Duffy's Dreamcast Collection
These prototypes come from a beta tester who worked for Acclaim. Having passed away recently, this individual's nephew undertook the task of selling them. The "Duffy's Dreamcast Collection" (Dreamcast part) project is a tribute to his uncle, Duffy.
"He was a quiet and very discreet guy, we only saw him a few times a year."
Another page, also in tribute to Duffy, has been created to reference about 40 prototypes for consoles other than the Dreamcast. You can download prototypes, including Unreleased (Heaven's Drive) for Playstation 2, Xbox, Pc and GameCube by going here : Duffy's Collection Part 2
To guarantee the quality of the game, the beta testers analyzed the game in depth and provided feedback to the developers throughout its development. Video game beta testers are the guarantors of the quality of a game and their work is essential and is reflected in the final version to which players have access. They must, in particular, ensure the stability of the game, but also its playability. This job is quite difficult and requires spending a lot of time on a given area or section, playing these primitive builds that are not necessarily exciting and giving extremely detailed and formatted feedback.
"The only complaint he had about his craft was having to play the same things over and over again. You're trying to bug the game and you have to imagine all the things players could do!"
Acclaim booth at E3 1999
Acclaim's story :
We all know Acclaim for console ports of arcade franchises going strong, like Midway 's Mortal Kombat. Let's not forget the Turok Saga (FPS), started in 1997 on N64 and known for its difficulty; but also my personal favorite, Shadow Man. And who can forget the company logo ?
Acclaim was a strong publisher in the 90s that had an undeniable impact on the industry, from the creation of the ESRB rating system (an organization which estimates the age range that video games are suitable for, and reports about their content through symbols on video game boxes) to the introduction of motion capture in video games.
If their rise was dazzling, their subsequent descent into hell a decade later will testify to the poor management of the company, marred by numerous lawsuits resulting from the greed of its leaders. They were accused of overestimating their profits before a sale of their shares and of reporting false sales figures for the Aggressive Inline and Turok Evolution series. These are just a few examples among many others, unfortunately.
Acclaim was co-founded in 1987 by Greg Fischbach, Jim Scoroposki and Robert Holmes. By 1990, after some success through ports like Star Voyager, Wizards and Warrior, and Double Dragon II, Acclaim was at the top and was close to Activision and EA, placing themselves among the best game publishers in the world.
As a result, Acclaim has become a powerful player in a booming industry, the golden age of video games. Their business strategy which they pioneered was to release a game on as many consoles as possible.
In 1993 , by buying the rights to port games from Williams Arcade, which owned Midway, the company secured Mortal Kombat, one of their biggest hits. The franchise generated more than 4 billion dollars in sales before the end of the 1990s!
For Mortal Kombat, Acclaim had spent $10 million in marketing expenses, an astronomical sum. For the first time, a video game release became a media event, " Mortal Monday".
Around this time, the fact that Sega did not censor Mortal Kombat on Megadrive would tip things in their favor over Nintendo in the console wars.
Acclaim would not benefit from Mortal Kombat 3 or Mortal Kombat 4 (transition of the Saga in 3D). They had gotten rid of the license... a big mistake!
While Mortal Kombat dominated 1993's sales, 1994 was quieter for Acclaim; even with production having doubled compared to previous years, with 20 game releases that year.
The first half of the 1990s was a prosperous period of growth for Acclaim through acquisitions: Acclaim Comics Inc. in 1994; and all four of Iguana Entertainment Inc., Lazer-Tron Corporation, Probe Entertainment, and Sculptured Software in 1995. Some of the Acclaim Comics characters that would become the most famous in video games: Turok and Shadow Man.
They had purchased a 65,000 m² campus and named an associated street Turok Way. They had delusions of grandeur and saw themselves as having dethroned Microsoft !
Acclaim experienced massive expansion and posted its highest revenue ever in 1995, but by the end of 1996, it all came crashing down. They suffered the brunt of the inexorable decline in sales for 16-bit platforms, a change which they had not anticipated. In May 1996, Acclaim ended its fiscal quarter with a first-ever loss when it had made a profit in the same period the year before. To stem these losses, it would have no choice but to carry out a restructuring which will lead to the dismissal of 10% of its workforce.
Consumers shunned Acclaim games. The title Batman Forever released in 1995, strongly criticized, had made the publisher lose its splendor. Those who thought to capitalize on the most awaited blockbuster of the year with an elaborate advertising campaign... lost gamble!
When the Nintendo 64 was released in the United States in September 1996, Turok was to be one of the first ten games to appear on the console. Repeatedly postponed, it was finally released in March 1997. Despite positive reviews, the fate of Acclaim was already set; the press saw in this game the last breath of a dying company, in sheer agony. Turok would contribute to temporarily restore a semblance of repute to Acclaim, which suffered from bad publicity to the point that the publisher was synonymous with mediocrity.
1998 didn't look any better for Acclaim, but they had a few more tricks up their sleeve. Some original titles were on the way, including Forsaken and Vexx, and sequels to Shadow Man and Turok; just enough to keep the boat afloat.
Meanwhile, the company's marketing department lost their minds by displaying shocking advertising campaigns:
Offer to pay traffic fines for anyone caught promoting Burnout 2.
Trying to pay people to put ads on the tombstones of their deceased family members to promote the Shadow Man sequel.
The best one! Give away an Xbox and $500 if you call your kid Turok (hopefully a survey will show the winners were actually paid actors).
These ideas earned Acclaim some pretty bad press, and perhaps this was an admission on their part to cover up the fact that they had nothing innovative and new to present.