How Video Game Companies Once Gamed the Alphabet #Gaming #VintageComputing @kitchengarry
Why do many of the early software companies begin with the letter ‘A’? (Ever see a phone book with things like AAA Taxi and AAAA Plumbing?)
It all started when Atari management made the ill-advised decision to internally publish a list of the sales of the top game cartridges for the previous year, apparently with the intent of educating the development team on what type of games were selling well. Of course, management could have achieved this same goal without including actual dollar amounts of sales generated by the game.
Predictably, each game developer focused on how their individual titles were doing. And, as it turns out, showing four guys who were making annual salaries of about $20,000 per year that their games had collectively generated $60 million in sales for the company didn’t go over very well.
The HUGE CES exhibition directory listed Atari in the As alphabetically. When companies spun off or were created, they wanted to be before Atari in the directory in order to be seen. Thus, you get: Activision, Accolade, Acclaim, Absolute, and Accelerate Games.
A keen eye will notice (as some readers did) that Accelerate Games does not come before Absolute Entertainment in the alphabet. I attribute that exception to the rule to the possibility that Greg Fischbach was thinking only of his previous company Acclaim Entertainment when performing his alphabetic calculation. Note that I take no offense to the fact that the company that slipped Greg’s mind in said calculation was Absolute Entertainment, the very company that I co-founded.
You are forgiven for that indiscretion, Greg.
What does the future hold?
Of course, the question remains, is the streak over? Have we reached the end of the “A” road of Atari/Activision alumni companies?
Or, put another way, in 2021, will anyone have the audacity to do it again?
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