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Acclaim Entertainment Files for Bankruptcy

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the insert-credit-to-continue dept.

Businesses 118

Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center writes "According to this story in Long Island Business News, Acclaim Entertainment has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of New York bankruptcy court, meaning it will liquidate its assets and shut down. The story states in part, 'Computer game maker Acclaim Entertainment (Nasdaq: AKLM) has filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would result in the liquidation of the company's assets. The company filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Central Islip that estimated its debts at more than $100 million and its assets at $10 million to $50 million. The filing said it had more than 200 creditors.' Game Over."

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There's Crazy Taxi, and then there's not. (5, Funny)

captnitro (160231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133618)

With recent titles such as American Pro Trucker [acclaim.com] and Mary Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 [acclaim.com] , it's almost hard to believe they were losing money.

Re:There's Crazy Taxi, and then there's not. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134332)

With recent titles such as American Pro Trucker and Mary Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16, it's almost hard to believe they were losing money.

I just know there's a great joke here about increasing revenue by combining the two titles, but either I'm above making it or I can't quite figure it out.

Re:There's Crazy Taxi, and then there's not. (2, Funny)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134366)


Now that they are 18, "Mary Kate and Ashley: American Pro Trucker Gang Bang"

Re:There's Crazy Taxi, and then there's not. (2, Funny)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138775)

"I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Related Vonnegut quote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10138979)

Roses are red and ready for plucking.
You're sixteen and ready for high school.

From Breakfast of Champions

who needs the 'recent' hits? (2, Funny)

muel (132794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10136697)

I mean, didn't everyone assume that Acclaim could rest its laurels on its old super-hot franchise?

You know what I'm talkin' 'bout... IGGY'S RECKING BALLS. The one where a bunch of balls [ign.com] , you know, "recked" each other.

Yup. All five of you balls-lovers remember that one, I'm sure.

(let's see how long until someone combines the trucking, olsen and recking game titles......)

Re:who needs the 'recent' hits? (1)

contagious_d (807463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140625)

All your recking ball are belong to us1!

Constructor (3, Interesting)

Talrias (705583) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133637)

Constructor was my favourite Acclaim game, grumpy foremen, hired gangsters, people who you were supposed to thank after you moved them into a *pyramid* (surely it should be the other way around...), sending around the undesirables to mess up your opponent's city (go the clown!).

A great game - I've never seen anything quite like it. Anyone know of anything similar to this?

Re:Constructor (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134105)

and the producer (barg) was a real-life scaffolder foreman! Now though he is one of the 20 producers credited on the last EA harry potter game...

As usual, Penny Arcade predicted this (4, Funny)

OldMiner (589872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133658)

On July 9th of last year, Penny Arcade predicted this [penny-arcade.com] , perhaps in not as many words. And, they had the good class to make a cat catapult while they were at it. Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

Re:As usual, Penny Arcade predicted this (2, Insightful)

tarth (445054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134127)

Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

Be funny?

Re:As usual, Penny Arcade predicted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10137610)

hahahahahahah

thats great

Re:As usual, Penny Arcade predicted this (5, Funny)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134153)

I prefer this one [penny-arcade.com] as an insight into why Acclaim ran into problems.

Re:As usual, Penny Arcade predicted this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134226)

Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

A better question would be: Is there anything Tycho and Game don't do to each other while naked?

Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134899)

Who didn't predict this? I think everyone in the industry, and those outside of it (like your aforementioned heroes), know what's going down with their neighbor companies.

It doesn't take a genious to know a company is going to fold, and just because a couple loudmouth dudes have the same opinion as half a million other people said it while you happened to be listening does not make them the second-coming-of-gaming-christ.

Sorry to burst your bubble... fuck

Creditor info... (3, Funny)

shfted! (600189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133665)

So if I'm a creditor, where do I file if I have acclaim against them?

Re:Creditor info... (1, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133716)

I think you need to talk to the clerk of the bankruptcy court for the proper forms. If you are listed in the company's records as a creditor, they may already have you on a mailing list for more details on the bankruptcy and how to proceed.

Re:Creditor info... (0, Offtopic)

OldMiner (589872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133718)

Generally speaking, a Chapter 7 is forced by the creditors. The creditors who don't think the company will make it petition the court. The petitioning parties are most likely to receive money, along with those with preferred stock [everything2.com] , if it's publicly held. Regardless, you'd send a petition to the court at this point, if you haven't already. The court will attempt to equitably divide the remaining assets, and potentially recover assets paid recently to creditors, so that a company doesn't pay off its chummy buddies, then go into bankrupcy with a pittance to pay off everyone else.

Re:Creditor info... (0)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134192)

And what's the betting those preferred creditors just happen to be the upper management team, hence them asking for chapter 7 instead of 11? I somehow doubt my stock will be worth anything, but it's those employees who claim that their pensions have been *ahem* lightened (let alone their wages not being paid) who I feel sorry for. If their claims are accurate I guess Mirrorsoft and Enron didn't teach the authorities anything. But I guess it will all come out in the wash.

Re:Creditor info... (0)

bskin (35954) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135306)

And what's the betting those preferred creditors just happen to be the upper management team, hence them asking for chapter 7 instead of 11? I somehow doubt my stock will be worth anything, but it's those employees who claim that their pensions have been *ahem* lightened (let alone their wages not being paid) who I feel sorry for. If their claims are accurate I guess Mirrorsoft and Enron didn't teach the authorities anything. But I guess it will all come out in the wash.

Unless upper management has made loans to the company or is owed back pay, they're not getting shit. The decision to liquidate is simply a reflection of management's view of the company's potential to make money. Your stock is now worthless because it is equity, not debt. In other words, you own a small piece of a company that doesn't exist anymore.

Yeah, the employees got screwed, cause there's no money to pay them with. It sucks, but no one wants the company to go out of business. This is a bankruptcy, not a scandal. The creditors will divide up the remaining assets of the company, because the company was in debt to them. They're still going to lose a lot of money, because the money to pay them isn't there.

So yeah, pretty much everyone who was involved with a company gets screwed when that company goes under. Is that supposed to be shocking?

Re:Creditor info... (4, Funny)

EnVisiCrypt (178985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133745)

It's a shame that the spelling so bad here on slashdot that people are actually missing the joke and are giving the guy advice on how to proceed.

Geesh. What a bunch of maroons.

Re:Creditor info... (2, Funny)

RsG (809189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133811)

I've come to realize that /. readers suffer from a collective case of humor constipation. Puns especially seem to get stuck in the slashcolon.

The moderation system needs a new option; -1 Ex-Lax. Moreover we need to get some fibre in our news stories.

Re:Creditor info... (1)

shfted! (600189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133873)

I'm glad you got it. I was starting to get concerned there!

Re:Creditor info... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134079)

Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the literacy of the American public.

Re:Creditor info... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10136555)

Well, except for Acclaim, maybe...

Re:Creditor info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10140268)

if only humor was open source... They everyone would know what was funny!

Re:Creditor info... (0, Offtopic)

eliza_effect (715148) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133747)

You don't. When a company files for Bankruptcy, they are required to notify all of their creditors. The creditors are then divided up by certain criteria. I work at a collection agency, and I've seen some co-creditors get most of "what's left" and others get none at all. I'm not sure exactly how that works (I'm not explicity involved in these sorts of things), and who chooses who gets what. Of course, if there isn't full financial disclosure (hidden assets) lawsuits will no doubt ensue.

Re:Creditor info... (4, Interesting)

Colazar (707548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134174)

I work at a collection agency, and I've seen some co-creditors get most of "what's left" and others get none at all. I'm not sure exactly how that works (I'm not explicity involved in these sorts of things), and who chooses who gets what.

The order that creditors get paid in is spelled out in the bankruptcy laws, and the bankruptcy court essentially settles any ties. It's not completely set in stone (if all the creditors get together and agree to a particular division, it should be approved), but there is a broad outline. IIRC, the rough order (in my state, at least) is:

#1 Bankruptcy Court costs

#2 Payroll Taxes

#3 Employees back pay

#4 Secured creditors (ie, they got collateral for their loans)

#5 Unsecured creditors

And of course, if more than one lender has the same collateral, the order that the liens were issued in makes a difference. I could be wrong about Employees being so favorably treated, too. Heck, I could be wrong about all of that, but I think it's fairly close.

good riddance... (2, Interesting)

I judge you (796415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133703)

...to bad luggage.

Among the whole field of lousy game publishers, they were very close to the bottom. Maybe outshined by crooks at Take Two? Not that Acclaim wasn't crooked...

Re:good riddance... (1)

Eklypz (731361) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140322)

Just sad for friends that worked there that are now jobless. There were alot of development jobs at Acclaim.

Re:good riddance... (1)

LGagnon (762015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140641)

Isn't the phrase "Good riddance to bad rubbish"?

They had their day in the sun (3, Insightful)

accelleron (790268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133717)

There was a point when Acclaim titles were respected. Turok was one of them, until they screwed it up with the XBOX version. South Park's FPS was a fun little game while it lasted, as well as countless other good games I can credit these guys with.

as far as I can see, though, they have failed to innovate:

South Park's N64 FPS, years ago, had run-shoot-run-button-shoot-run type gameplay. Since then, games have become increasingly more innovative, better-looking, and sleeker/more intuitive. Acclaim, though, hung on to their old business model, lost enough market share to go to the ranks of ValuSoft, and even then failed to realize their mistake and improve on it. Now, the former captain has sunk with his ship.

The Queen Is Dead. Long Live The Queen.

Re:They had their day in the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10133920)

I don't know what planet you've been living on, but South Park for the N64 [gamerankings.com] was no success.

Re:They had their day in the sun (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135031)

There was a point when Acclaim titles were respected.

When? No fan of FPSes that were actually good liked Turok, and that's the only Acclaim game I can think of that wasn't completely trashed by the public.

Rob

Re:They had their day in the sun (1)

Tofino (628530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135481)

What about Wizards and Warriors on the old NES? That was a great game.

Re:They had their day in the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10135740)

Acclaim didn't MAKE Turok. Acclaim PUBLISHED it. Turok was developd by Iguana. As a game developer I hate when people give credit to publishers rather than the developers. The publishers don't do SQUAT usually. Though I am not sure if Acclaim was not also a developer.

Re:They had their day in the sun (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135967)

The publisher sets budget and time constraints and determines when a build is "good enough". Acclaim would have told iD software that Doom 3 is supposed to be finished some time soon two years in and would have set them a deadline for the final build.

Acclaim family tree (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10138514)

It's true that Turok was developed by Iguana and published by Acclaim. Iguana was based in Austin and joined forces with Optimus, a British developer located in sunny Middlesbrough, who also adopted the Iguana name. Acclaim acquired both of these, which became Acclaim Studios Teesside and Acclaim Studios Austin. Teesside was closed in 2002, citing reasons such as centralizing development at Cheltenham, then kicked everyone while they were down by buying Software Creations to form Acclaim Studios Manchester, all in the same month.

Spare a thought for the hundreds of families in Austin, Cheltenham and Manchester, especially those who'd just uprooted and moved from Teesside to Cheltenham, now desperately seeking alternative employment.

Turok promotion thingy (1)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10137241)

wasn't Acclaim running some lame promotion where people had to change their names to Turok for a year or something? was that already over or are those people getting nothing for having a stupid name for a year? what were they supposed to be getting anyhow? i forget

Re:Turok promotion thingy (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138647)

IIRC that was to promote Turok 2, an N64 game. If the promotion weren't cancelled (they canned it because of the backlash) it would have been over for many years now.

Re:They had their day in the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10139116)

I work with a guy who used to work at Acclaim Austin. When I told him about this news, he was the complete opposite of surprised, and it's been a few years since he left. Things were apparently pretty bad even during the days you're pining for.

Shed no tears for Acclaim. The company died long ago. It just took a while for the grieving relatives to finally pull the plug.

Mortal Combat (1)

Plake (568139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133750)

Wow,

Well, this looks like the end for Mortal Combat as well then. I haven't played it since #2 but it was still an amazing game for the time and one of my personal favorites.

Re:Mortal Combat (3, Informative)

illuminata (668963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133899)

Mortal Kombat is in safe enough hands as Midway is the developer. Acclaim just played publisher for a bit (MK I and II home releases). MK Deception will not be affected by this.

On a side note, way to be late with this story Slashdot.

Re:Mortal Combat (1)

Joffrey (242525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134478)

Mortal Combat (Kombat?) and their other franchises will live on, as the good ones that have name recognition will be purchased at the Bankruptcy liquidation (and/or one company will purchase all assets outright, without the burden of the debts).

Never fear, the brands will continue to exist, but just in the hands of other companies.

Re:Mortal Combat (1)

suraklin (28841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134597)

Uhhhhhh Mortal Kombat is owned by Midway. Acclaim did some of the ports in the early console days.

Re:Mortal Combat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134772)

Not to worry, friends! Mortal Kombat is koming to a desktop environment near you soon!

Re:Mortal Combat (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138503)

It shows you haven't played it since II ; It's Mortal Kombat .

Job opportunities (2, Interesting)

MasterDirk (659057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133751)

Taken from Acclaim's own pages, right now (linkage [acclaim.com] ):

Acclaim Entertainment is one of the world's leading developers and publishers of video games. We are proud of the brands we have made famous over the years - brands such as Mortal Kombat, Turok, All-Star Baseball and Dave Mirra's BMX - but we are not content to rest on our laurels. Our industry is evolving at an ever increasing speed and we must continually push the boundaries of technology to provide entertaining, exciting and challenging video games.

To do that, we need the best and brightest stars in our game development studios and our corporate departments. We need ideas, solutions, new innovations, strong opinions and dedication. We need YOU!

Take it to the next level - Send your resume to Acclaim!

Don't think I'll be sending in my resume after all

Re:Job opportunities (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135984)

Even worse, Midway owns Mortal Kombat (and they're making more MK games as we speak), not Acclaim.

This is conclusive proof! (3, Funny)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133758)

God is Alive and benevolent!!!

Re:This is conclusive proof! (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134533)

You're thinking of beer. Or at least Ben was. Of course Ben was a total party animal.

Game publishers (4, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133770)

Is it just me or are game publishers dying off? Sierra, Interplay and now Acclaim are all gone, or as good as dead. Moreover, IMHO we're seeing less and less new titles, and more sequels, rip-offs and shovelware.

A long time ago I read something to the effect that we'll see the death of the game industry (computer and console) if Moore's law slows down/stops/ceases to aplly to gaming. If new technology can't improve on last years games by a significant margin, then the industry's business model is in _real_ trouble (which might explain the abundance of sequels).

I know that, other than Doom 3 and Thief 3, it's been a long time since I bought a new release (no, I don't pirate). The last few original games I've liked had gameplay that was refined, but not really _new_ as such. Dungeon Siege, for example, was basically Diable meets Icewind Dale; it was good and well executed, but not really a new idea.

I'm not being a nostalgic geezer here, I really think we could be in trouble. Anyone care to comment?

Re:Game publishers (3, Insightful)

MistaE (776169) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133940)

I think you're right. The only companies that are 'well off' in the current video game world are the big boys such as EA and SquareEnix. The smaller companies are either getting assimilated by the big companies or are being forced to close up shop because they can't afford risks.

On the other hand this seems to foreshadow a time when developers will HAVE to make a decent game or else they will be dead in the water. If you succeed, you are rewarded with some money to back up your crew in the form of a buyout by a big one. Unfortunately, this other means that, like you said, most folks are just going to be trying to make rehash sequels/prequels of current games out there simply because there is too much risk involved in innovative titles any more. I hope that doesn't happen for good in the long run.

Re:Game publishers (1)

mZam (789803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10133983)

I totally have to agree with you on this..

I've been bitching about the lack of effort in the game market for quite some time.

[IMHO]
There aren't many game companies left that actually put in all the marbles into their games... those that do (Blizzard, ID, And some others) are still the strong contenders in the market.

The main problem is the sheer number of games that are coming out.. and their lousy execution. I blame the game companies that license their engines to pretty much any1 with the money. Thats why when u go to a Best Buy or frys.. you see rows of games that are 20$ or less, mainly due to the fact no one ever bought them.

Here's my idea of what needs to happen:
-Companies need to stop making crappy FPS's and Crappy RTS's.
-They need to focus on gameplay instead of graphics
-Start including good music, and something we rarely see: Story!!!

Im not against game engine licensing.. but perhaps companies should be a little stricter as to who their sell the use to.. it's what caused the flood into this market.
[IMHO /]

Re:Game publishers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134291)

Here's my idea of what needs to happen:
-Companies need to stop making crappy FPS's and Crappy RTS's.
-They need to focus on gameplay instead of graphics
-Start including good music, and something we rarely see: Story!!!

Wow. Is that really your idea of what needs to happen? That's so fresh. I've never heard any of those vague, undefined points delivered with such a lack of apparent irony before this.

Re:Game publishers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134312)

I've been bitching about the lack of effort in the game market for quite some time... The main problem is the sheer number of games that are coming out.. and their lousy execution. I blame the game companies that license their engines to pretty much any1 with the money. Thats why when u go to a Best Buy or frys.. you see rows of games that are 20$ or less, mainly due to the fact no one ever bought them.

You complain about the lack of effort in the game market, but yet you don't even put in the effort to write out complete words (is it that hard to write "anyone"?) or use proper capitalization? In short: your laziness is no more acceptable than theirs. So put up or shut up.

Re:Game publishers (1)

mZam (789803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134555)

I really appreciate both remarks to my comment, in trying to criticize how i said something, as opposed to WHAT i was saying. Keep up the good work grammar nazi's..your work is appreciated. At least have the balls to post under your name instead of being just an Anonymous Coward.

Re:Game publishers (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140109)

Maybe so man, but he did have a point. It's like me going into the kitchens at a failing restaurant and saying to the chef, "You know how to turn this bad patch around? Make your meals *tastier*! Use fresher ingredients! Better presentation!" and then beaming at him like I'm the goose that laid the golden egg.

I'm sure your heart's in the right place, though.

Re:Game publishers (1)

mZam (789803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140589)

Wow, ok that was a better way to say it, without sounding like the other two have.

I guess I came off like that because of my bitterness of being disappointed by so many promising titles. It's so easy to feed into the hype of the "next big thing", to hope so much that it would be even remotely as good as it sounds on paper, and then to just see the project canned or the game rushed.

Re:Game publishers (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10142592)

I feel your pain. I guess the problem is games cost too much to make these days for publishers to risk such vast amounts of money on something different, leading to the same old tired ideas getting trotted out again and again.
Mind you, the public do themselves no favours by buying these sorts of games in spades, while innovative stuff passes by largely unnoticed.

Re:Game publishers (2, Interesting)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134119)

Well, about 30 games developers have gone bust in the UK alone in the last 18 months...

Re:Game publishers (1, Insightful)

liminality (695708) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134209)

i hear what you are saying about business consolidation, but do you really feel that the video game industry is experiencing a nadir of quality right now? what strikes me about the names "sierra", "acclaim" is that they produced a lot of garbage the market wasnt buying, adn that their demise is not an indicator of things gone astray but things going right. the games i've been playing the last year or two have been the best ever, and the sheer number of quality titles is greater than ive ever known in the past. the quality of the art is great, gameplay is solid, new technology gives us better physics and cleaner graphics. i do agree that gameplay in the mainstream can be quite derivative, and that there are many examples in well-established genres that really beg the question "what more is there to do?" but that said, i wouldnt declare the FPS genre stiltified when i play something like Doom3 or grand theft auto, or the RPG genre lame when i see stuff like Jade and baten Kaitos coming down the pipe. and beside those most obvious of blockbuster games, there is also a plentitude of great, quirky games like never before: donkey konga, that crazy mat game that people use as an aerobics workout, the innovation of open-ended titles like Grand Theft Auto, Morrowind, or some MMORPGs, and some nintendo novelties like Viewtiful Joe, Paper Mario 2, or Pikmin 2. there are many many more (have you tried Gish?) but those came to mind first for the sake of arguement.

Re:Game publishers (4, Insightful)

AltaMannen (568693) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134392)

"Is it just me or are game publishers dying off? Sierra, Interplay and now Acclaim are all gone"

Add 3DO to that list and see the pattern. Abandon quality and people stop buying the games!

"I know that, other than Doom 3 and Thief 3, it's been a long time since I bought a new release (no, I don't pirate)."

If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not? I rarely ever play PC games anymore because I don't like FPS games, but that doesn't mean that I think all PC games are bad, I just don't know about them.

I think as long as games sell more or roughly the same amount of dollars as the year before everything is great. And as much as the press calls for innovation and complexity I rather like a lot of current and older games and wouldn't mind playing similar games again. Added complexity is mostly just annoying.

So no, I don't think the game industry is in trouble. Getting rid of a publisher that produced almost only really bad titles can not be a bad thing for game industry!

Re:Game publishers (5, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135295)

I'd agree with that in principle if Acclaim wasn't such a large publisher of games (they've got quite a list of titles)...

Sure, there are independent developers making crap and dying off all the time, but that's been true of every industry. When the big companies start dying off and/or not being able to find a game that isn't terrible, something larger is amiss. I think we're seeing what is going to happen inevitably to the entire marketplace if the big companies don't stop making MOTS and focusing on graphics and framerates to the nth degree.

I haven't bought a new release in quite some time for any console or my PC/Macs. The games I have bought are used titles of games like Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics (and Silent Storm 2 for the PC.) The whizzbang movie-tie-in or whatnot hasn't even been on my rent list since I tried to play Blade on the consoles. Bleh.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (or not, it's been a long day)... is that we're seeing a hyper expansive version of the days before the crash of 84. (mainly it's expansive is because games and console entertainment in general are much more a part of society than in 1984.)

Tons of games are going into the bargain bin (shovelware galore) before you even get a chance to read up on the title, companies are dropping like flies, the "next big thing" is not giving people cause to do their traditional "want it now!" drool-fest. I am thinking if the PS3 and XBox Next aren't leaps and bounds over their current offerings, it's going to collapse under its own weight. The big companies are launching tons of "also-rans" of the last big hit, seeing if any of them will stick... and I just don't think even EA has the financial cushion to keep doing this forever. That's just a guess, of course.

(and I miss TBS games...hehehh) :-) Guess that's why I keep my eyes on the independent wargame publishers... :) They're turn-based and proud. :-)

Re:Game publishers (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10136859)

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (or not, it's been a long day)... is that we're seeing a hyper expansive version of the days before the crash of 84. (mainly it's expansive is because games and console entertainment in general are much more a part of society than in 1984.)

While I wasn't much of a gamer in those days, I have to respectfully disagree here. In general the "next big thing" has been a bad thing for gaming because it takes the focus off of what's out now; and the reason we're always looking forward to the next big thing is because the next big thing is so overmarketed that it's very nearly impossible to avoid it. Granted, a crappy game is a crappy game; however, as long as marketing can sucker enough people into buying the game sight unseen (Enter the Matrix), the industry will not crash because someone will ride the profits from that.

I also have to disagree with your statement calling Acclaim a "big publisher". Since the astounding failure that was everything they published from 95-98, I can hardly call them a big publisher since nobody in their right mind was looking forward to any of their games. Let's face it, since about 96 seeing the Acclaim name on a box meant one thing and one thing alone-- that the game contained within was shit of the purest degree, squeezed out of a collective rectum of marketing zombies and developers who couldn't take a stand against the jargon their managers were spouting.

As I said when I submitted this story (on Monday-- but hey, I'm not complaining), I feel bad for the developers and testers who lost their jobs, but what really killed Acclaim waqs the fact that their managerial and corporate staff wouldn't know a good game if it came down from heaven on a beam of light. And even then, even when they had a good game to work with, somehow they would manage to fuck it up (see: every single thing they licensed from Sega). Acclaim is dead because of its stupid choices and shitty steering committee. I don't think it's representative of the industry as a whole because, well, I still have some stuff that I'm playing through now, and there's plenty that I'm looking forward to.

Oh, and if I could offer one suggestion-- you might want to check out Advance Wars and AW2 if you like TBS... good stuff.

Re:Game publishers (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10141210)

Why since '96? Hasn't Acclaim cranked out the carp since '86 or so? They have always had an accidental decent title slip out, but they have been schlockmeisters since day one!

Re:Game publishers (2, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10136161)

>If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not?

Well, first off, I said new releases. I bought Warcraft 3, Serious Sam, Freelancer, GTA3 and a few other titles in recent memory; however I fished them out of the bargain bin or waited for the price to drop. My point was that I'm spending less than I used to, and this in spite of the fact that I have more money; to me, new games are all to often the same as the games I already have, and thus aren't worth $60 CDN to me.

My point about the game industry was that it was headed for trouble (and this argument is not original to me). In theory, if Moore's law is beginning to have less influence, then the _first_ publishers to die off would be the shovelware producers (like, for example, Acclaim). The lack of good original new titles is a symptom of stagnation, which is in line with the theory.

I'm not saying we're there yet, I'm saying that this is where we're headed. And I'm not saying I don't play games anymore, I'm saying that I buy from the bargain bins, play demos/shareware, am indifferent to hyped up new releases, and am re-playing my game collection. And I doubt I'm the only one.

Re:Game publishers (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134410)


You forgot Bungie.

"Oh but no!" I hear you say. "Bungie is going to take over Microsoft from the inside!" Yeah. I'll believe that when I see Halo: 2 for the Mac. They started on the Mac, remember. Really, who's left at Bungie from the Marathon days? Haven't they all been replaced by MS dweebs now?

Re:Game publishers (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134545)

Um...Jason Jones maybe? Of course these days he's all aloof and doesn't hide his personal e-mail address in the games. :)

Re:Game publishers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10139955)

This would be an excellent point if Halo 2 hasn't been confirmed for the Mac...

Re:Game publishers (1)

Satertek (708058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134490)

I think its because of the huge game companies like EA and Vivendi, who have the money to spend millions marketing a game, and any game now that dosn't have this big budget marketing gets left in the dust, even though it may be a much better game. Lots of people are dumb, and buy games because they have a recognizable name, either because it being a sequal or by advertising. New ideas, "risks", are being thrown out to make way for more stable products like sequals or movie-based games. Why would they risk losing millions when they could get a guarenteed profit?

Re:Game publishers (3, Informative)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135294)

Vivendi owns Sierra, you know. And Vivendi was looking to dump it's game division a while back, and may still be looking to do it.

The two largest third party publishers in the market are EA and Activision. Not EA and Vivendi Universal.

Re:Game publishers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10140560)

I'm hoping we see more game developers self-publish, online. The publisher is basically the middle man (except they have money). It's just like in the recording industry. Who knows, maybe this is a sign of things to come in general. Wouldn't that be sweet, less middle men? :)

*Rips off mask to reveal skull* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10133817)

Bankruptcy Wins...

FATALITY

Re:*Rips off mask to reveal skull* (1)

QEDog (610238) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138976)

Bankruptcy Wins... FATALITY

Toasty!

Acclaim lost it years ago (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10133998)

Acclaim has always been on this cycle of boom and bust. They had NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat (neither of which were original titles - they were ports). Then things started to get a bit tight around the transition time between genesis/snes and saturn/ps1 (some baaad games came out for these - some, thankfully, never saw the light of day because they were sooo bad). Then came Turok. This got them going again. Did they rest on their laurels? Nah! They just started spending money like there was no tomorrow.
It all started to go really downhill with pretty much every product after N64. It's taken several years for them to die but they lost the momentum a *long* time ago. A string of very poor quality, dubiously marketed games got them in this position.
Is Acclaim management all to blame? Well, frankly, yes. Not just those in Glencove but all of the management. But the studio management teams had their hands tied by Glen Cove.
Have you noticed that the only part of the management team that has survived any appreciable period of time is Fishbach, Scorpowski and Cousins?
All the rest were fired or jumped ship.
They went through many CFO's, CTO's, COO's (and whatever made up job titles they came up with) within a very short period of time. The staffing turnover rate in glen cove was amazing.
I recall a meeting once where we were told, "if we don't pull out of this, we're going to hit a mountain". Today, they hit the mountain and slid down it in a big heap.

My thoughts go out to the employees who found out they were laid off when they couldn't get in to their offices. The management team never even had the decency to tell them they were no longer employed.

Re:Acclaim lost it years ago (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134064)

The management team never even had the decency to tell them they were no longer employed.

There can be legal issues involved with letting a bankruptcy cat out of the bag at the wrong time, especially with a publicly traded company. It's certainly a shame for the employees but they've known for a long time that Acclaim was operating hand to mouth at best.

Re:Acclaim lost it years ago (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134128)

let's see now,
1. Not paying rent for several months,
2. Paying employees THEN pulling the money back out
3. Closing all the offices in the U.K.
4. Closing Glen Cove
5. Not paying any external agencies they're working with (for months)
6. Getting sued by Mary Kate & Ashley
7. Not getting new financing


Now, what kind of cat is this they're not trying to let out? A Lion?

Re:Acclaim lost it years ago (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10139945)

In the big bad world of stocks and the SEC there is a difference. All those things (esp. #6, my favorite :) implies they are going bankrupt, but there is a difference.

It is a stupid difference, but there you have it.

Re:Acclaim lost it years ago (1)

Colazar (707548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134212)

Last time there was an article about Acclaim I took a look at their financials, and they were absolutely miserable. They've been dead since 2002, it just took this long for the corpse to stop twitching. Anyone working there who didn't have a resume making the rounds just wasn't paying attention.

Re:Acclaim lost it years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10138827)

My thoughts go out to the employees who found out they were laid off when they couldn't get in to their offices. The management team never even had the decency to tell them they were no longer employed.

Presumably you're referring to the Austin office, where we turned up Tuesday last week to find the doors locked with notices from the building management about non-payment of rent. Local Acclaim management seemed as much in the dark as as us grunts, with repeated messages coming from Glen Cove saying the money was being wired and the office would be open again the next day. Word came around towards the end of the week that they were unable to raise any further cash, and it was game over.

It's a shame because The Red Star is a top game - the best I've seen from Acclaim in a long time - but looking at the size of the debts, it's just too little, too late. Whoever picks up this game will have a hit on their hands. I think I can attribute this to it either slipping under the radar at Acclaim, or extremely adept project management. It didn't suffer from the constant prodding and poking from higher management that so frequently turned decent games into mediocre, confused and delayed games.

The doors currently remain locked at the Austin office. Now that bankruptcy has been officially declared it should make it easier for people to gain access to retrieve their personal belongings.

hmmm (1, Funny)

XO (250276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10134089)

Aside from the GOOD versions of Mortal Kombat and MK:2, everyone I know always referred to Acclaim as "ACK! LAME!" .. because almost all of their titles sucked ass.

Re:hmmm (0, Redundant)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10135310)

Many of us prefer Asslame.

Ha ha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134532)

"Race for pink slips [acclaim.com] " indeed..

quality was the issue (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10134732)

Quality was definitely the issue. I have the Blockbuster GAME pass, unlimited video game rentals for a month, and I'm letting that thing expire after the first thirty days ends. Why? I have all three systems, and I notice the shelves at BBV groan under the weight of mostly Acclaim/Midway/Atari bombs. Sports (excepting the excellent Sega and EA offerings), fps, boooooring adventure task quests, EXTREME this and that. Blah. I can have any game I want and I hardly want any of them. I already own the keepers like DDR, Metroid Prime, Halo, etc. None of those is by Acclaim, I notice. I content myself with the occasional "pleasant surprise" game that looked iffy and turned out to be fun, like Blood Wake, Riddick, Pikmin, etc.

good riddens... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10136045)

I won't miss Acclaim at all. They acquired and then ruined one of the best independent comic book companies ever, Valiant. Shortly after purchasing the comic book company, they changed all the writers and artists, ran all the books into the ground and then canceled them. All this just to get the rights to make a few Turok games.

Not only did this really piss off loyal readers such as myself, it contributed to the comic book market crash, completely ruining the value of all of Valiant's back issues. :-(

What is Slashdot's Deal With SPOnG?? (5, Interesting)

TyrionEagle (458561) | more than 9 years ago | (#10136518)

I submitted this story to Slashdot on Friday and on Tuesday, first just with the SPOnG.com [spong.com] story [spong.com] , then again on Tuesday with other sources.

The SPOnG story has feedback directly from Acclaim employees in the UK. Their forum on the story has a comment from an Acclaim employee that their pension contributions have not been payed since April!

Honestly, do the editors actually RTFA, or do they just see SPOnG and bin it? This is the 5th time I've submitted stories from SPOnG, just to have them appear on Slashdot days later, attributed to someone else, usually GamesIndustry.biz, who re-write SPOnG stories for their own front page.

What is up with this?

Re:What is Slashdot's Deal With SPOnG?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10136871)

Don't feel bad. I submitted on Monday with two other soucres (not SPOnG) and it was still rejected. I guess they were waiting for a solid announcement.

Re:What is Slashdot's Deal With SPOnG?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10138092)

Like I said last time [slashdot.org] , Spong has no credibility. They're the supermarket tabloid of gaming sites. Seriously man, if you're tired of having stories rejected, stop using lame sources. It's that simple. (By the way, have you ever heard the saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome"? You've had five stories rejected. Think about it.)

Oh, and as for the similar stories being attributed to other people...well, you do know how popular Slashdot is, right? You're hardly the only person submitting news items.

Re:What is Slashdot's Deal With SPOnG?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10139022)

By the way, have you ever heard the saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome"?

That could be easily turned around to apply to the /. story selection process. "We will keep rejecting Spong sourced stories because they turn out to be false." The OP has a valid point.

There's been plenty of other stories on game sites, business sites, even on TV in the past week. I'd expected to see it mentioned on here much sooner than now!

Re:What is Slashdot's Deal With SPOnG?? (1)

TyrionEagle (458561) | more than 9 years ago | (#10141267)

I didn't mean it was the Slashdot story that was attributed to other people, no problem there, if I'm late, I'm late. It was the referenced articles I was referring to, and the delay in the Slashdot story getting posted.

Pensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10139263)

The pensions contributions issue is interesting. You can allocate a portion of your salary to be paid into the pension fund and Acclaim will match it penny for penny. It seems that Acclaim have not only been failing to match the contributions, but they've also been syphoning off the employee contributions into their own coffers. This is not just sneaky, it's downright theft.

In other words... (2, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10137959)


In other words, they missed the swinging rope and finally fell into the tarpit.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10139523)

That would be a reference to an Activision game. Don't feel bad, though, I get the two Ac* publishers mixed up all the time, too. The good news is that it won't happen as much now!

Bard's Tale: marked start of RPG on computers (2, Interesting)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138084)

I remember playing the Bard's Tale series on my Apple IIe! After playing AD&D as a teenager, I grew tired of games that depended on stroking the Dungeon Masters' ego. I thought "Wouldn't it be great if a computer could take over the duties of running games" The Bard's Tale was the answer, with much better graphics and audio than "Ultima." After that reality intruded, however and I never felt I had the time for RPGs.

Acclaim won't be releasing Bard's Tale? (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10138232)

After googling, I found Acclaim was only planning to be the European distributer of Inxile Entertainment's "Bard's Tale" (which was originally distributed by Electronic Arts) Why does the game industry mess with my nostalgia so!!! Good luck to Inexile, anyways.

WHAT THE FUCK MODS (1)

NessusRed (710227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10139014)

Is it just me or has the news in the games section slowed to a trickle. I like game you morons!!! What the fuck is wrong with you people submite more stories BITCHES!!!!! NOW cause i am the postest with the mostest can you did it whaqt the fuck idiots!!

Yet another publicity stunt from Acclaim? (1)

Tired_Blood (582679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10139424)

Lately, Acclaim has become well known for one thing in particular (hint: baby Turok).

Maybe they're thinking on an abstract level, but isn't this taking the concept too far?

NBA Jam license (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10140990)

maybe whomever gets the NBA Jam license will actually release it on the gamecube.

yeah, and pigs might fly, right?

Piratin' (1)

Addy-Toronto (810380) | more than 9 years ago | (#10142260)

What effect does this have on their copyright? Does a Chapter 11 company that reincorporates under a new name still retain their intellectual property rights? It would appear that the creditors now own the rights to acclaim software, but would you pay fees to individual creditors, and would any one creditor own the copyright/code to their game(s)? I am sure this is just one example of the vagaries of bankruptcy cases, and a field day for lawyers.
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