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When Activision was founded on October 1, 1979 by four veterans of the video and home entertainment industries, the company made history by becoming the first independent designer and marketer of home video game software. Irked by Atari's lack of respect and recognition given to their game designers and programmers, David Crane, Alan Miller, Bob Whitehead and Larry Kaplan left Atari and formed Activision with the financial help of James Levy (who became President and CEO of the company). They were later joined by other talented designers such as Garry Kitchen, Carol Shaw and Steve Cartwright. (Bob Whitehead and Alan Miller later left in 1984 and found Accolade.)

Beginning in 1981, Activision released a barrage of first-rate VCS titles that captivated the gaming public and made people aware that Atari wasn't the only one that made games for the 2600. Activision not only inspired other programmers and entrepreneurs to set up shop as independent publishers but they also forced Atari, at least temporarily, to improve on the quality of its own games.

Activision was quite possibly the most prolific third party videogame publisher in their time, churning out everything from top notch sports games, (Boxing, Skiing, Tennis, Ice Hockey) racers (Grand Prix, Decathlon, Enduro) and even arcade adaptations (Rampage, Kung Fu Master, Commando, Double Dragon). Some of their games were (relative) clones of other games. Frosbite was similar to Q*bert, Robot Tank like Battlezone, Chopper Command like Defender and Star Master borrowed heavily from Star Raiders. However, their original titles are what they are best remembered for. River Raid was the first ever vertical scrolling shoot 'em up video game; Pitfall captivated gamers with its platform action and 256 different screens (which later inspired everything from Montezuma's Revenge to Super Mario Brothers); HERO had your character racing down a dangerous cavern to rescue captured victims; Space Shuttle lets you journey into space in what is perhaps the most complex Atari 2600 game ever made (yes, you actually need to read the manual to play.)

Activision was also innovative in other ways. They credited their designers by mentioning them on the manual of each of their games. (Lord British and Roberta Williams came after). Activision also offered patches to gamers who attained a certain score in their games as an added incentive.

One of the few game publishers from the 2600 days that has endured through the trying periods of 1983 and '84 (Konami and Sega are the others), in 1994 they released a compilation of their greatest 2600 games for the PC, dubbed "Activision 2600 Action Pak." They later followed with a second volume consisting of Imagic and Atari releases in addition to their own. Also, a modern sequel to Pitfall (Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure) was made for the SNES, Genesis, Jaguar, PC and Sega CD, and Pitfall 3D was recently released for several platforms. Although not done by Activision themselves, a version of Pitfall (dubbed Super Pitfall) was available for the NES as well.

This once-dominant software house has recently enjoyed tremendous success publishing games for both PC and consoles. A Playstation version of the Action Pak, dubbed Activision Classics, was recently released.


  • Atlantis
  • Barnstorming
  • Beamrider
  • Boxing
  • Bridge
  • Checkers
  • Chopper Command
  • Commando
  • Cosmic Commuter
  • Crackpots
  • Decathlon
  • Demon Attack
  • Dolphin
  • Double Dragon
  • Dragster
  • Enduro
  • Fighter Pilot (PAL only, same game as Tomcat F-14)
  • Fishing Derby
  • Freeway
  • Frostbite
  • Ghostbusters
  • Ghostbusters 2 (PAL only, distributed by Salu)
  • Grand Prix
  • H.E.R.O.
  • Ice Hockey
  • Kaboom
  • Keystone Kapers
  • Kung Fu Master
  • Laser Blast
  • Megamania
  • Moonsweeper (re-release of an Imagic game)
  • Oink!
  • Pitfall!
  • Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
  • Plaque Attack
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Private Eye
  • Rampage
  • River Raid
  • River Raid II
  • Robot Tank
  • Seaquest
  • Skate Boardin'
  • Skiing
  • Sky Jinks
  • Space Shuttle
  • Spider Fighter
  • Stampede
  • Starmaster
  • Tennis
  • Title Match Pro Wrestling
  • Tomcat F-14 Simulator
  • Wing War (re-release of an Imagic game)

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