From Academic Kids

Accolade was a video game developer and publisher of the 1980s and 1990s. It was founded in 1984 by game industry veterans Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead. Miller and Whitehead founded Accolade after leaving another game developer and publisher they had founded, Activision, the first third-party game developer.


Early history

Missing image
Hardball!, here seen on the Commodore 64, started a series that went onto become one of Accolade's most popular franchises.

According to legend, Miller and Whitehead named their company "Accolade" because it came before "Activision" alphabetically—inferring that Accolade was superior to their previous company. Apparently when forming Activision, they chose that name because it came before "Atari." Later, a new game development company, Acclaim apparently formulated their name because it came before "Accolade."

Accolade developed for most 80s-era personal computers, including the Commodore 64, Atari 400 & 800, the Amiga, Apple II and the PC. Accolade quickly became known for developing only top-notch games. 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 NES, Sega Genesis, SNES and Sony PlayStation during those systems' popularity.

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 software development was done by third-party developers.

In 1992, Accolade was involved in a ground-breaking lawsuit regarding console development. Accolade was unhappy with the high development fees Sega and Nintendo were charging. Instead of paying the fees, Accolade reverse engineered the SNES and the Sega Genesis. Sega sued Accolade over the practice and won. Accolade, however, won on appeal.

Notable series

Accolade was responsible for developing many highly noted and memorable games. These include:


During the early 1990s, Accolade started to lose focus. Instead of publishing only top-notch games, they started publishing a variety of games of differing genres. While this was fine during its early days—there were so few titles released that any games of any genre could demand attention—it was a misstep in the highly competitive days of the 1990s. Many of the titles released during this period were undistinguished and lacked polish.

During a conference of management and producers, Accolade decided to focus only on sports games and simulations. Accolade already had several franchises based in these categories. Franchises in the sports genre included Hardball!, Unnecessary Roughness and Jack Nicklaus Golf. In the simulation category they had the long-running franchise Test Drive. But, by this time it was too late: fans had lost respect and trust in the company and its titles. Marginal sales managed to keep the company afloat, but only after rounds of layoffs.

Alan Miller left Accolade in 1995—Bob Whitehead had left shortly after the founding of the company. Before Miller left, the position of CEO was taken over by Peter Harris who quickly departed. Harris left the fate of the company in the hands of game industry neophyte, Jim Barnett. Under Barnett's direction, the company continued to flounder and endured numerous layoffs. But the company managed to stay afloat long enough to be purchased by French publisher Infogrames in 1999. Now all of Accolade's assets are owned by Atari (née Infogrames).

External links

Accolade is also a gentle tap with a sword on the shoulder in conferring knighthood.


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