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This week on Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee reviews the history of Acclaim Entertainment.

Yahtzee Croshaw
Yahztee Croshaw is a British comedic writer, video game journalist, humorist, author, and video game developer.

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    1. YAY! It’s the jingle!

      1. I already heard it 4 times

      2. Tee hee hee hee!

    2. still, ReVolt was a good game. That was Acclaim, wasn’t it?

    3. I am reminded of how earlier this year THQ Nordic chose to have an Ask Me Anything(good move! show that you’re not a faceless entity and have some interaction with your fans.) on 8chan. An imageboard associated with child porn.

      I don’t even understand what the reasoning there was. THQ Nordic’s output isn’t really controversial or anything, had it been it might’ve been advisable to go to a… specialized discussion website to interact with their true fans; even so 4chan is the more reputable alternative(and even then I don’t think it would be advisable to hold an AMA there).

      Regarding the stunt of naming the child for the protagonist: that worked for Bethesda, someone chose to name their child Dovahkiin, and got some compensation.

      1. In fairness to 8chan, they’re associated with CP the same way parks are “associated” with hobos. They have the exact same history with the stuff as, say, Reddit and Tumblr.

        1. No, do not be fair to 8chan wtf dude. It’s for people to racist and childlusting for 4chan.

          1. I’m not sure if this is ironic or not.

        2. pretty sure you can find more loli content on twitter these days – not to mention ACTUAL kiddyporn on youtube.
          Wonder what “games journalists” stance on AMAs on youtube or twitter are?

      2. And they tried to claim “We didn’t know” but so many of their answers were in response to people asking things like “Are you going to add lolis to your next game” or words to that effect.

        You’d think at some point they’d go “Hang on…”

        There’s a possible argument to be made that googling 8chan for research into what kind of group they are yields no results because Google bans searches for the site…but that should just give you *more* warning signs.

        1. Honestly, if 8Chan has a reputation for child porn that has spread outside of 8Chan, then it’s safe to say that you could probably find a few news sites with stories like “There’s child porn on 8Chan!”

          That aside, why would they do an AMA on 8Chan of all places? Did they think that AMAs on Reddit were overdone and wanted to be cooler and edgier than other companies? If so, 8Chan is definitely the wrong site for that.

          I do think it’s funny that people are defending 8Chan by saying “Oh, actually, it’s all fake child porn, just cartoon pictures of children,” as though that makes it alright. For starters, they’re ignoring the brief controversy that almost shut down the site (as well as other, similar sites hosting similar pictures) when some real child porn was mixed in with an image dump of a bunch of Bolt pics and the admins didn’t notice because it went unreported for at least a week. Plus, there are a number of places where pictures of cartoon children are still illegal (that’s why hentai comics usually come with a hilarious disclaimer saying: “These characters are all over 18, even though they look like 10-year-olds and are still in school, they’re 18”).

          1. Even if they DID want to be “cooler and edgier” why 8chan? Why not 4chan, the one everyone actually knows? That’s like deciding to choose Bing as your search engine when google is RIGHT THERE. Or choosing to use Myspace over Facebook.

            In fact who want’s to hazard a guess here and that THQNord DID go to 4chan first and 4chan quite rightly if not at all delicately told them to F* Off, and that this sounded like the worst idea since King Harold’s Bodyguard uttered the phrase “Look sire! An Arrow! Try to catch it with your teeth for luck!” and so THQ went elsewhere, blithely oblivious to the fact that if 4chan can tell it’s bad idea, then holy sh*t it must be one hell of a bad idea.

            1. You mean 4channel, 4chan is where they keep their NSFW since execs are too lazy ot make an exception for 4chan and it was easier to produce a fresh domain

          2. I think the fact their announcement tweet said something like “Yes. We’re really doing this. Why? Who knows!? =D” suggests to me they knew exactly what they were doing and it blew up in entirely the wrong way.

            They really pushed that old phrase of “No such thing as bad publicity.”

          3. The amount of people going to bat for 8chan and willing to split hairs over this kind of thing is… disconcerting to say the fucking least, not like it immediately becomes any less thoroughly terrible a site for AMAs.

            1. Which is why big journalists ignore what comes from THQ Nordic because of how blind they are.

            2. Enormously serious accusations like child porn is exactly the kind of thing you want to “split hairs” over, though. Context MATTERS, and you don’t get to say that slander shouldn’t be challenged just because it’s about a site you dislike.

              And frankly, I’m willing to bet that a good 90% of people posting here have never actually visited 8chan, but are willing to believe anything they hear about it because it’s on the “wrong” side of the culture war.

            3. Iunno about that whole “culture war” bit, especially since I’ve heard of 8chan’s dubious reputation from a wiki based around another 4chan board, so…

          4. Dont even go there.

        2. Well they are based on Sweden so I can totally buy that they didn’t know.

      3. Meh, claiming that 8chan is “associated” with child porn is no different from claiming that about Tumblr or YouTube or Twitter. There are pedophiles everywhere on the internet. 8chan was the place 4chan members migrated to after the GamerGate scandal, where any mention of Zoe Quinn got you permabanned. Lots of developers are 4chan members. Hell, Valve made an entire game out of a 4chan joke about delicious cake. So, THQ hosting an AMA on 8chan is not such a bizarre concept.

        1. “Valve made an entire game out of a 4chan joke about delicious cake”
          It was a reference to Mario 64, not 4chan

        2. I just had a comment removed – one in which I stated that the reason 8ch was demonised was because of its link to gamergate. Which, ironically, proves me right.

          1. I know, mine got deleted as well (probably for mentioning you-know-who). Classic censorship tactics, saw plenty of that in first months of the Gamergate scandal. At least when Defy Media used to own the Escapist, Alexander Macris was keeping that shit away from here. But ever since it was sold to Enthusiast Gaming, it has really gone downhill.

            1. …You do realize that trying to keep things from becoming a flame war isn’t censorship, right?

            2. Flame war? What flame war? People disagreeing on the validity of an idea or a statement or a series of events is now a flame war? Are you seriously advocating for the dissolution of the concept of arguing? I don’t see any personal insults here, and I sure as hell did not insult anyone with my post that got deleted. Please don’t try to justify censorship.

            3. Aside from the fact that censorship, AGAIN, isn’t the correct word since that implies the gov’t arrested you or threatened to arrest you for what you said, considering how death threat- and insult-happy the pro-GG crowd is and most likely always will be until one of them gets called on it and gets themselves killed in the process, it’s sort of missing the point. It’s sort of like the old Wild West part of the forums, which in the name of “free speech” ended up becoming a sewer that made other, actual sewers think it was full of shit. It may be civil now, but the general idiocy that comes with the discussion of that topic along with the ease of dropping into insulting other people is a good enough reason to remove any and all discussion of something that happened years ago that’s constantly misrepresented by people using what could have been an actual discussion as a reason to attack women in video game anything.

            4. Sure, it isn’t censorship then. It’s blatant lying and propagandising to fit a narrative.

              Simply put, the reason 8ch is so hated by “games journalists” is its stance on GG – loli or whatever other gross shit they host was never REALLY the issue, otherwise the same media who are complaining about an AMA on 8ch would complain about AMAs hosted on reddit or tumblr – which up until only very recently have made moves to stamp out the loads of ‘underage’ content hosted on their platforms.
              Or Twitter – which still blatantly hosts profiles of the same artists who moved over from tumblr during last-year’s porno purge.

              I think the irony might be lost on the moderators who delete posts that mention the 8ch-gg link, given that they say that whole shit wasn’t about media subversion etc.

      4. Honestly I wasn’t that hot on them before that either. Aside from Titan Quest which was kinda fun, and maybe the first Darksiders I don’t think I’ve enjoyed anything THQ Nordic has ever done.

      5. Keep in mind THQ Nordic isn’t based in the U.S., so they likely didn’t know the significance of 8-chan or what they were really about, personally I think it’s dumb to boycott them over that, besides most people have already long forgotten about that dumb Q&A by now. Yeah it was a dumb thing to do, but i’ve got far more important things to worry about(like literal fucking concentration camps, compared to that a dumb Q&A with some alt-right dipshits doesn’t even rate as a blip on the radar) so i’m not going to boycott them over that.

    4. I saw the title and..yeah i sang the jingle

      don’t lie, you did too!

      1. It’s a good one, maybe he should get into advertising. I hear EA is hiring…

    5. Here’s an Acclaim story I was told by Paul Carruthers, which seemed to sum up everything about Acclaim. When making Batman Forever they said; make it a side scroller, everyone gets side scrollers, add co-op that is pretty popular at the moment and have Mortal Combat style fighting. So just a soulless trend chancer, who if still around would be making Battle Royal games stuffed with Lootboxes.

      1. Fuck you Riddler, indeed.

    6. Hearing that jingle after so long makes my willy perk up and spin around like a helicopter. Like a horrendously NSFW version of Tails the Fox.

    7. God this name is so old.

    8. Resoundingly mediocre is being incredibly charitable to Turok: Evolution. And yeah, it’s hilarious to see how Acclaim had some of the dumbest marketing stunts ever.

      1. The funny thing is that Capcom, EA and Sony all had stupider marketing stunts. Remember the rotting meat scavenger hunt that Capcom organized to promote Resident Evil where they hid rotten meat throughout London?

        (I might be remembering that wrong. But I know it was something stupid.)

      2. I disagree, I actually got some enjoyment out of that game and I prefer it to the original Turok games.

    9. “..or Sony parading a dead goat at the God Of War 3 launch party”
      Wait what? Did I mishear that?
      *rewinds 5 seconds*
      Huh. I didn’t.

      1. Then there was the time EA paid a bunch of people to pretend to be a Christian activist group to protest the launch of Dante’s Inferno because as we all know forbidden fruit tastes sweetest. Logic being if angry Christian mums want to ban the game, little Jonny will just want it all the more. It didn’t work.

        Neither did their stunt at releasing thousands of red balloons which ended up coming down in the local river, thus polluting it.

        1. One of my favorites is when they sent illegal weapons to game reviewers.

        2. Remember the dead space 2 adverts? YOU’RE MOM HATES THIS GAME!

          1. Nothing will beat Mighty No 9’s marketing. That trailer made me cry like an anime fan on prom night.

        3. That game was full of weird PR stunts. I remember Yahtzee said his review copy came packaged with a music box that played Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”

          1. That only stopped when he smashed the box and then it berated him for being wrathful. Which was actually really funny. Too bad they wasted that kind of amazing stunt on such a bland God of War knock off.

        4. Or the whole ‘your mom hates Dead Space 2’ advert where they showed context less footage of in game gore and violence to middle-aged and older conservamoms, and filming their horrified reactions.

          Or ran a promotional competition encouraging the sexual harassment of booth babes.

      2. It might come us surprise with how worldcass Playstation’s PR is now but back during late PS2 and PS3 days they were just awful and no one knew why they were doing all these weird ads.

        I am still to this day confused at that one PS2 TV ad with millions of people piling on the street and some baby or something.

        1. Yeah I remember Sony being arrogant as fuck(And that attitude is creeping back in now) and saying things like ‘the next generation does not start until we say so”(LOL yeah right) and saying that it didn’t matter how high-priced their console was and said that their customers should get a second job to buy one, like talk about being up your own ass, no wonder MS kicked their asses that gen.

        2. And yet…you remember it. And you not only remember it, you remember what it was for.

          So in that regard, it did its job incredibly well.

    10. Frankly, a bus station advert that oozes blood sounds pretty cool. Imagine if God Of War 3 advertised like that instead of with the dead goat thing.

    11. you know i just watched a video on daikatana (the wha happun? series by mat mcmuscles) so barring the source just being wrong: john romero wasn’t the one who thought up that marketing shtick, was very hesitant to approved it, and regretted it almost immediately

      1. The 2000ad ads that ran in the 90’s were much the same. Fleetway who basically owned them at the time literally just forced them down their throats.
        On the other hand though, the UK version of Sonic The Comic that they owned was sound as a country pound, plus thanks to them owning 2000ad, you ended up with some actual big name guest artists. Like the time Mark Millar did a REALLY gritty multipart Streets of Rage 2 story.

    12. Didn’t Jeff Spenenburg also use to work at Acclaim? You know that sleazy idiot that did bugger all work then left to make a controversy of his own with The Guy Game? Man here I was thinking he was just one bad apple but looks like the whole company adopted his attitude.

    13. Video player update for desktop. The ability to click anywhere to pause is a nice feature, but it wasn’t worth removing the spacebar to pause, as finiky as it used to be. Can’t speak for mobile, so if someone could reply, you could say how it’s doing on that end.

      1. We’re working on fixing video player stuff with the updated site as some thing weren’t compatible with the switch. Space bar pausing functionality is something tech will have to look at.

      2. The video player doesn’t work on mobile because it won’t load the ad that plays before the video.

        1. What mobile device / browser are you using? I don’t have any issues on an iPhone 8 using Chrome. Gonna try some other browsers on mobile as well, but any details you can provide helps.

          1. I’m using an Android using Chrome. Sometimes the ad doesn’t appear and the video works fine, but when the ad appears the player completely stops working.

            1. Thanks, will relay to tech and see if we can replicate issue.

    14. What is the point of having the circuit board bar at the top of the screen if the video player is overlapping it? Or is the escapist deliberately trying to look as ugly as possible so that everyone will go back to watching ZP on Youtube?

      1. They decided they really wanted to annoy you. Yes you specifically and so they took the time to figure out how to best do this.

        You should contact the webmaster and demand a full refund.

    15. Escapist! You do know ads don’t load on iOS, right?

      1. Not even ads want iOS

    16. I am equally charmed and startled by seeing a Vicar of Dibley reference in a Zero Punctuation video.

      1. It’s the law of Britain that all British entertainers must reference every aspect of British pop culture.

        1. Yet to see a Red dwarf reference on ZP though

          1. He’s mentioned it at least once, I think it was when he was making comparisons to NES-era nostalgia.

            1. Blooming nora when was that/what video…it sounds like another “tee hee hee”

            2. Yeah, David Reeder is right, he mentioned Red Dwarf in the Shovel Knight review. He’s a big fan of it, apparently.

            3. Yup your correct

              though in fairness remembering a 3 second reference in a video 5 years old wasn’t exactly what my brain is going to remember 5 year after watching the video

              alright..what about Bottom?…he’s mentioned Young ones a few times i know that but i can’t recall Any direct Bottom lines

              (for those overseas Bottom was a Comedy on BBC in the 1990’s)

          2. He’s referenced it countless times in LDO.

            1. ahhhh i’ve never watched the LDO (let’s drown out) so that would be why

      2. he also had last of the summer wines at some point

      3. Marketing that was so bad the Church of England called them out. Really sums up Acclaim in a nutshell.

    17. I was a bit confused by this video, because I remembered Acclaim as a publisher of unremarkable F2P MMOs – not great, but not deserving of the hall of shame, either. It turns out that someone bought the name and logo after it went bankrupt and turned it into an entirely different company.

    18. A lot of these stunts pulled by Acclaim sound like nonsense you’d find on a chan forum or in a Cards Against Humanity session.

      Then I look online to validate all this and I immediately want to get black-out drunk.

    19. No EDF5? I’m the big sad.

    20. shit bought. commence shit delivery.

    21. I would love to see Yahtzee do a review of SCP – Containment breach, as it would seem like a game he would have some strong opinions on, it being a survival horror game and a fan game

    22. So it’s basically the game version of “Sex sell what sex entail”: The product need to be relevant to your advertisement, in all sense of the world, for your product to catch the glimmer in everyone eyes.

      Honestly, something that I wish AAA company could do way more often, instead of just expensive digital garbage of mediocrity with a built in sarlacc of miserly incline.

      1. Yeah i’ll take some dumb marketing stunts like this over MTXs and lootboxes any day of the week.

      2. But it works, that is the thing and nothing is going to stop it.

    23. So, should we call it the “Acclaim Scale of Horrible Marketing Ideas”?
      …I have trouble coming up with good names.

    24. I can think of one upside for Acclaim’s existence: it gave us the comic publisher Valiant, and while it’s the revamp universe that gives their comics critical attention, its inception is worth noting. I think…?

      *researches one more time*

      Nevermind, they only BOUGHT Valiant, not founded it. Screw Acclaim.

      1. Acclaim had some good stuff, and honestly i’ll gladly take their dumb publicity stunts over the money-grubbing tactics that big publishers today pull by trying to psychologically manipulate you into wasting money on useless virtual items.

      2. They were putting out some good stuff on N64. Turok, Extreme G, NFL QB club, WWF Warzone, etc. Then they just, completely self destructed in astonishing fashion and were out of business a few years later.

      3. They also bought Valiant for $60 million dollars when the company at the time was worth maybe $20 million tops. Then they bring in a LOT of big name creators and promised to pay them huge amounts of money to revamp their whole superhero universe (which for the 90s Valiant was one of the best non-Marvel/DC/Image superhero lines of the decade, even if some of their stuff was 100% shit) and screwed most of them over. Pretty much all the Acclaim Comics are considered a joke (again there some good stuff there and a lot of it of 100% shit too) now of days, with some creators even claiming and/or joking to have no memory of doing them because the books were considered awful.

    25. Bethesda actually did the whole “name-change” thing too with Skyrim where they offered to give a lifetime supply of free games to anyone that named their child Dovahkiin(and the child had to have been born on 11/11/11 the game’s release date).

    26. You know what the funny/tragic thing is? Beyond knowing that BMX XXX existed, I literally had never heard about ANY of these PR stunts. And the 2000s were when I was in my video game prime. I kept tabs on new releases, watched gameplay trailers religiously, and spent most of my allowance and then paychecks on new games.

      How the hell did I miss all of this? They must have been really shit when they couldn’t get a teenager to turn their head at all the stunts.

    27. I’d heard about the gravestone thing from reading an article about stupid PR stunts, but wow these put EA’s idiotic marketing stunts to shame.

    28. …shit, that’s not even counting the time that Acclaim bought out Valiant Comics right as the bottom was falling out of the comic book industry…

      1. They also invested in ECW like a year or two before they went out of business.

      2. Who owns the rights to Turok right now anyways?

    29. One wonders how many kids named from these bizarro marketing campaigns are watching this video right now.

    30. The only game I had from Acclaim (yes I’m aware that rhymes) was Re-Volt, a racing game with RC cars that was alright for the time it was released, but got bored with it swiftly. Guess that game got out of the sh*t that was many of their mistakes.

      1. Revolt is great.

    31. Apart from Gauntlet, did they make any good games?

      1. Revolt was good

      2. The first Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.

    32. I had to look for this company on Wikipedia to confirm Yahtzee wasn’t making these stunts up…

    33. Noice, missed these.

    34. Yarp, I remember the coverage of these. I even remember the Turok 3 banner adds featuring blood coming out of ears and noses, as if that would sell the game somehow.

      Perhaps a link to the 2011 article that was screencapped would be in order? Perhaps a contemporary piece from the ol’ Gamespy?

    35. I hope we see a double feature on Youngblood and Cyberpilot.

      1. Hoo boy. Yeah. Yahtzee is gonna have some harsh words for Youngblood. Bethesda is basically turning into EA. Bad enough they turned fallout into a pay to win open world survival crafting whatever, their solo FPS games are now tainted too. I just hope Doom Eternal is good and at least gives Bethesda SOME of it’s goodwill back so they can make another good Fallout or Wolfenstein Game.

    36. “You can put all the money in the world behind a great big turd, but it won’t make it not a turd.”
      Yeah see, I’d love to agree with you, but Disney.

    37. I was hoping you’d make one of these soon. Love you humor yahtzee XD
      Would you ever consider reviewing the banner saga trilogy? I’d love to see your take on it especially after seeing your review on XCOM!

    38. and to think, back in 2001 I got to visit Acclaim studios Cheltenham after winning a competition. Getting to play Extreme G 3 on the Nintendo Dolphin before the Gamecube was released at the end of the tour was the highlight. It all went downhill from there it seems…

    39. Today I learned the company is *not* spelled Akklaim. I always thought it was spelled with k, because of the logo and then when Yahtzee said they chose the name because it come before Activision, I was thinking “wait a minute k does not come before c…” and only then I thought of checking the correct spelling 😛

    40. Also, can Escapist please decide on a layout? Every time I visit the site, things are in different places 😛
      I still prefer without the “Recent discussions” and the larger video player.

      Also also, there is a special place in hell for people that think autoplaying videos is a good idea.

      1. This site allows us to use multiple article formats. We’ll be varying things up for a bit to see how they perform.

    41. Burnout 2 and a Dave Mirra Game making it in ZP? Thats good!
      Finding out Acclaim marketed the games in the worst way possible? Thats bad

    42. I remember a forum post on the escapist years ago, “We called our daughter Tali vas Normandy, are we bad parents?” The consensus was yes, and everyone wanted to know why they didn’t just settle for Tali.

    43. I love how they keep moving the section and try to hide the actual Zero Punctuation behind other shit nobody cares about XD

      1. What are you talking about? There’s a big ad placement right on the front page for it, we feature it every week. It should be even more visible now than it was on the previous site.

    44. I mostly remember Acclaim from my early MMO days with BOTS and 9Dragons

    45. I’d totally name my kid Turok. Then expect him to come home from kindergarten with dinosaur trophies. 🙂

    46. “Hellooooo, I’m the Sweary Video Game Critic. I remember it because the industry sure as fuck aren’t going to do that themselves.”

    47. I liked Turok. Wasn’t amazing but it was a good meathead shooter. Plus I was a fan of the comic book in the 90s, although the game had next to nothing from the books in it which is shame because it actually had rather interesting lore for a comic about a native american hunting dinosaurs.

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