I. The Rise of Acclaim Entertainment:

Acclaim Entertainment started as a humble video game publisher and quickly expanded its reach by acquiring several development studios. One of the key elements of its success was its strong focus on licensing popular intellectual properties, including comic books, movies, and sports franchises. This approach allowed them to create games based on beloved characters like Spider-Man, Batman, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, gaining a dedicated fan base.

II. Big Games and Impactful Contributions:

    Mortal Kombat Series: Acclaim's most significant success came with the release of the Mortal Kombat series, developed by Midway Games. Mortal Kombat, a fighting game that gained immense popularity for its unique blend of martial arts, digitized graphics, and brutal finishing moves (known as "fatalities"), became a cultural phenomenon. Acclaim played a crucial role in the distribution and marketing of the series, contributing significantly to its meteoric rise.

      NBA Jam: Another landmark title in Acclaim's history was NBA Jam, an arcade-style basketball game developed by Midway. Known for its over-the-top dunks, exaggerated player animations, and fast-paced gameplay, NBA Jam revolutionized sports games, making it a favorite among sports enthusiasts and casual gamers alike.

        Turok: Dinosaur Hunter: Acclaim's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, marked a significant entry into the first-person shooter genre. The game's lush environments and innovative weapons system set it apart from its contemporaries, earning it praise for its technical achievements and immersive gameplay.

          III. The Downfall and Final Game Released:

          Despite its early success, Acclaim Entertainment began facing financial difficulties in the late 1990s. High development costs, lackluster releases, and changing market trends contributed to the company's struggles. In 2004, Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, marking the end of an era in gaming history.

          The final game released by Acclaim was "100 Bullets," based on the DC Comics series of the same name. Developed by the now-defunct studio, Acclaim Studios Austin, the game's development was plagued by internal conflicts and management issues. Released in 2008 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, "100 Bullets" failed to garner significant attention from critics or players, and its underwhelming performance further added to the company's woes.

          IV. The Legacy of Acclaim Entertainment:

          Despite its tragic end, Acclaim Entertainment's legacy continues to live on through the cherished memories of gamers who grew up playing their iconic titles. Mortal Kombat remains a dominant franchise in the gaming industry, and NBA Jam's influence can still be seen in modern sports games. Additionally, the Turok series experienced a revival with recent remasters and reimaginings, allowing a new generation of gamers to experience its dinosaur-infested world.


          Acclaim Entertainment's rise to prominence was marked by groundbreaking games and unforgettable experiences for millions of players worldwide. However, as the gaming industry evolved and financial troubles loomed, the company faced insurmountable challenges. Though Acclaim's final game, "100 Bullets," failed to capture the magic of its predecessors, the impact of their earlier creations remains imprinted in gaming history. As the industry continues to grow and innovate, we remember Acclaim Entertainment as a trailblazer, forever contributing to the evolution of interactive entertainment.

          Written by: David Cameron