Founded by three former Activision workers, Greg Fischbach, Jim Scoroposki, and Robert Holmes, in New York in 1987, the name of the company was chosen to place them alphabetically ahead of Activision on release listing — something Activision themselves had previously done to get ahead of Atari.
In addition to the main "Acclaim" name, the company also published games under the labels LJN (for licensed games), Flying Edge (for releases on Sega consoles), Club Acclaim (for children's games), Acclaim Sports (for sports games), and AKA Acclaim (for extreme sports games). It should be noted that Acclaim developed very few of its games. Most of the games they published were actually commissioned to external developers such as Rare, Beam Software, Pack-In-Video, and even Atlus (yes, the same people that did Megami Tensei, also developed The Karate Kid game).
In 1994, Acclaim acquired Valiant Comics, later giving the company a Continuity Reboot and renaming it to Acclaim Comics. Some of Acclaim's games since then (such as Turok and Shadow Man) were based on Valiant characters. The comics were shut down in 1999, with Valiant being rebooted under new ownership in 2012.
Acclaim eventually filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2004, effectively shutting it down for good. Some of its unreleased games were acquired by other publishers (such as The Red Star, which was released by XS Games), while Valiant/Acclaim Comics was acquired by a group of investors and eventually relaunched under its original name.
In 2006, former Activision CEO Howard Marks acquired Acclaim's name and logo and used them to start a new company, called "Acclaim Games," acting as a publisher of MMORPGs such as BOTS, 9Dragons and The Chronicles of Spellborn. In May 2010, Acclaim Games was purchased by Playdom, which later was acquired by Disney in July. The new company operated for four years before Disney decided to bury the Acclaim name for good. In August, the company ceased operations a second time on August 26, 2010.
A good majority of Acclaim's IPs are now held by Canadian-based publisher Throwback Entertainment. However, only time will tell if any new installments for these games will be released.
Games published/developed by Acclaim in its first incarnation:
- Aggressive Inline
- Arch Rivals
- BMX XXX
- Burnout (first two games only)
- the Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX series
- Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX
- Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX 2
- Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX 3
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge (the NES version)
- Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones
- Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future (published the U.S. PS2 port)
- Fantastic Four
- Fur Fighters
- Galactic Attack (the U.S. Saturn home port of RayForce)
- Iggy's Reckin' Balls
- Judge Dredd, a tie-in game for the Stallone film
- Justice League Task Force (developed by Sunsoft)
- Legends Of Wrestling
- Looney Tunes B-Ball (acquired from Sunsoft USA when they went under; developed by Sculptured Software, who eventually became "Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City")
- Mortal Kombat (home versions)
- Mortal Kombat II (home versions)
- NBA Jam (home versions)
- No One Can Stop Mr. Domino
- Psychic Force (the U.S. PlayStation port)
- Psychic Force 2012 (the U.S. Dreamcast port only)
- Rambo (developed by Pack-In-Video)
- Shadow Man
- South Park
- South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
- South Park Rally
- Street Fighter: The Movie (U.S. and European versions)
- the Turok series
- the Wizards & Warriors series (Developed by Rare)
- Various WWF video games, including:
- WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (home versions)
- WWF In Your House
- WWF War Zone
- WWF Attitude
- X-Men: Children of the Atom (U.S. and European home versions)