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Activision logo.

Activision Publishing, Inc. is an American video game publisher founded in 1979 and has since become one of the largest video game publishers in the world. It is the primary publishing company of its owner, Activision Blizzard. In 2023, it was bought by Microsoft.


My family bought a used Atari 2600 collection from a garage sale around 1985 and there were several Activision games with it. As I got other 2600 collections, I found more Activision titles and always appreciated their attractive art which incorporated off-color rainbows. At the end of the 1980s, the NES became my primary gaming console, of which Activision was a minor publisher, so I kind of forgot about the company. I would occasionally play a game made by Activision for MS-DOS, but it didn't really register to me who they were. That changed when my family replaced our old computer with a new machine that ran Windows 95 and the ATI video card came with a copy of MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat.

Looking back over Activision's history, the only time when I admire the company was back when they first started and were still developers, as I don't really care which company publishes a game, I'm far more interested in the creative team that makes them. Also, after the video game crash, the replacement CEO scared off all the talent nearly bankrupting the company, and, while his replacement was clearly a good businessman to make it so profitable, to me, they're now just a faceless holding company that just gobbled up existing brands. I will occasionally play one of the company's titles, but I have no loyalty to them at all.


The company was founded on 1979-10-01 by four former Atari employees whose Atari 2600 games were among the most lucrative who left to form their own company to get more recognition and compensation for their creations. After a settling a lawsuit with Atari, Activision became the first legal independent third-party console video game developer. With multiple hit games within their first couple years the company went public and brought in millions, but the American video game crash of 1983 took its toll on the company, and, though it survived, Activision moved to less-lucrative home computer publishing, and much of the talent left to other companies. In 1986, they bought failing developers Infocom and Gamestar, but a new CEO clashed with the remaining founding developers and they left to form Absolute Entertainment. In 1988, the company branched out into software and renamed itself Mediagenic while maintaining the Activision brand. In 1989, they closed Infocom. Around 1990 they briefly became the sole publisher of Cyan Worlds, but massive losses caused Cyan to leave. Mediagenic was bought solely for the Activision brand in 1991 and renamed as such. After a couple successful games, and the resurrection of the Zork series, Activision began buying up smaller companies, including Raven Software, Neversoft, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Gray Matter Interactive, RedOctane, Toys for Bob; 25 in all. With all these new companies to manage, Activision reorganized with the publishing arm being called Activision Publishing with a parent company of Activision Holdings, later called simply Activision. In 2008, Activision merged with Vivendi to form Activision Blizzard.


These are the games Activision worked on that are important to me. For all Activision games, see the categories for games developed or published.

Activision cartridges for the Atari 2600 are especially susceptible to Actiplaque.




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