This Is When Activision Used To Be Awesome

It's fashionable these days to hate Activision. But those over the age of, say, 30-35 may be old enough to remember the time the company went above and beyond the call of duty to keep its fans happy with all kinds of touching gestures.

The coolest of which, by far, was the company's practice of sending out actual patches to gamers to sew onto their jackets. All you needed to do was take a photo of your TV set showing a score or achievement, send it away to Activision and the publisher would send you a patch to show off your accomplishments to friends.

Rather than simply reward the "best" players at each game on things like a high score table, Activision wanted to acknowledge people who had passed a certain milestone in a title. In Robot Tank, for example, you could get a patch sent out if you took a photo proving you'd destroyed 48 or more enemy tanks. But if you blew up 60, you'd get a better patch, and an even better one still for killing 72 or more.

In a way, then, they were proto-achievements, only instead of having them sit on a console dashboard where few people will ever see it, you could sew it next to the Anthrax patch on your jacket to show just how badass you were.

These great shots from Art of the Arcade (via Geek Art) show some of the better patches in all their glory, though for a more comprehensive listing (with images) you should try the collection at Digital Press.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.


Comments

    "Activision" and "Awesome" - Two words I have never seen in the same sentence before. Apart from when people add "are not" in the middle.

      Activision, awesome they are not.

        Activision, are they not awesome...

          They are not Activision, awesome.

      Easy to forget that Activision were (as far as I'm aware) the first company to produce 3rd party games. Pitfall et al were released for the Atari 2600 without Atari's blessing and took them to court over it. Fortunately for today, Activision won.

    Ahh River Raid on the 2600, those were the days.

      So much fun. Unfortunately my 2600 got stolen last year. I had about 2 dozen games including space invaders, frogger, pitfall and River Raiders. Still played every other week but I took it to a party and some "friend of a friend" nicked off with it - heartbroken.

    Remember when they published Mechwarrior games?

    Man, those were the days.

      Oh yeah, they did that so right!
      I lost countless hours of my youth to the mech series when it was old school Activation

        Don't forget about Tony Hawk's pro skater (the first one) that was eleven different kinds of awesome

    People don't 'hate' Activision. They hate Bobby Kotick. And since these patches predate his hiring by the company, I think the hate is still warranted.

      I can't speak for everyone, but my activision hate isn't for just Bobby, it's for the company as a whole.

    These things seem to go in cycles. There was a time when EA were the ones considered all kinds of evil. Ubisoft and their always on DRM. Activision's time of redemption will come. It's inevitable. :D

      Judging by their current corporate policies though..

      Thats going to be taking a while =P

    Had a duffle coat full of those patches. Dont think i still have it.

    I still have a photo ready to send in for my high score on Sea Quest!

    they're so beautiful

    [A-patch-ment Unlocked!]

    Actually yeah, as a kid I remember when I actively looked for Activision published games because it meant they'd be good quality.

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